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Welcome to the Story Friday Archive

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Story Friday
Brief Encounter

Brief Encounter

Stories from Story Friday's Brief Encounter

Stories from Story Fridays BRIEF ENCOUNTER, inspired by the film.  First performed at Burdall’s Yard, 22nd November, 2013


This Story Friday was a new departure for A Word In Your Ear. We asked writers to watch the 1945 film Brief Encounter, a classic weepie with Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard, and write a story inspired by this most famous of British love stories. We had stories about encounters in Morrisons, and encounters with much younger men; we had stations and film scripts and a very chilly episode in the Arctic.   A number of stories were very funny, and some were (ahem) a little saucy… All were highly entertaining.


After we listened to the stories, our audience much enjoyed a screening of Brief Encounter.  


Our writers this month were:  Elaine Miles, Geoffrey Heptonstall, Stephanie Weston, Doc Watson, Clare Reddaway  and Catherine Strong.  Geoffrey Heptonstall’s story was read by Olly Langdon, and Catherine Strong’s story was read by Caroline Garland.

We were thrilled to welcome Jennifer Crook who sang a beautiful song she’d written which was inspired by Carnforth Station where Brief Encounter was filmed.

The stories:

1. Doc Watson gives us a chilling vision of ‘what happened next’ in the unusual form of a film script with: Small, dark and delicate, written and performed by Doc Watson


2. Stephanie Weston gets her knickers in a twist with this very funny take on Brief Encounter: Brief Encounter, written and read by Stephanie Weston


3. Elaine Miles’s narrator is quite the cougar: Brief Encounter, written and read by Elaine Miles

4. Catherine Strong cools us down with this icy account of an Arctic trip: Looking for Humpbacks in Kangerlua Icefjord, written by Catherine Strong, read by Caroline Garland


5. Clare Reddaway takes as her premise that Brief Encounter is about a woman going shopping on a Thursday, and brings it up to date with: No Animals were Hurt in the Writing of this Story, written and read by Clare Reddaway


6. Geoff Heptonstall story takes an off camera look at film set with: Prospects, written by Geoff Heptonstall, read by Olly Langdon

Ouside the City Walls

Story Friday
Outside the City Walls

Stories from Story Friday:  Outside the City Walls


Stories first performed for Story Fridays Outside the City Walls at Burdall’s Yard, 27th September 2013

September’s Story Friday had the theme ‘Outside the City Walls’. The evening kicked started a weekend of festival fun, a ‘Creative Celebration of Snow Hill and the London Road, Then, Now and Beyond’ as part of Kilter’s Green Roofs project.  Burdall’s Yard, our lovely venue, is in the heart of the area, and lies firmly outside Bath’s city walls…

‘Outside the City Walls’ was held on September 27th. We had some wonderful stories this evening, about wayward girls and wandering bag ladies, about Israeli walls and Bukharan harems, about Troy, Ancient Rome and latin at prep schools. We were very well entertained by our writer-performers: Christine Roberts, Clare Reddaway, Doc Watson, Julie Green, Katherine Doggrell, Philip Douch and Anne Corlett.

We were delighted to welcome the Green Roofs Choir who were singing new songs about the local area in the courtyard outside, and we once again enjoyed listening to Jamie Huddlestone playing his melodeon.  Many thanks to everyone who was involved.

The Stories:

1. Clare Reddaway finds inspiration in a city in Central Asia in 1929 with her story: The Modern Way, written and read by Clare Reddaway


2. Christine Roberts finds her wall in Israel with: Without the Wall, written and read by Christine Roberts


3. Doc Watson makes us laugh with: The Day War Broke Out, written and read by Doc Watson


4. Katherine Doggrell gives us the tale of mottos in her story: The Souvenir Seller, written and read by Katherine Doggrell


5. Anne Corlett paints an evocative portrait of an unloved part of a modern British city in: The Girl Who Walked On Walls, written and read by Anne Corlett


6. Julie Green takes us through the ups and downs of a night out with baglady Norma in: Wherever I Lay My Hat, written and read by Julie Green

7. Philip Douch plays with language and Latin grammar in his very funny story: Outside the City Walls, written and read by Philip Douch

Black Sheep
Image by Jose Francisco Morales

Story Friday
Black Sheep

Stories from Story Friday: Black Sheep

Stories first performed for Story Fridays at Burdall’s Yard, 3rd May 2013

The stories for this Story Friday ranged from sublimely funny to the dark and disturbing, from lovely stories about….sheep…. to stories families and heartbreak, ghosts and karaoke.  Who’d have thought sheep could spawn such creative glories??

