Once upon a time.
Once upon a time I spent the most pleasant evening, in a cosy little theatre...
The first Tuesday of every month is story night in Galway. I've been hearing about this for several months, but only went for the first time last Tuesday. I now regret missing all those months.
The brainchild of Clare Murphy, story night has been on the go since 2006. Apparently it began around Clare's kitchen table, then migrated to the Spirit Centre only to out grow this venue last March. Story Telling night now calls the Blue Teapot Theatre on Munster Avenue home, and I can't imagine it anywhere else. When I arrived just before 8 on Tuesday there was already a comfortable crowd gathered at the front of the theatre on cushions and blankets, and on the chairs set up behind. The current set in the BlueTeapot is a forest scene, with foliage surrounding the beautifully painted back-drop. It looked impressive, and provided a little something for the story tellers to interact with, along with their audience.
Clare got the proceedings going with a welcome, a few ground rules, a tale or two of her own, and then others stood up in time to regale us with stories and songs. It is a very relaxed and supportive atmosphere, and had I anything clever to say I would have felt very comfortable to share it with this group. Stories and songs are welcome, poetry is not. Not because they are racist against poetry, as Clare explained, only because poetry has such a thriving outlet in other venues throughout Galway, and they find from experience that while songs work well with stories, poetry does not necessarily. The stories ranged from fairy tales, to tall tales, and one African lady told us a few stories first in English, then taught us a refrain, and sang the story in her native tongue, with the audience participating. It was beautiful! A girl stood up and did much the same thing in Irish; first telling a story of loss and then retelling it through a Sean Nós song of her own composition.
And there's cake!
A donation of €3 is suggested, but if you have more I encourage you to give it. (Did I mention the cake?)