Edge Hill University will be celebrating Ormskirk myths and legends this winter as part of the lively market town’s inaugural Festival of Tales.

A Festival of Tales launched at the town’s Chapel Gallery on 18 November and runs until January 2018. This wonderful feast of visual art, creative writing and performance will feature works by local and international artists and writers who have taken inspiration from the town of Ormskirk and its heritage.

As part of Edge Hill’s contribution to the festivities, on Sunday 3 December theatre company Wives’ Tales will present The Devil’s Wall, a theatrical experience in the heart of Ormskirk town.

Wives’ Tales have been working with Performing Arts students to bring an old fable about a tailor, a baker and the devil to life. Taking on the role of chief story tellers, the students are exploring devised, site-specific and street theatre performance.

Starting at the end of Moor Street, the audience are invited to join a parade of performers, leading to Ormskirk’s clock tower, the setting of the tale.

Wives’ Tales is co-founded by Alice Lapworth, an Edge Hill dance and drama graduate who will also direct and choreograph the performance of The Devil’s Wall.

Author and Reader in Literary Fiction at Edge Hill, Dr Rodge Glass has, along with fellow writers Claire Dean and James Rice, written some specially commissioned stories for the festival.

On 15 December, they will read extracts from these stories at Ormskirk’s Chapel Gallery, with a limited number of copies of the story book to buy on the day. Those attending will also have the opportunity to submit their own Ormskirk-inspired tales to the Festival’s Short Story Competition. The stories will also be available online and in audio formal, as well as being displayed in Ormskirk shop windows.

Dr Rodge Glass

Dr Rodge Glass said: “We chose from various myths of Ormskirk, then each did something we do with students in fiction classes – creatively responding. That is, drafting stories that are somehow a response, an update or an interpretation of stories that already exist. In my story, Orme the Viking is reinvented, now a thousand years old. He’s sitting outside the Golden Lion pub in Ormskirk at Christmas, reminiscing about his glory days and remembering the town as it used to be.”

From the Viking Orme’s drinking sessions at the Golden Lion pub to quarrelling sisters and mysterious murders, these stories explore Ormskirk heritage and folklore in imaginative and thoroughly surprising ways.

Cathy Butterworth

Cathy Butterworth, Arts Manager at Edge Hill University said: “The Devil’s Wall is a wonderful and magical new performance, full of local tales and mythology, beautifully devised and produced by one of our amazingly talented recent graduates Alice Lapworth. Working with Chapel Gallery has given us the opportunity to help Alice start and develop her own theatre company, spurring her on to the next level of her career in theatre and performance.

“Our Creative Writing Department is internationally renowned for academic excellence in short fiction, and it is really exciting to see newly commissioned stories by Dr Rodge Glass, Claire Dean and James Rice, form part of A Festival of Tales.

“It’s a real pleasure to collaborate with Chapel Gallery on two fantastic new projects, specially commissioned for A Festival of Tales, and we’re delighted to be part of this very special festival.”

A Festival of Tales is the result of a successful lottery application and collaboration between West Lancashire Borough Council (WLBC), the Town Centre Management Group and Edge Hill University along with local businesses, schools and community groups. The project has been organised by WLBC’s Arts Development Service.

Sunday 3rd December 3:00pm
Wives’ Tales Theatre Company presents The Devil’s Wall
Meet at the statue of Disraeli opposite the Golden Lion pub

Friday December 15th 7:00pm
Ormskirk Short Stories
£2.50 a ticket. Contact the Chapel Gallery to book (01695 571 328)