Crystal Palace – Overground Festival

This week we took the StoryPlaces show in the road for the last time, with a stall in the storytelling area of the Crystal Palace Overground Festival. A few months ago we ran a workshop for local and digital writers at the Upper Norwood Library Hub, and four of our authors produced final stories that we have made available through the StoryPlaces reader and launched to the public at the Festival.

We also worked with Katie Lyons to produce a larger experience which we launched alongside our other stories. Her work can be read in full as ‘Fallen Branches’ a multi-threaded tale of Crystal Palace Park past and present, or in part as ‘The Last Letter’, a correspondence between two ill-matched lovers in the shadow of the Great War.

As usual we produced a flyer of the for the stories, shown below, and you can read them all on the StoryPlaces reader:


All of our authors had access to our new authoring tool and the writers toolkit of guidance, and this seems to have made a significant difference, with a greater use of both topography and narrative logic. For example, we have plotted out Fallen Branches, shown below, and it takes the form of a linear sequence of core story pages that tells the story of a contemporary women returning to Crystal Palace to fulfil her Father’s deathbed wishes, with optional contextual pages appearing in the landscape around the reader represent the correspondence from the past, that sheds light of some of the heirlooms that her Father has given her to return.

At a certain point the reader has the option to explore a side-story (called ‘The Bones of Time’) that takes them into a different area of the park, and a different time in its history, to see what the Palace was like in its heyday.

Sculptural Structure of ‘Fallen Branches’, by Katie Lyons

The Overground Festival itself was an amazing experience, with over 28,000 visitors on the Saturday we were there. It was also a pleasure to be situated next to Julie Anderson, author of Reconquista, and host for the story tent, where we also ran a session of readings from our stories. It was a very hot Summers day, and so unsurprisingly convincing people to read the stories on the day was a hard sell, but we had a huge amount of interest from people, many of which are locals who regularly use the park, so we are hoping to get some good readings over the next few weeks.

A huge thank you to all the people who helped us with this stage of the project, including our amazing authors, Julie and the other people from the festival, Margaret and the staff of the Norwood Library Hub, and the volunteers of the Crystal Palace Museum for providing such inspiration for our authors.