Storyteller Fran O’Boyle at this year’s Eskdale festival

The Unbeatables from Lythe School performing at the Eskdale Festival of Arts last year.
The Unbeatables from Lythe School performing at the Eskdale Festival of Arts last year.

“From filleting fish on Whitby’s Quay to international storyteller,” is how Fran O’Boyle describes himself.

He returns to Eskdale School on Tuesday 1 March to run five workshops with primary and secondary students to mark the beginning of the Eskdale Festival of the Arts 2016.

Fran has performed at schools, festivals and museums all over the UK.

He has appeared at the The Orkney Storytelling Festival, The Festival at the Edge and he held a residency for Liverpool City Library.

His stories are a clever mix of folklore and anecdote and many of them have their origins in Saxon, Norse and Irish legend and myth.

The Spoken Word competition is being held on Wednesday 2 March and Thursday 3 March. This takes place in the Whitby Pavilion Spa Theatre.

Parents of competitors and the general public are welcome to watch the competitors for just £2. On Sunday 6 March at 12.30pm the Festival Committee have organised a Jazz Lunch in the Spa Cafeteria.

Admission is free and a number of local musicians will be performing as well as the Steve Johnson Jazz Band.

The Music Competition is being held on Monday 7 March, Tuesday 8 March and Wednesday 9 March and competitors perform in either the theatre or the Northern Lights Suite – again, admission is only £2.

The popular Band Competition, which was introduced last year, is being held on the afternoon of Saturday 12 March and admission is £2.

The Festival culminates in The Boyes Gala Concert on Saturday 12 March at 6.30pm in the Northern Lights Suite – admission £6.

Chairman of the Festival, Dave Bradley, believes that this annual event was started by Miss S B Yeoman and Misses Charlotte and May Yeoman of Sleights in 1903.

Mr Bradley said: “At that time it was called The Eskdale Tournament of Song and involved local choirs who performed at the Temperance Hall (now the Coliseum). Now the Festival involves a variety of ensembles, soloists, speakers and some drama.

“It is very fitting that since 1994 the Festival Committee has organised a National Choir Day and this year it will be held on Saturday 9 April.

“We have managed to attract 10 choirs from all over the North of England and I really hope that we will be well supported – admission is £10 for the afternoon and evening.”