Caroline Garland read Crysse Morrison’s story about a black sheep of a father and also Hannah Teasdale’s story about an unusual rural encounter. Christine’s story was a shocking, visceral tale of a young man returning home.

Clare Reddaway took a sideways swipe at the biblical parable of the Prodigal Son. Pauline Masurel’s polished story introduced us to Shetland flocks. Olly Langdon read Rosemary Senior’s story which you could say took an angle on adolescence. We welcomed Ben Sixsmith, writing and performing for us for the first time, as he really got under the skin of a childhood haunting.

The Stories:

1. Crysse Morrison’s monologue is funny and sharp, as she explores the themes of black sheep, weddings and pick up lines: In These Shoes, written by Crysse Morrison, read by Caroline Garland

2. Ben Sixsmith tells a haunting tale of childhood: The One Who Died First, written and read by Ben Sixsmith

3. Hannah Teasdale takes her narrator on a walk in the country: Black Sheep, written by Hannah Teasdale, read by Caroline Garland

4. Rose Senior paints a picture of an unusual family: Black Sheep, written by Rose Senior, read by Oliver Langdon

5. Clare Reddaway takes another look at one of the least fair bible stories: The Prodigal Son’s Older Brother, written and read by Clare Reddaway

The Sea, The Sea.jpg

Story Friday
The Sea, The Sea

The Sea, The Sea

Stories from Story Friday: The Sea, The Sea

Stories from Story Fridays The Sea, The Sea, first performed at Burdall’s Yard, 5th July 2013

Taking the title of Iris Murdoch’s book as inspiration, our July theme was The Sea The Sea. The event was held on a beautiful sunny evening. Andy Murray was playing in the semis at Wimbledon and the barbies were being fired up all over the city, but we had a wonderfully enthusiastic and vibrant audience for our music and stories.

We had a record number of submissions for The Sea The Sea. The theme seemed to appeal to many writers. We almost felt the waves lapping at our chairs as we listened to stories of sailors and mermaids, pirates and that tidy kind of sea that doesn’t get your hair wet. Ancient myths were retold with a modern slant, modern stories with ancient resonance. We had feisty old men and teenagers with attitude, ancient queens suffering from seasickness and not-so-very-faithful wives waiting for their seafaring husbands.  


Our writer-performers this evening were:  Elaine Miles, Philip Douch, Anne Corlett, Natalie Watson, Stephanie Weston and Ben Sixsmith.  Susie Barrett’s story was read by Olly Langdon

John Ritchie was due to read a story but was unable to attend.  Our musicians were Ann Ballinger on the flute and Rupert Small on the fiddle.

The Stories:

1. Listen to Philip Douch’s counter-cultural pirate in The Captain, written and read by Philip Douch

2. Natalie Watson’s feisty narrator gives us a surprising take on old age in Carpe Diem, written and read by Natalie Bown

3. Stephanie Weston’s witty monologue introduces a Cleopatra only half familiar from the legends in Cleopatra’s Needled, written and read by Stephanie Weston

4. Ben Sixsmith’s moving story focusses on disaffected teenagers in a rundown seaside town: Swimming With You, written and read by Ben Sixsmith

5. Elaine Miles’ narrator is packing for a holiday in Marmaris: Turkish Delight, written and read by Elaine Miles

6. Susan Barrett’s lyrical prose-poem evokes the days of Alexander in Thalassa, written by Susan Barrett, read by Olly Langdon


