More flickering lights… remembering #TheTelling Part 2: A Better Way – #DoncasterIsGreat

A great video memento of part 2 of The Telling by The Doncopolitan‘s John Fuller


Warren Draper


Carrying the Fire 2013

In association with The Dark Mountain Project and Wiston Lodge

14th-16th June

at Wiston Lodge near Biggar, South Lanarkshire.

An intimate festival of ideas, poetry, music, and performance. Exploring the connections between the arts, ecology and cultural resilience.

With talks/performances from:

Jay Griffiths, Author of ‘Wild’ and ‘Kith’

Sara Maitland, author of ‘Gossip from the Forest’

Chris Fremantle, EcoArt Scotland


Mairi Campbell & Em Strang

Dark Mountain “feels like the beginning of the story of the world. Not a world shaped by politicians or by global corporations, but by storytellers and singers who make us feel at home on the earth.”Charlotte Du Cann, The Independent    

For further information go to:

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#TheTelling Part 2: A Better Way – overview of the main event #DoncasterIsGreat #Telling2


While the Workshops and Pop-Up Cinema were completely free and open events, the evening’s entertainment always requires a little additional funding (for things like beer and marine flares!) to make it run smoothly. But in the words of Frank Zappa: “If we can’t be free at least we can be cheap!”

With this in mind we charged a measly £2 on the door… and just look what the price of a Findus Stable Pie (its like a Cottage Pie only with horse instead of cow) got you this time around…


Once again the evening took place in the shadow of Phlegm‘s mural. And once again it was MC’d by the incredibly talented Mr Tim Ralphs...

tim ralphs

…with the amazing Mr Fox in charge of fire, light and magic…

mr fox



Once Mr Fox had lit the fire-pit…

fire-pit on fire

…which bathed the surrounding art-works in a warm, but eerie glow (sculpture by Adam Ogden)

adam ogden

…and with the bar fully stocked (nice one Joie!)


…we were joined by a strange, sheep-like, zombie creature…

zombie sheep1

…which seemed to scare Tim a bit…

scaredy tim

Thankfully it turned out to be none other than Phil Sheppard

zombie sheep2

zombie sheep3

…who enthralled us with his Zombie Sheep Apocalypse stories…

zombie sheep4

…and his Bi-Polar Bear song!

Next up we had an old favourite from part one of The Telling, Mr Tim Lee


Who burnt a selection of personal documents (bank statements, job centre letters, etc) in defiance of the mediocrity of modern life and our enslavement to the money economy




…before wooing us with his song.


Then it was the turn of a woman who can only be described as the nucleus of the Donny art scene, the utterly ‘salt of the earth’ Miss Rachel Horne



And then the Foxes drummed again…

fox drum

fox drum2

…before introducing the incredible storytelling talent of Shonaleigh



…who took us to the darkest depths of the Cinderella story.


Our good friend Ian Walker also performed a set, which was sadly shorter than originally intended due to a sore throat (hope you’re feeling better Ian x).

ian walker2

ian walker 3

Somewhere around this time, its hard to remember exactly when, we were treated to the creation of metal!..

stag at the foundry

Barney Harris finished his workshop in incredible style by producing a 2lb chunk of iron…






We were completely in awe of the process (geddit, ore?.. ‘awe’ sounds like ‘ore’, iron ore… oh forget it). Anyway, back to the Foxes…


After performing again Mr Fox introduced another amazingly talented storyteller, this time in the form of Simon Heywood

simon 1

simon 2

And again the Foxes dance…


And again Tim Ralphs guided us through the night…

tim 5

And we were utterly charmed…


…as Allegra Hawksmoor read for us…



And Sharron Kraus haunted us with tales sung from The Mabinogion.



Afterwards Allegra, this time joined by her partner from Vagrants Among Ruins Dylan Fox, treated us to readings from the fantastic ‘Journeys in the Winterlands’.

