Pete Castle opted out of teaching to follow a career as a professional folk singer in 1978. For the first few years he restricted himself to folk clubs and festivals but then started working in schools and arts centres and a host of other venues. In the early 1980s Pete discovered storytelling and started dong the two in tandem, which he has done ever since. He can concentrate on either art form but enjoys combining the two and his ideal gig is one where he can do a casual mix of both—a song and a story on a similar theme; a story which introduces a song or vice versa… Pete’s song repertoire is almost entirely made up of traditional English songs. His story repertoire has those at the core but also includes shaggy dog stories, extended jokes and some stories from Europe. Pete sees himself as a ‘fireside teller’ in style. He doesn’t wear costume or use props or have programmes of stories formed into a unified set—that is too much like ‘theatre’. Pete would much rather just let one item lead to another almost at random and led by the audience reaction.
Pete was born and brought up in Ashford, Kent but has lived most of his adult life in the Midlands—the last 30 years in Derbyshire which he now considers home. He includes a lot of Derbyshire material. Over the years he has played and told all over the UK in just about any type of venue you can imagine with both adults and children. This has included folk and storytelling clubs and festivals, arts and literature festivals, libraries, village fetes, historical societies and story walks… He has occasionally worked abroad. One of his career highlights was being invited as ‘a cultural exemplar’ to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC but he’s just as happy telling stories to the local W.I.!
As well as performing, since 2001, Pete has edited Facts and Fiction storytelling magazine which is probably the only independent magazine dedicated to oral storytelling in the world! For info about it and examples of past articles see www.factsandfiction.co.uk
Pete’s website is www.petecastle.co.uk