RICK WILSON AND HELEN EAST
Apart from its obvious abilities
to educate and bring diverse peoples together, storytelling can be, at
root, great - and possibly the oldest form of - entertainment.
Helen and Rick have developed a very personal and informal style that
transports the listener from the everyday world to those of the unseen
and the impossile - requesting comment and reaction throughout the journey
- Together they effect a subtle interplay of words, rhythm, movement and
music. Drums pace the narrative, melody instruments deepen the atmosphere,
and song winds in and out of both.
"A SEAMLESS MIX OF NARRATIVE AND DRUM RHYTHM, MELODY AND MEANING"
(Jane Knight, Arts Officer)
ADULTS - Whether it
is Helen working solo or with Rick, programmes are always devised for
their specific occasion. These are sometimes themed, either loosely or
more closely. Some of these have included - Betrayals of Trust, Unrequited
love, The Devil , Women every which Way, Winter Seeds, and The Hidden
Such sessions have been conducted for the general public as well as for
teachers' groups and educational conferences and last from 1 to ½
hours. An ideal audience size would only be limited by the projection
of an unamplified voice !
be one of the greatest of arts
it is in some ways more akin to music..
it goes beyond the expression of things we have already felt
in us sensations
as though we had broken out of our normal mode of
It gets under our skin, hits us at a level deeper than
our thoughts " CS Lewis
CHILDREN - Programmes take account of the mixed age ranges that
attend public performances and try to give something special to everyone.
Drawing on a very wide store of tales from all over the world, such programes
often feature many animal stories.
Sessions are liberally spiced with music, are great fun and highly participative.
Depending on the performance space, 80 - 100 is an optimum audience size.
"I am very sure everyone enjoyed you." (Child, Barbican Arts
"You were the best day
FAMILY GROUPS - These
sessions combine all the elements of adult and children's performances,
allowing subtle shifts of emphasis between the two. Here, children particularly
can feel a sense of security which can sometimes allow the unfolding of
stories and ideas usually directed towards older age groups. Such sessions
have been particularly successful at both large festivals, such as The Big Chill
and Solfest, and in more formal Museum settings.
"I wasn't going to stay, but I was as rivetted as the children -maybe
more so" (Grandparent, Science Museum.)
TV /RADIO - Helen has
been a featured storyteller on BBC's Zig-Zag, and By Word of Mouth, and
on Granada and cable tv. She also wrote all the 17 stories for the World
Service series Everday Science and has been a guest on Talk Radio speaking
about Easter Customs, BBC Radio London on folktales of London, BBC Radio Shropshire, talking about folklore and
cattle cures, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire talking about truth and story,
and many local radio stations.
Apart from many radio interviews
throughout Europe whilst touring as a rock musician, Rick composed, performed
and recorded original music for the Radio 4 play White Horse Hill and
has also presented Record of the Week for the World Service.
MIXED MEDIA - Both Helen
and Rick have devised and performed in a variety of presentations - using
story, music, shadow play, and dance in One Helluva Day -a Millenium Commission
- (Shropshire), A Giant Party (London), Under Standing Stones(Garden
Festival Wales), The Poothan (London), Journey of Tales (Tyneside),The Ramayana
(Shropshire) and The Trodden Path (Surrey) .Rick was both musical director and musician
for the Unicorn Theatre's Rama and Sita Path of Flames.
Helen also created a Story,Food and Taste installation in Battersea park
in collaboration with the Apples and Snakes poetry organisation.
SITE SPECIFIC - Helen
has undertaken many different projects in this area including work for
the National Trust at Ancient Sites, Halloween events in woods and forests
and a narrative interpretation for the Toledo exhibition at the Whitechapel
Gallery.She also told stories from her book London Folktales at the particular locations
of the tales in question and, similarly, told Islington stories, both in performance
and on story walks around that London borough as part of their Festival of the Word.
Rick has worked with Glydebourne
Opera Education on the Walking the Downs project which culminated in a
large scale community presentation at Newhaven Fort. As part of Red Earth's
Enclosure,he was a featured musician in a vast fire and ritual piece
at Hambledon Hill Iron Age fort in Dorset. He also played solo on a small
boat amongst a fire and light spectacular as part of the River Severn project.
His commissioned installation - 3 Amazonian Stories- resides at Mythstories
Museum, Shropshire amongst appropriate flora and fauna.He was both Sound Designer
and performer for Theatre Rites other worldly Finders Keepers and was the solo musician
within the large maze of books at Shrewsbury's Rememberance Park Installation, devised by
Wren Miller and Ray Jacobs.
ONE-OFF SPECTACULARS -
Many of the above fall into this category as well as street events and
carnivals where Helen and Rick have had creative input.