Allegra Dylan

Then it was the turn of the incredible Luther King & Sonique Smith to captivate us with their drumming…


Luther 2

…before the Foxes danced again…


Foxy 6

…and introduced the multi-award winning Mr Jon Boden


Jon 2


…who not only treated us with tracks from his Dark Mountain-esqe ‘Songs from the Floodplain’ album, but proved his point about popular repertoire by getting people to join in with the chorus of his version of the Whitney Houston classic ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ (which alone was worth the £2 entrance fee!)…

Jon dance

Another old friend of The Telling, the Gypsy Princess herself Violet Cannon Jnr then braved the cold to captivate us all with another modern Gypsy tale…




The evening finished with a stunning performance from the Isle of Axholme’s finest, the magnificent Rita Payne (who I’m gutted not to have any photos of 😦 so if anyone’s got any please pass them on… and don’t forget to like their FaceBook page cuz they is really very good!) and another spectacular grand finale from Mr Fox

fox finale 1

fox finale2

fox finale 3

fox finale 4

fox finale 5

fox finale 6

Photo credits: Rod Jackson, John Fuller, Martin Pick, Steve Bates and Roger Lee.


The Telling will return in April… in Sheffield!

(See below if you’d like to get involved with the next event.)


The Telling was dreamed by Warren Draper after being enchanted by Tom Hirons, Rima Staines and Dougie Strang. Part Two was cobbled together by Warren Draper, Rachel Horne, Jon Nielsen, Abi Nielsen, Tim Ralphs, Iona Hine, Sarah Eykyn, John Briggs, Jack Richardson, Kala Shaplin, Cal Johnson, Steve Bates, Ben Russel, Ian Walker, Joie Rachel Caruthers, Tim Lee, Ben Pritchard, Mr Fox, The New Fringe, Doncaster Central Development Trust, Say Yes To Arts, PermaFuture, PixieWorks and the Dark Mountain Project.

The Telling is a grassroots, DIY, Open Source Arts creation, which means that we’d like you to help shape the next one. If you want to get involved please contact Warren Draper via email – warrendraper[at]gmail[dot]com – or Twitter – @warrendraper – or join The Telling group on the Dark Mountain uncivilisation ning for further information.
The Telling would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the artists who generously donated their time to make the second The Telling another wonderful event. Big hugs to visual artists – Phlegm, Abi Nielsen, Allie K Stewart, Daniele Othieno, Iona Hine and Rachel Horne. Slap-on-the-back hugs to the Pop-Up Cinema crew – Cal Johnson, Kala Shaplin and Warren Draper. Squeezey bear hugs too to our foodies – Joie Rachel Caruthers and Allegra Hawksmoor and to the bar staff Rachel Horne, Joie Rachel Caruthers and Sophie Bolton. Manly man hugs to the stage-setters & fire builders – ManClan (Jack Richardson, John Briggs, Steve Bates, Cal Johnson and Warren Draper) and Mearcstapa (Jack Richardson, Allie K Stewart, Daniele Othieno and Warren Draper). Cosy cuddles to our workshop hosts – Barney Harris, Abi Nielsen, Iona Hine, Simon Heywood, Jon Penney and Ben Pritchard – and of course to out performers – Phil Sheppard, Tim Ralphs, Rachel Horne, Shonaleigh, Simon Heywood, Jon Boden, Sharron Kraus, Ian Walker, Allegra Hawksmoor, Dylan Fox, Tim Lee, Violet Cannon Jnr, Luther King & Sonique Smith, Rita Payne and last but definitely not least the very incredible Mr Fox. Big love to all x


And an extra big hug to the Mearcstapa Stag… whoever you may be! 😉

‘(Head…) Food for Free’ – an overview of the workshops and cinema events at #TheTelling Pt2 #DoncasterIsGreat

pop-up cinema

Part 2 of The Telling began at 6pm last Friday night (1st Feb) inside one of Church View‘s amazing sub-basement rooms with Cal Johnson & Kala Shaplin‘s amazing Free Pop-Up Cinema


…which (as you might have guessed) was a little bit cold, but warmed with good food from Joie Rachel Carruthers, good conversation, hot water bottles (provided by the ever thoughtful Miss Horne)…


…and some cracking tunes….


Expect more cinematic wonders from Cal & Kala very soon!

The next day (Sat 2nd) kicked off with the mesmerizing Sheffield City Giants

Sheffield City Giants

The 15′ puppets (representing War & Peace) danced at the entrance to The View


…because it was a bit too windy at The Minster. 😉 But rumour has it that they will be returning for a wedding fayre at St George’s in the not too distant future.

giants 3

Meanwhile inside The View…


The FREE OPEN WORKSHOPS were well under way (sustained by a free vegan picnic provided by Allegra Hawksmoor)…


Ben Pritchard hosted the Bread-Making workshop…


While Abi Nielsen & Iona Hine cracked on with the Make-Do-And-Mend and Sewing for Dummies workshops….





