Storyteller Festival

Current stage: Awarded


  • WonderZoo CIC
  • A Press of Suspects
  • Mindful Art Club
Briefly describe your project

In September 2023, we would like to create a 5 day festival around the theme of Storytelling in its many forms, which will have a daytime workshop and an evening performance event at intimate venues in Stonehouse. 10 events in total.

In 2022 WonderZoo created the Storyteller Pilot Festival, with research into how viable and popular this kind of festival would be in the city. From feedback forms, we had a very positive response, so we felt the festival would be well received this year, taking what we learnt from last year and making it even better.

During the first round, POP members will be asked to advise you. What advice would be most helpful?

The advice that’d be most helpful would be talking to us about how we can go from this level of funding to a larger amount of funding, which could create a larger city-wide festival in the future. We would like advice on how we can grow and hold space for a larger collaboration that would always include grass-roots, not just established organisations, to lead the way from the community level, so it becomes more of a People’s Festival. Maybe outside of the festival, it could lead to collaborations all year round that could support mental health, social isolation, and form new friendships.

Describe what you hope your Collective will achieve

We hope to create a small Storytelling festival in Stonehouse, as a stepping stone to creating a city-wide festival.

Stonehouse in Plymouth has a thriving multi-cultural community, with a demand for more arts and cultural events. In 2021 and 2022, WonderZoo created two pilot festivals around the idea of Storytelling, which has allowed us to find out what people want and what they enjoy the most.

In 2021, WonderZoo created an online festival called ‘Lost Time’, during the era of Covid restrictions, working with four other organisations. The online festival was well received, and the feedback showed us that an in-person festival was desired by the online attendees we surveyed.

In 2022, we created the Storyteller Pilot Festival with 18 other organisations, which gave us the opportunity to run an in-person festival across 6 small venues in Stonehouse, with a research element that showed us what people thought of the events we offered. We gained a lot of positive responses, which gave us evidence that the festival worked well, and we were able to see which kinds of events were the most or least popular.

In 2023, with the knowledge gained from the previous festivals, we would like to create another festival that uses small venues around Stonehouse, providing opportunities for creativity, fun, friendship-building and cultural enrichment in an inclusive and accessible way across 10 venues, featuring around 22 organisations. With the cost of living crisis, social isolation and lack of venues for performances, we want the festival to be a way of bringing people together in fun ways, to enhance lives and allow performers to have a platform. We would like to keep ticket prices either free or donation based, to ensure there are no barriers to attendance.

We hope to build new relationships with venues and organisations that we haven’t worked with before in previous festivals, including the Stonehouse Lawn Tennis Club, Oxford Creative House, Ocean Studios and Manor Street Galleries. With representatives of these groups attending the planning stages of the festival, we hope that friendships and partnerships can be formed as a result, which will encourage more exciting collaborations to emerge, thus strengthening the cultural sector of Plymouth.

We hope that this festival will give us further experience to be able to take us to a much bigger city-wide festival in the near future.

Describe how your Collective formed

WonderZoo’s ethos is Storytelling, Community and Collaboration. We like to work with other groups that don’t often get recognised and support them to grow. We would like to work with Mindful Art Club, as they are an emerging group that is learning how to run events, and they have a strong focus on mental health support using creativity, which fits our ethos. A Press Of Suspects is a comedy organisation coming from a grass roots level, which hosts comedy events around Plymouth and beyond. By including them in this collaboration, we hope to strengthen our relationships, which will set us up for a bigger collaborative festival in the future.

Which collaboration “shape” do you expect will best describe your project?

HUB AND SPOKE – Like a bike wheel, one organisation holds things together at the centre, while other organisations perform specific tasks

In which areas would you expect most of your grant to be spent?

Core Funding / Time, Events, Marketing / Promotion, Outsourcing Expertise, Other / Unsure