Tel: 07796 296387
"I love to see people enjoying stories - whether reading books, listening to tales or creating their own.
" Bringing the tale alive - with voice, movement and humour - watching children giggling and entranced and adults holding on to every word of the story - is a magical life, and I relish every moment of it!"
Society for Storytelling
Sophie lives in a village just outside Derby, with a secondary base in Oxford. She has a Masters degree in Mediaeval History from St Andrews University, qualified as a Chartered Accountant (“there aren’t many jobs specialising in Mediaeval History!”), and speaks fluent French and German. Sophie is married to Rob, a performance engineer in the aerospace industry. They have 3 growing boys.
After a high flying career working as a management consultant, Mergers & Acquisitions executive and then International Finance Director for Experian plc, she gave up work (and the travelling!) after the birth of her first child in 1999. Three years later and with a second baby, she returned to work part-time. For 4 years she was the member-nominated Non Executive Director for the Derbyshire Building Society, where she also chaired the Board's Customer Service Committee. A third boy was born to Sophie and Robert in 2004 and after a period at home enjoying life with her youngest as a full time mother, she took the plunge into life as a professional storyteller.
"How did I get into storytelling? I get asked this all the time. I first saw storytelling at a literature festival and was blown away by the stories and the performance. Watching the audience's reaction was an education - caught up in the tales, this was like no other performance art form. It was something special.
"I went along to Flying Donkeys in Derby, a storytelling club funded by the Arts Council with a unique programme of storytelling events that brought so many of the big names in storytelling to Derby. I was really lucky in that in a short space of time I saw many of the headline storytellers in the UK and was able to have a go myself at the story circle.
"As time passed, and my children grew up, I was able to practise more, learn and explore. I joined a group of developing storytellers who met monthly to train and practise and started attending more workshops and visiting the other local storytelling clubs.
"Storytelling is addictive - whether as listener or teller, and I loved it so much I started to get asked to do guest spots and gigs. It grew from there. I have always had an abiding interest in stories, performance and writing, books and the arts, brought up in a lively, academic household filled with books and stories from all around the world. It was inevitable that I would return to these creative roots."
Sophie now works full time as a storyteller, working in schools, theatres, arts centres, libraries, festivals, clubs and public and social venues of all kinds - from day care centres to village halls, to grand historic country houses, parks and tourist venues, to entertaining large groups at private family or corporate events and leading workshops in a secure mental health hospital, even telling stories to newly released prisoners.
She combines storytelling with traditional balladry and song and is known for her vivid, warm and intimate style of telling, combined with a strong sense of fun and a wicked sense of humour. "Whatever the context and setting, stories are a point of contact with people in all circumstances and walks of life, a sharing of common experience that draws us together. I have had a fascinating career, travelled and seen so much, but I now find myself doing a job I couldn't adore more!"
Sophie is an experienced event organiser too, having conceived and for many years run (along with her husband) a volunteer community arts group hosting top quality arts performances in her village. Sophie is now chair of the committee for Tales from Two Cities, a storytelling club (previously the Flying Donkeys and Nottingham Storytellers) that presents both national and local storytellers in two Derby and Nottingham venues (see www.talesfromtwocities.co.uk).
In August 2013, Sophie was nominated for the British Awards for Storytelling Excellence under the category "Outstanding Female Storyteller 2013", an award that recognises a storyteller "who has consistently told to an exemplary standard and has been an ambassador for storytelling across a range of audiences."
Sophie also writes - mainly for children - and has recorded and published 3 audio books for children: The Pirate's Sister (2006), The Dragon's Christmas (2006) and Dragon's Tales (2008). Performance poetry is a bit of a hobby too and in 2009 Sophie won the Ripley Poetry Prize 2009.
In addition to her work as a performer, Sophie is an experienced trainer and workshop leader, and now runs a series of workshops, in Spring and Autumn, for aspiring tellers - Only Words Aloud (for beginners) and More Words Aloud (for those with experience).
In September 2013, Sophie organised a new small-scale storytelling festival, "Hill Top Tales", with performances and workshops in the beautiful wilds of Staffordshire:
"It felt like a privilege to take part and I had been let in on some wonderful secret!... Sophie has a wonderful way of leading a group. it is a rare mix of giving so generously of her time and herself, whilst also relinquishing control to give people space. It felt that she was able to make everyone feel safe and that whatever anyone contributes it feels valuable. It was a real pleasure to be a part of that. Please count me in for the next one!"
"It was wonderful to start to get a glimpse of the language that storytellers use to orientate themselves in the storyscape...it was a lovely day, with lovely people, in a lovely setting and so useful in adding to my ability to think about and understand the landscape of storytelling. I would definitely come again."
"What a creative day, followed by a rewarding and inspiring evening of stories from tellers of all ages and with so many open hearts and individual voices, telling their stories with clarity, humour and passion, it couldn't fail to be anything but what it was; inspiring."
Comments from participants of Hill Top Tales, September 2013.
Sophie has been interviewed about her practice as a storyteller for the Settle Storytelling Festival Blog - see: www.settlestories.blogspot.com. (For the Festival main site see: www.settlestories.org.uk.)
To contact Sophie, ring Tel 01332 840007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. She is always happy to chat about any ideas you may have about possible storytelling performances, events or workshops, in a wide range of settings, and enjoys developing new work, as commissions, or to suit a new venue or context. Just ask!