Folk - Stanley Robertson

Stanley Robertson is a bit of an improviser. He has been telling stories and singing ballads for about 50 years and he has never prepared a set in his life, as he told Viva Lewes: “I never prepare, all the stories are inside me and I decide which ones to tell depending on my mood and the feel of the audience… I can pick from over 1,000 stories and 500 ballads.” His repertoire includes folk tales, supernatural tales, funny stories, tales of faith and love, Jack stories and tales of Traveller life. Born to a Traveller family, he was the twelfth child of 14, he had a hard but very loving childhood as part of a large extended family. “I had no formal education, so the oral tradition of telling stories was very important. ‘Jack stories’ played an important role in my upbringing as they were essentially morality tales. Jack always represents Jesus and he always conquers evil. He was very important to Traveller children because he defined the difference between good and evil and gave them a good grounding.” Supernatural stories are also a firm favourite.

Stanley’s storytelling expertise developed while he worked in the dockside fishing industry in Aberdeen, performing in his spare time. He also taught himself to read and write and now leads workshops in creative writing and lectures at Aberdeen University. He is inspirational and great to listen to: “So far I’m the only person at Aberdeen University to get a standing ovation, which is nay bad”. KA

Stanley Robertson: portrait of the artist as a young balladeer

Upstairs at The Royal Oak, Station Street, Lewes
When? 8pm
How Much? £4.50
The Royal Oak
(w) Website