Wednesday, 18 November 2015


Just posting here the media release for my next storytelling show, at No.28 in Belper on December 5th.


A Storytelling Drama by Marty Ross
No. 28, Market Square, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 1FZ.

Saturday 5 December 7.30pm. Tickets £7 / £5 concession.

Storyteller MARTY ROSS (BBC Radio drama; Doctor Who & Dark Shadows audio drama) returns to Belper with his latest dramatic performance, a very modern version of a classic folk tale from his native Scotland, with all the mix of magic, poetry and eerie romance that implies.

Marty Ross has become a regular performer at Belper's No. 28 Arts Centre with shows such as The Blackwater Bride, 21st Century Poe & Blood And Stone. For his latest show, he returns to the folklore and fairy tale tradition of his native Scotland, drawing inspiration from a legend of the Solway coast between South West Scotland and North West England, the tale of 'the Haunted Ships', lying sunken out in the deep waters and haunted specifically both by ghosts and by fairies – not the twee, cute butterfly winged fairies of Victorian sentimentality, but the fierce and seductive and sometimes downright frightening fairies of Scots / Irish folklore.

The original story concerns a Laird and his wife, the fairies trying to tempt the wife off into their undersea kingdom. But Ross is a storytelling 'modernist', always keen to move the resurgent art of storytelling away from being too quaint and olde worlde... and so in his version of the story our central characters are a very modern couple, David and Jenny who've made some serious money with an internet business and have channelled that money into refurbishing a house on the Galloway cliffs. But the marriage has its problems and when a handsome young sculptor, named Finn, who may have a connection to the 'otherworld' of the Haunted Ships, charms Jenny, the scene is set for a climax of drama and terror and magic.

MARTY ROSS is well established as a playwright, particularly with radio drama for the BBC, including The Darker Side Of The Border, Ghost Zone, Catch My Breath, My Blue Piano, Rough Magick, Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk, Moyamensing and The Dead Of Fenwick Moor. He has also written two Doctor Who audio dramas and the award-nominated Dark Shadows: Dress Me In Dark Dreams. Redder Than Roses and The Woman On The Bridge were commissioned for and performed at the Buxton Festival. Crooker's Kingdom was performed this Halloween at Cromford Mill. Shortly to be produced is Romeo & Julian, commissioned by Amazon Audible.

As a storyteller he has performed successfully at the likes of the Edinburgh Fringe, London Horror Festival and Glasgow Southside Fringe. He regularly performs in the East Midlands, where he currently lives, with regular shows at No. 28 in Belper and Chilwell Arts Theatre in Nottingham. Shows have included 21st Century Poe, The Blackwater Bride, Ghosts Of Christmas Past, The Strange Tale Of The Glasgow Golem, Blood And Stone & The Gorbals Vampire.

Thursday, 12 November 2015


As promised, here's a little more detail on my next storytelling show, which is being performed at my regular performance haunt of No. 28 in the Market Square, Belper, Derbyshire. This is THE BALLAD OF THE DRIFTWOOD MERMAID.

This is my contemporary version of one of the classic Scottish folk tales, that of The Haunted Ships, as first collected - so far as I'm aware - in Allan Cunningham's "Traditional Tales Of The English And Scottish Peasantry" in the early 19th. century. The tale is native to the Scottish borders, to the area of the Solway Firth, that great sweep of water between South West Scotland and North West England. I've always felt a strong connection to that area - my Dad's boss used to have an upmarket log cabin in the area and we would go there for weekends away. Years later, it was in that selfsame log cabin that I had my honeymoon!

My version is set on the very edge of the Solway, at the tip of the Mull of Galloway (the same region where that other classic Scots horror tale, The Wicker Man, was filmed.) and is very definitely set in contemporary times. In the original, the fairies who haunt the Haunted Ships out in the Solway get their eye on the wife of a country Laird and try to tempt her from her husband into their underwater kingdom. The Laird does what he can to stop this happening... but the story comes to a rather abrupt end when the ghosts / fairies come up with a cunning plan to steal her away that is never actually put into practice. I decided, therefore, in my version to not only update the story to a contemporary setting but to develop the plot further - though of course I don't want to give too much away at this stage!

Anyway, in my story Jenny and David, making a fresh start after some marital difficulties in Glasgow, make a fresh start in a state of the art house they've had built on the Galloway cliffs. But they aren't quite over the problems with their marriage, these difficulties compounded when Jenny gets closer to Finn, a young fisherman who makes a hobby of carving extraordinary beautiful sculptures out of driftwood. And out among the great heap of sunken ships not far off the coast, the ghosts and the fairies are still covetous of human beauty....

The show was performed at the London Horror Festival where one wag said it was like "Scots folk tale meets H. P. Lovecraft" and maybe there's something in that. Certainly it's intended, for all its modern setting, to have the rich mix of romance and spookiness, beauty and the uncanny, that typifies the greatest folk tales.

The show is at 7.30pm on Dec 5th at No. 28 Market Square, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 1FZ. Tickets are £7 full price & £5 concession. More details on the poster above.


Hi, full post to follow on the subject, but in the meantime here's the poster for my next storytelling show, which is THE BALLAD OF THE DRIFTWOOD MERMAID at my familiar haunt of the No.28 arts centre in Belper Market Square on Dec 5th. It's my radical contemporary reinvention of the classic Scots border folk tale of The Haunted Ships. Details of booking etc. are on the poster anyway....

LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK back on BBC Radio 4 12.11.15 at 2.15pm

Hi just a quick post to let you know that my radio play LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK, adapted from the story by Nikolai Leskov is back on Radio 4 today at 2.15pm (and available through iPlayer / BBC website etc for a full month thereafter) and to post links to my two previous MAKING OF posts, which are here....