Story Friday

Stories from Story Friday: Underground


Stories first performed for Story Fridays Underground at Burdall’s Yard, 25th January 2013

Held on a freezing cold night in January, and inspired by the stone vaults of the old brewery which was our new venue, Burdall’s Yard, we gave our writers the theme of Underground.  We had stories about miners in New Zealand, child soldiers in Africa, preppers in Somerset, partygoers on the Underground, young architects and a vision of a future earth that would be chilling if it hadn’t been so hot.  Many of the stories were full of dread and menace and the hairs on the back of my head stood up more than once…

UNDERGROUND featured writers:  Elaine Miles, Pauline Masurel, Alison Lock, Sarah Hilary, Clare Reddaway and Susan Barrett, with an intriguing poem by Mark Rutterford.  Susan’s story was read by Caroline Garland and Alison’s by Olly Langdon.

We had music from Gabi Maas and Jamie Huddlestone, on the violin and melodian.

The Stories:

1. Olly reads Alison Lock’s story in which she envisages an extreme future for the Earth: Erthenta, written by Alison Lock, read by Oliver Langdon

2. Sarah Hilary reads her moving and vivid story of a young girl in an African city: My Father’s Daughter, written and read by Sarah Hilary

3. Caroline reads Susie Barrett’s story about her dream house: Up the Garden Path, written by Susan Barrett, read by Caroline Garland

4. Clare Reddaway explores a darker side of the London Underground: Invitation, written and read by Clare Reddaway

5. Elaine Miles gets under the skin of a survivalist: Survival of the Fittest, written and read by Elaine Miles

6. Pauline Masurel visits an old mining town in New Zealand: Gold Rush, written and read by Pauline Masurel

7. Olly reads Mark Rutterford’s poem about badgers, which we played in the tunnels of Burdall’s Yard as the audience arrived for Underground. We are proud that Secret World Wildlife Rescue will be using this recordings to teach visiting children about badgers.

Click here to find out more about Secret World, or click below to listen to the poem: Badger Dreams, written by Mark Rutterford, read by Olly Langdon

Image by Planet Volumes

Story Friday

Stories from Story Friday: Mars


Stories first performed for Story Fridays Mars at Burdall’s Yard, 29th March 2013

Our theme for March was ‘Mars’. Held on Good Friday, we had a wonderfully large audience who came to celebrate our first birthday. We were really thrilled to welcome Olly and Caroline’s choir, The Green Roofs Singers, who sang glorious songs about the local area.

We had some outstanding stories this month. Some writers flew us up to the red planet, some kept their feet firmly in the mud of a not-so-very alien building site, where two boys made a discovery that would remain with them for their entire lives. We had a saleswoman who made use of her time in queues very….creatively. We enjoyed a trip to Mars with a middle-aged married couple who reassessed their past, and their future. We spent time on a train with visitors from outer space; we travelled to 15th century Florence via the National Gallery, and we teetered on a bridge above a river, clutching a mars bar in our hands. The stories made us laugh and made us cry, and sent us on our ways enriched and enlightened. Thank you to our writer-performers: Lisa Fryer, Julie Green, Anne Corlett, Clare Reddaway, Pippa Gladhill and Philip Douch.

We had music from Gabi Maas and Jamie Huddlestone, on the violin and melodian. Thank you to Caitlin Ashton for our Mars design. You can see more of Caitlin’s work at

The Stories:

1. Lisa Fryer gets into the heads of two young boys: Mars, written and read by Lisa Fryer

2. Philip Douch makes us laugh with an account of Trog and Kron’s unusual journey: Trog and Kron Almost Get It Right, written and read by Phillip Douch

3. Julie Green takes us onto the shop floor with a vivid performance of her monologue: Fun Sized Inspiration, written and read by Julie Green

4. Anne Corlett imagines a middle-aged couple travelling to Mars in: Last Tango in Space, written and read by Anne Corlett

5. Clare Reddaway finds inspiration in Botticelli’s Venus and Mars with: Love Versus War, written and read by Clare Reddaway

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