Peter Stevenson is a storyteller, children's writer, book illustrator, folklorist, purveyor of Magical Lantern Shows, concertina and banjo player, organiser of the annual 3 day Aberystwyth Storytelling Festival and Y Mabinogi Project in collaboration with Aberystwyth Arts Centre, and runs Stories by Gaslight, a storytelling club that encourages collaborations with visual artists, musicians, dancers, puppeteers. He has illustrated, compiled and written many children's books, travelled the country with storytelling shows for adults that use hundreds of projected illustrations and live music, has just finished collecting and writing The Ceredigion Folk Tales for the History Press, and tramps the roads with mud on his boots and his head in the clouds.
Peter is an associate partner with Aberystwyth Arts Centre.
Photos; Matthew Cowan
Born in Lancashire but lived in Wales for most of his life,
Peter studied illustration at Manchester Art College, and went on to research folk drama and folk tale as a postgraduate in the Institute for Dialect and Folklife Studies at Leeds University, intrigued by the way words and images weave together, whether as an illustrator complimenting the words of an old folk tale or contemporary story, or as a storyteller describing the paintings in his head to the minds of a gathered audience.
He has illustrated, written and compiled children's books and fairy tales for publishers such as Ladybird, Hodder & Stoughton, JM Dent, the National Trust, the History Press, Grund, Fernleigh, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, Ward Lock, Collins, Kingfisher and many more. He has illustrated books by Edna O'Brien, JM Barrie, Jeremy Strong,
As a storyteller he has told tales in church crypts, village halls, the hulls of trawlers, in Greek tavernas, grand theatres, in inglenooks, underground sewers, cafes, art galleries, working men's clubs, kitchen tables, leaking tents in hailstorms, and most recently in an inspiring allotment. He tours several storytelling shows, working with talented young musicians Ailsa Mair Hughes, Ceri Owen-Jones, Elsa Davies and Pixy Tom Owen. He has performed at Beyond the Border Storytelling Festival, Arts Centres and Theatres and Cinemas across Wales and the Borders, and the Centre for Engaged Storytelling in New York. The current show tells of encounters with the dark Otherworld of west Wales, the lost fairy tales and folk songs collected by Myra Evans of Ceinewydd a hundred years ago. This has recently been recorded as a double cd, produced by Ceri Rhys Matthews.
Peter has lived in Aberystwyth for the last twenty years where he is frequently seen walking the old Welsh tramping roads with a pack on his back, a sketchbook in his pocket, a story on his lips, his head in the clouds and his feet in the mud. Drivers rarely stop to chat, unlike the pied wagtails who always do.
He was once awarded the Children's Book of the Month in Wagga Wagga, Australia.
Photo; Maria Hayes