A vibrantly diverse and captivating line-up of globally acclaimed storytellers, performers, dancers, circus performers and musicians are preparing to transport audiences into a magical and fun filled festival this July, within the iconic Welsh landscape of Dinefwr woodlands and castle ruins, as Beyond the Border returns for its 2023 festival.
Beyond the Border – Wales’ International Storytelling Festival is regarded as one of the most successful and leading storytelling festivals across the UK, and internationally. It nurtures and showcases Wales-based talent alongside internationally acclaimed storytellers and performers to inspire both new audiences and those with a longstanding affinity with this engaging art form.
Beyond the Border turns 30 this year and to celebrate, there is a packed three-day programme (7-9 July 2023) full of spontaneous collaborations and surprises, taking place within an ethereal landscape, castle and stunning National Trust and CADW location, with Wildlife Trust Cymru woodlands. Whether joining for a unique, immersive camping experience for the whole weekend or visiting for the day, families of all ages (and grown-ups too) will delight in a diverse and entertaining programme of stories, music, performances, inspiring talks, arts and crafts activities. The festival will feature a celebration of stories in English, Welsh and some international. Accessibility is at its core, with a commitment to ensuring all audiences can experience the festival there will be BSL interpretations across most of the programme.
This year’s theme, “The Time is Now”, encapsulates the past, present and future of storytelling in Wales through the lens of languages, stories and music from across Europe and the world. It also embodies the numerous cultural and societal movements of recent times, including #BlackLivesMatter, the Covid19 pandemic and the significance of the Welsh language. The theme invites audiences to explore what our landscape looks like today, debate the issues that matter and to gather as a community to influence positive change. This will feature Anti-Racism Storytelling Pathways, a collaboration between Beyond the Border & People Speak Up to embed anti-racist storytelling practice across Wales.
This year’s highlights include:
- Experimental, vibrant new work and energy from storytelling artists including the well known and loved Parisian, Abbi Patrix
- The very final performance from The Devil’s Violin, famous for their music and storytelling shows that receive standing ovations and evoke passionate responses
- Special international guests including Hungary’s ‘supervillain storyteller’ and feminist folklorist Csenge Zalka and Belgium’s ‘anarchic Musketeer’ Joe Baele
- Epic master wordsmiths including Sally Pomme Clayton and her late and sometimes risqué solo show for grown-ups, The Mighty Goddess
- TUUP – The Unorthodox, Unprecedented Preacher presenting his new show Children of the Sweet Water
- Authentic traditions of music and story from West Africa with Balafon virtuoso N’famady Kouyaté and The Successors of the Mandingue meet a triple whammy of Beyond the Border’s Mycelium Contemporary Cyfarwyddio; Mair Tomos Ifans, Jo Munton and Deb Winter sharing story morsels gathered from their year-long residencies across Wales
- Kestrel Morten’s a Bindarella – a gothic punk inspired, modern-take on a goddess of the bins – a new myth that reweaves the strands of oral tradition into shapes that reflect the challenges of the modern world we all face
- Dancer Megan Lloyd’s entrancing acrobatic aerial hoop storytelling performance
Alongside the colourful storytelling line up, Beyond the Border Festival offers visitors a chance to unwind and reconnect with nature; to explore the breath-taking grounds of Dinefwr, with woodland walks steeped in myths and legends. The natural environment offers plenty of ways to unwind and relax with friends and family and enjoy delicious food and drink stalls offering the best of local and Welsh cuisine.
Highlights for families include:
- Under 5s go free and special rates for those aged 6-16
- Festival favourite Daniel Morden with fiddler extraordinaire Oli Wilson-Dickson share their rollickingly riotous blend of folktale fun for families
- A special mix of circus, dance and drama from partners Citrus Arts as well as a chance to practice your own circus skills and make your own hula-hoop
- As part of People Speak Up’s programme of family friendly activity, there will be storytelling workshops and young people can share their own stories in Spoken Word Saturday and compete in Sunday’s Young Storyteller Competition
- Early rise and shine play sessions for the little folk to delight those camping under the stars
- Dedicated family tent for kids age 6+ with shows for families full of fun shows, music and plenty of invitations to join in
- Puppet making for the final Sunday parade which everyone can take part in.
For full information about Beyond the Border Festival and its line-up of artists please visit the festival website.