Our first artist of the month for 2018 is the wondrous wordsmith, Liam Carroll. Liam, a master storyteller, is joining us for the first time to work on our new project, Lowestoft Folk. His skill for weaving a tale or two is going to make this a really special experience for everyone involved.
Name: Liam Carroll
Can you tell us a little bit about your own practice?
I tell stories, which is to say that to some degree I perform stories, rather than merely speak them as if one were reading a book out-loud.
The term ‘storyteller’ really means anyone who authors a story, whether writer, film director, or politician! There is though a large interconnected group of professional tellers who could be called traditional storytellers, who tell tales that have been passed down via an oral tradition. These tales tend to include mythology and legends as well as folk lore. It turns out though that if you call yourself a storyteller people expect you to know traditional tales and write original material. Thus, over the last few years, I have become a writer, and a teller, of tales, most of which have been based on historical figures, like the heretic Thomas Bilney or the war poet Wilfred Owen.
What’s been your favourite artistic experience of the past 12 months?
I really enjoyed writing and performing an original tale about the Roman invasion of Briton as part of last year’s East Anglian Storytelling Festival. What I liked about it was the opportunity to blend the storytelling style of the ancient Irish Celts with the history of the Britons.
The Celts didn’t write their stories down but the Christian monks in Ireland wrote them down for them and thus we have a record of the Irish stories, but not the British. I decided to change this by imagining how the ancient bards themselves would have gone about telling the early British tales.
Which Suffolk Artlink projects have you worked on to date?
Lowestoft Folk is the first project I’ve undertaken with Suffolk Artlink.
How has working with Suffolk Artlink influenced your work?
Lowestoft Folk is a really interesting project that has created some fascinating challenges. I’m writing an intergenerational story for an audience of care home residents and school children. The challenge is creating a story that isn’t too demanding in terms of plot and character names but is still rich in intrigue and that has characters that the audience can identify with. This has to be combined with the challenge of bringing the museum alive and being able to recreate the wonder of the exhibits in the minds of the listeners.
How would you describe Suffolk Artlink in 3 words?
New links, new perspectives. I know that’s not 3 words, but also it is.