Kilbarchan: Anne Pitcher aims to revive the art of storytelling

A KILBARCHAN grandmother wants to revive the ancient art of storytelling in the village of Renfrewshire.

Anne Pitcher, 67, and her brother Andy Shanks, 64, performed their personal story “Tales of Land and Sea: From the Smuggler’s Coast to the Ancient Hand-Weaving Village” for locals earlier this this month.

The show told the story of the communities of Kilbarchan and Johnshaven, on the northeast coast of Scotland, where Andy lives, through the stories of those who lived there.

Anne, who is a professional storyteller, said it was the first live event in the village for two years and was commissioned as part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival.

More than 25 people attended the show at the Old Kilbarchan Library Center.

Anne said: “It went so well. Everyone appreciated it. Many had never attended a storytelling event before.

“There was a mix of people who were all interested in stories about Kilbarchan.”

Anne will be hosting another storytelling event – Tales of Kilbarchan and Trees on the Way – in the village this Sunday.

It takes place from 2 p.m. at the old Kilbarchan station, next to the Sustrans cycle path, and is free.

For 40 years, Anne has lived with her husband in the former village police station.

She is one of nine people working in the field for Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, a charitable initiative aimed at telling and preserving the traditional stories of ancient communities.

Anne, who has two grown sons, is also listed in Scotland’s Traditional Arts and Culture Directory.

The former kindergarten teacher says none of the tales she performs live is written but, on the contrary, is part of a rich tradition of oral storytelling.

Anne added, “I don’t read a book, they are all told orally. Every story in Tales of Land and Sea has been researched by Andy and me.

“I have been a professional storyteller for 12 years. It is important that we keep alive this tradition of telling stories through words and songs.

Dora W. Clawson