Back in June 2020, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds put a call-out to the story-tellers of Suffolk inviting them to tell the hidden stories of the place where they live and they didn’t disappoint.
CEO/Artistic Director Owen Calvert-Lyons was delighted with the response ‘The history of this area is already well documented but we were looking for something a little different and that’s exactly what we’ve got. We selected 8 stories from the entries we received and they are all so different. Some are based on historical facts but use fictional characters to bring then to life, others take a slice of history and recount it from the voice of local residents at the time and one is entirely fictional but set in the Bury St Edmunds streets that we know so well. One is a beautifully fanciful walk straight from the imagination of a mum and her children on their adventurous walk home from school. These are the stories which get better every time you hear them, the stories which capture the imagination and make you see the world afresh.’
The stories are based in Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, Thurston, Hessett and Lavenham and have been voiced by professional actors including Terry Molloy (Dr Who, The Archers) with original music and sound design by composer, David Lewington and are available to download from Theatre Royal’s website www.theatreroyal.org/walking-stories/
Each story is accompanied by a beautifully hand drawn and illustrated map which guides you on your journey. The stories range in length from approximately 10 to 20 minutes each. Theatre Royal recommends downloading the files at home onto a suitable device (smartphone, tablet or mp3 player) and downloading or printing the map. Headphones will be required and we recommend over-head headphones rather than in-ear for a full experience although both will work.
‘We have designed this project specifically for these extraordinary times. People can listen to these stories individually and outdoors, enabling them to safely come back out into the streets and celebrate the place where they live. Walking Stories are highly immersive experiences but we ask walkers to please remember that cars and gravity are both real and to take extra care on roads and crossings.’ adds Owen
Walking Stories are funded by Arts Council England and Bury Town Council and West Suffolk Council locality budgets.