Interview with Award Winning Storyteller Michael Harvey


Michael Harvey is widely acknowledged as one of the UK’s leading contemporary storytellers. He appears regularly at major international festivals in Britain, Europe, North and South America. His storytelling has been described as “mesmerising” by the Sunday Times and he is a recent recipient of the Welsh Arts Council’s prestigious Creative Wales award.

On Sunday 24th September Michael Harvey is performing an Adverse Camber Production 'Dreaming the Night Field' alongside two musicians with Settle Stories at the Joinery.

We were intrigued to know more about Michael and caught up with him pre his visit.


Q: Michael, how did it all begin? Tell us about your childhood.

A: I was brought up in Scotland with lots of playing and exploring in the landscape. For many years I thought that the Broons and Oor Wullie were real people. Billy Connoly was a childhood hero for saying the words we only thought.

Q: What happened when you finished school?

A: I really always knew that I was not cut out for a proper job and volunteered in the Midland Arts Centre. I was able to blag my way into an admin post with a small scale touring theatre company. I then started performing with them when they wanted to do a street show and I was the only one who could do a cartwheel. Blundered bravely forth from there!

Q: Have you been doing the same job for a number of years, had a variety of different jobs, any unusual jobs, worst / best job.

A: Lots of workshop leading for theatre companies, the Fool Time Circus School in Bristol (now defunct), teaching Welsh to adults and lecturing and then stumbled upon storytelling in my early thirties and that was that!

Q: What are your significant achievements, things you’re most proud of or pivotal life moments? 

A: Seeing the French storyteller Abbi Patrix at the first Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival and knowing that was what I had to do.

Working with Adverse Camber.

Winning a Major Creative Wales Award.

Meeting Norman Wisdom in a lift (twice).

Q: Tell us about anyone or anything – literature, music, art, comedy, film or TV that you love and tell us why

A:  I was a teenager in 1977 so the music was amazing but I was up a hill in  Perthshire at the time so the chances to see it were limited.

Great music in no particular order… Nina Simone, Lightning Hopkins, Llio Rhydderch, the Kronos Quartet, Arvo Pärt, Karma (Breton band), Sonny Boy Williamson, my colleagues in Dreaming the Night Field, A Filetta, Maria Bethania…

Words… Waldo, Catullus, early Welsh poetry (song of Taliesin, song of the soul from Black Book of Carmarthen, Llywarch Hen), Gwerful Mechain, Penelope Lively, Primo Levi, the Mabinogion (of course), e.e. cummings, Mary Oliver.

Chaplin, Keaton, George Carl!

Don't miss Michael perform in Dreaming the Night Field. He'll be joined by two musicians and will be perfoming on Sunday 24th September.