Simon Heywood gave a wonderful talk on Peace


…and Open Music Workshops popped up as the day went on whenever and wherever someone felt like a jam…




Later in the day the musical theme continued when Jon Boden (of Bellowhead fame) hosted a Singing Workshop in the Pop-Up Cinema space.


Jon spoke of the need for shared repertoires and suggested that today’s pop songs may well become the folk songs of the future, a point which he went on to illustrate perfectly during the evening’s performance.



Meanwhile outside in the courtyard…


Barney Harris of Regather had been busy building a clay foundry called a bloomery since Thursday afternoon (Allegra Hawksmoor has written a great description of what the process involves here). So while the crew busied themselves preparing the courtyard for the evening’s events…


…(when they weren’t nipping for a crafty fag that is!)…

fag break

…people took it in turns to pump the bloomery’s bellows…


…and pump…


…and pump…


…and pump…


Until in the evening, just in time for the main event, something quite magical happened…Bloomery-02

…but that, as they say, is another story 😉

(Overview of the main evening event coming soon)

Photo credits: Rod Jackson, Rachel Horne, Martin Pick, Steve Bates, Carolyn Dougherty, John Fuller & Warren Draper.

The Travelling: #TheTelling Takes to the Road. #SheffieldIsGreat


The Telling has gone viral!..

Or rather the Doncaster event has sparked off plans for a Sheffield The Telling in April (and there’s talk of possible London, Norwich, Newcastle and Wales ‘Tellings’ in the future too). As with the Doncaster event this will be a 100% grass-roots, DIY, gift economy event which is open to anyone who wants to get involved (this post by the very wonderful Abi Nielsen will give you an idea of exactly what that involvement means).

To help plan for the event we’ve created a thread on The Telling‘s group page over on The Dark Mountain Project‘s Uncivilisation ning. If you’d like to be involved with creating the Sheffield event in any way (as a designer, artist, performer, storyteller, chef, steward, poet, musician, workshop host, etc, etc, etc…) then please join the ning or leave a comment below… 🙂


Photography by John Fuller

Reciprocity, Gifting & Making Shit Happen – Another Post About #TheTelling

Sheffield City Giants

Sheffield City Giants dancing at The Telling.

There’s another lovely post about part two of The Telling over at Jean McEwan‘s Reciprocity‘ blog.

As with Abi Nielsen and Allegra Hawksmoor before her, Jean has captured something of The Telling that I (Warren) have often struggled to articulate myself. It’s interesting that Jean makes reference to the Gift Economy, because without this The Telling simply would not exist (there are plans afoot to extend this concept in the following months, both artistically to a summer event, and practically as a parachute to a moneyless economy). Jean describes The Telling as my brainchild, but it is a child which has been reared by whole tribe… I’ll include an extended ‘thank you’ list when I write the full overview, but from the outset that tribe has included incredibly talented people like Rachel Horne, Abi Nielsen, Jon Nielsen, Sarah Eykyn, Iona Hine, Tim Ralphs, Joie Rachel Carruthers, Tim Lee and Ian Walker (to name just a few of the people who helped shape both events). The Telling relies completely on the understanding that we (tellers and listeners alike) have come together equally, unconditionally and wholeheartedly to make shit happen. 😉

Imbolc, Technology & #TheTelling


Just to point you to another fantastic post about part two of The Telling over at the Steampunk/Dreampunk/Apocalypunk website, Vagrants Among Ruins. Written by the very wonderful Allegra Hawksmoor (who supplied Saturday’s free vegan picnic), Keeping the Sacred Fire: Forges, Imbolc and a Weekend For The Telling gives another great insight into what happened during the weekend and what The Telling actually is (or is becoming).

A taste of #TheTelling


It takes a few days to get enough pictures and thoughts together to write a full overview (and a few more days for us to all land back on planet earth!), but here are a few images from the weekend courtesy of Abi Nielsen, Rachel Horne and John Fuller…

The pop-up cinema (RH)…

pop-up cinema

Entertainment for humans and other beasts (JF)….


Make-Do-And-Mend/Sewing For Dummies workshop (AN)…


Bread-making workshop (AN)…


Mr Fox (JF)…


Fire-lit Phlegm art (JF)…


Tim Ralphs (JF)…


And, of course, Jon Boden of Bellowhead (JF &AN)…




More shots from John Fuller can be found here and there are more like this to come…