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Shrewsbury Festival of Literature to launch story-telling project

People, who have journeyed from overseas and ended up making Shropshire their home, are being urged to tell their stories to form part of a new performance work that will debut at this year’s Shrewsbury Festival of Literature.

Festival organisers are inviting as many people as possible to join them at a special open evening on Thursday July 27 to tell their personal stories and learn more about the project.

It will be held at Shrewsbury’s independent bookshop Pengwern Books, in Fish Street, at 7.30pm.

The aim is to gather the stories of families and individuals who have moved from other parts of the world and built new lives for themselves in Shropshire.

Festival organisers are working with local professional storyteller Fran O’Boyle who will weave these stories into a performance work that will take place on Saturday November 25 during the weekend of this year’s Shrewsbury Festival of Literature.

“We wanted to create a story-telling project that will tell these stories in a unique performance piece that will form a central part of the festival this year,” said Lit Fest Chair Susan Caroline.

“We’re interested in the personal stories of migration, why people have left their former homes, come to Shropshire and how they’ve made new lives here.

“They might be economic migrants, adventure migrants, relationship migrants, child migrants or people who have escaped from conflict. There are so many untold stories out there - some of them might be traumatic, others beautiful – but each is unique.”

“The idea is to turn ‘flash’ short biography pieces into performance art that acknowledges the lives and contribution to Shropshire of people who have come from elsewhere.

“We’re asking people to come to the open evening followed by workshops and then rehearsals for those who want to perform.

“If people can’t get to the open evening, but wish to be involved, please email the Lit Fest at [email protected] or pop in and see me at Pengwern Books.”

As a professional storyteller Fran O’Boyle travels all over the UK and Ireland to work with organisations, from festivals and art centres to schools and young offenders institutions. He is also a professional illustrator, lives in Shrewsbury and has published several books.

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