Dave storytelling and singing, East Malling. 2003

Dave, for a number of years, Storyteller in Residence, at the Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, has been a professional storyteller for over twenty years, at first with his ex-wife Toni, on children’s television, and in their stage show Music Box (at one time voted the Best Children’s Touring Theatre Show in England) and for the last 12 years as a solo performer. He works regularly for children, family, and adult audiences, in schools, colleges, libraries, clubs, and festivals, is a founder member of Storytellers’ Forum South East, and a Trustee of Mythstories, the storytelling museum and research center. and has traveled extensively throughout the British Isles, Europe, Africa, China, and the Americas collecting and performing traditional stories.

For school and theatre work for children, he uses a variety of rod puppets, masks, and ‘props’, also music on guitar, banjo, melodeon, and whistle.

An ex-Director of the Society for Storytelling, he also edited the Society magazine Storylines for several years and has written and presented numerous radio and TV programs on the art of storytelling.

His 1970s radio series Folktales, an eight-part introduction to the traditional folktale, and storytelling, in the British Isles, presented by Toni Arthur, is now available on a set of CDs. A new series of themed storytelling CDs by Dave will be available in 2007/8.

Two of his stories appear in ‘English Folktales’ ed. Keding and Douglas. Libraries Unlimted 2005

‘The shortest distance between a human being and truth is a story’

THOSE TELLING MOMENTS…….take a voyage into the imagination with Dave Arthur, teller of Traditional Tales for all ages.

Experience the magical world of giants, heroes, heroines, fabulous animals, magical artifacts, witches, goblins, creation myths, modern urban legends, Jack Tales, balladry and music.

Dave offers school, club, library, museum, theatre and festival audiences the chance to experience and share some of the enthralling, humorous and inspirational folk tales, myths, fables and legends that encourage hope, wonder and celebration of life.

Recent storytelling bookings have included: The Festival at the Edge; Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival; Birmingham Rep Theatre; Warehouse Theatre, Croydon; Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells; Little Angel Theatre, London; Storytelling Café, Farnham Maltings; Society for Storytelling National Gathering; The Maltings, St Albans; Moving On, Festival of Traveller Culture, Dover, Toulouse International School, Isle of Wight Festival, Whitby Folk Festival, Broadstairs Folk Festival.

‘A storyteller does not take the journey alone. The story must be a shared creation between teller and listener.’
Robin Moore


‘My sincere thanks for the wonderful summer storytelling event, it was superb. The children loved every minute of your performance. They were enthralled with its mixture of story and song, I was greatly impressed with your storytelling skills, and the way in which you managed to weave the children’s ideas and experiences into your tales. I look forward to your return visit.’
Colin McClure. Librarian, London Borough of Havering

‘Thank you for giving the children and staff such a wonderful experience with your stories, puppets, and songs. We eagerly look forward to your return.’
The Headteacher, Froxfield School, Hampshire.

‘I wish to thank and congratulate you for your wonderful and meritorious performance in my school.’
H. Agbelia, Kpandu Secondary School, Ghana.

‘It was marvelous, and just what we wanted.’
Patsy Anderson, The Piccolos, Teddington.

‘An inspiration to all our pupils lucky enough to have attended your storytelling sessions. Your relaxed, amusing, yet authoritative storytelling technique captured the imagination of students and staff alike and has provided us all with much food for thought, and new ways of looking at many of our subject areas. There will always be a welcome for you here.’
Canadian International School, Hong Kong.

‘They all enjoyed themselves and you were able to encourage even the quietest ones. We did a follow-up the next day by popular demand.’
Jane Aldred, Cavendish Secondary School, Eastbourne.


‘Traditional oral tales are a powerful source of inspiration in the classroom, and can lead to children realizing their story responses in writing, music, painting, and drama.’

Teresa Grainger – Traditional Storytelling In the Primary Classrooms

School storytelling workshops and performances are designed not only to entertain but also to support development in reading, creative writing, imagination, visualization, and knowledge of story structure, and are an ideal way to implement the 2003 Government educational pronouncement on the need to develop listening and spoken skills.

Thematic and curriculum specific programs can help fulfill requirements for English Key Stages 1 and 2 and can be adapted for Key Stages 3 and 4. They are especially effective in stimulating discussion about the nature of oral traditions and their roles in literature, drama, and the wider fabric of society – family history, reminiscence, etc…

Dave teaching a Broomdance at Dover workshop on Gypsy music and dance


Teachers’ storytelling workshop.
Dave runs widely acclaimed workshops for teachers and librarians on the art and technique of storytelling (without the book!).

The workshops cover such things as finding the stories, recorded and literary resources, techniques for remembering the stories, performance (voice, eye contact, body language, etc.), types of performance, story beginnings and endings, what makes a good story? What makes a good storyteller? Storytelling and literacy.

British folktales – An Introduction
A look at the types of the folktale, and regional styles of telling, from around the British Isles, using Dave’s own, and archive, recordings of the cream of traditional British storytellers, many of whom are now dead.

Witchcraft and superstition in folktale and ballad
A history of witchcraft ancient and modern, ghosts, and things that go bump in the night, illustrated with archive folktale recordings, live telling and singing ballads.

Fairy lore and belief in the British Isles
A look at Fairy belief from the Western Isles of Scotland, Ireland, and down through England to Cornwall, illustrated with field recordings.

English Gypsy folktales, song, music and dance.
An introduction to Southern English Traveller culture through folktales/stories, songs(by and about travelers), instrumental music on melodeon, guitar, banjo, spoons, bones, harmonica, tambourine, whistle, also Broom-dancing.

Teachers’ notes are available, if required, on storytelling and literacy. The teacher’s pack was prepared by Dave as part of the course material for his Storytelling and Literacy course for teachers, run by the Education Department of the Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells.
Printed notes and costume designs are also available for school Mumming Plays, Dancing Dolls, and Broom Dancing.