Sage Storytelling Workshop

1st October 2016, 11am – 4pm, at MESMAC (Leeds)

“To celebrate International Day of Older People this workshop will offer a chance for older LGBT people to come together and participate in this workshop led by Matthew Bellwood.

The session is for anyone who wants to have a go at creative writing and/or storytelling, this may be something you have done before or you may be new to this kind of workshop, everyone will be welcomed and included.

At the start of the day the group can discuss what everyone wants from the time together and how Matthew can help people express their creativity using spoken and/or written storytelling. People can work together or alone on a project and there will be no pressure to have an end product or to share your writing/stories, but if people want to do that we can share the stories during the day and afterwards through the Sage project. The main aim is to have an enjoyable day together.

The workshop is free and lunch will be provided (it will be suitable for vegetarians and vegans), please let Jude know when you book on if you have any other specific dietary needs or any other access questions.

The workshop will be at MESMAC:   22/23 Blayds Yard, Leeds, LS1 4AD

MESMAC has good access but the entrance does not have a good drop off point for those who need time to enter the building, this is not a problem if we have advance notice of arrival so we can provide assistance to enable you a safe and less stressful entrance, once you are in the building it is has good wheelchair accessibility, please get in touch if you have any questions about access.”

Contact Jude Woods to book a place:   

Mobile: 07736151 895
Landline: 0113 244 4209
Email: j.woods [at]

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The Hairy Toe

29th October at Headingley Heart

A set of creepy creatures and macabre monsters are brought to life for Halloween by storyteller Matthew Bellwood. These strange and spooky stories feature a man-eating monster, an iron giant and an encounter with DEATH himself …

Matthew will also be running a monster-making workshop prior to the show. This will be a chance to create a Halloween creature that will feature in one of the evening’s stories.

Ticket price includes 10% discount in the HEART cafe during this event.

2pm – 4pm Monster Making Workshop
5pm – 7.00pm Performance

Workshop open to all. Performance suitable for ages 7+

£3 for children (under 16)
£5 adults
Family of 4 ticket (2 adults 2 children) £14

Click here for tickets

The Unquiet Dead - Matthew Bellwood - Brighton Fringe 2012


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Sea Fever

15th October at Headingley Heart

Are you a secret sea shanty singer? Despair no longer come and join us for Sea Fever – where well known Leeds storyteller/performer Matthew Bellwood brings to life a raft of tales inspired by the sea.

Featuring cross-dressing cabin boys, giant sea serpents, underwater tunnels and mermaids aplenty. A voyage to the bottom of the deepest ocean from the comfort of the HEART Café.

6:00pm – 7:00pm Sea Shanty Workshop (learn and sing some sea-songs and shanties with Matthew prior to the show)

Break for food/drink available in the cafe (not included in ticket price)

8:00pm – 9:30pm Performance (Matthew will tell stories that include the workshopped shanties)

Click here to book


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(The Story Is Not) Set In Stone

10th and 11th September at Sunny Bank Mills


I wanted to let you all know about an event that I’m part of on the 10th and 11th of September. It’s called (The Story is Not) Set in Stone and is a theatre piece about stories and storytelling. I’m once again working with the lovely Alison Andrews and, on this occasion, about 200 miniature books. We’ve performed the show at various venues around the country over the course of the last year and we’re going to be doing some special performances at Sunny Banks Mills in Farsley, (LS28 for those unfamiliar) as part of the Mill’s Heritage Open Weekend. The mill itself is an amazing place and well worth having a look at.

We’ll also be launching a new project – a colouring book for Farsley – which I’ve made together with Alison, photographer Lizzie Coombes and Graphic Designer Amy Levene. The books are free to anyone who comes along to the show.

(The Story is Not) Set In Stone is a tabletop piece and has a limited capacity, so if you do fancy coming along, then you’ll need to book a ticket in advance via eventbrite. You can do that by clicking here.


12.30pm Saturday 10th Sept
3pm Saturday 10th Sept
2.30pm Sunday 11th Sept

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An Icy Man at Vault Festival

There’s some upcoming performances of a show I’ve made called An Icy Man. I made it with the support of West Yorkshire Playhouse, and I’m going to be performing it as part of Vault Festival in London.

It’s a storytelling show, in which the audience gathers around a miniature model of a
snowbound village. It draws on northern folklore, myths and legends but I think at heart it’s kind of ghost story.

The show is on at 9:15pm from Wednesday 25th to Sunday the 1st and there are matinee
performances on the weekend at 4:45pm.

There’s some more information about the show on the festival website here. There’s also information about how to book.

I think it’s a lovely show and I’d be really pleased if you’d like to come along.

Here is what some people have said about it:

…saw Matthew Bellwood perform An Icy Man & it was intricate, a bit creepy, romantic and melancholy, and loved theatre all over again

” An Icy Man – wonderful, magical, moving. I haven’t been so absorbed in a performance for a long time

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Winter warmers

Hello All,

Hope this finds you well. Just wanted to let you know about some things I’ll be doing over the next few weeks, which may or may not be of interest.

First of all …

The Unquiet Dead

I’ll be telling some ghost stories this Friday at the Fauconberg Arms in Coxwold, North Yorkshire. It’s a beautiful 17th century country inn which is reputed to be haunted.

The set will include Lost Hearts – M.R.James’s grisly account of black magic in the Midlands; The Shadow – Edith Nesbitt’s haunting saga of thwarted love and Lucy Clifford’s The New Mother – possibly the world’s most brutal children’s story. I’ll also be singing some traditional English ghost ballads.

It’s a pay what you want performance and will start at around 8pm. You can check out the venue online here:

The following week, I’ll be performing there again, this time with …

An Icy Man

An Icy Man is a storytelling show about the cold. On a winter’s night, a woman goes out walking in the snow and encounters a stranger in a frozen field. The next morning she wakes up and finds that everything has changed…

It’s an intimate storytelling experience performed around a table. Each performance is for 17 people, who gather round a model of a snowbound village.

 “…saw Matthew Bellwood perform An Icy Man & it was intricate, a bit creepy, romantic and melancholy, and loved theatre all over again.” @maddydeliqette

Where: The Fauconberg Arms
When: Thursday 7th November 2013, Friday 8th November 2013 (performances at 7pm and 9pm)
Tickets: £10

And finally …


This is a story-gathering project that I’m working on with the brilliant Alison Andrews. We’re working with seven different groups of people from all over Leeds, to create a series of maps of the city. We’ll be creating an exhibition, which is based around the work in Leeds Central Library in March of next year, but in the meantime, we have just launched a rather beautiful website to support and document the project as it happens. It’d be lovely if you fancied having a look.

Matthew x

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The Story is Not Set in Stone

Hello All

I just wanted to let you know about a performance I’ll be doing at The Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds this week.

The show is called The Story is Not Set in Stone and I’ve been working on it in collaboration with the fabulous Alison Andrews. We showed an early version of it at Theatre in the Mill back in November and we’ve been working on it again over the last couple of weeks.

The Story Is Not Set In Stone
Alison Andrews and Matthew Bellwood (in association with Carriageworks Theatre)

Matthew and Alison are trapped in a library. They have written themselves into a corner and they are trying to get out. Rather like Oedipus at the cross roads, they are wondering which way to go; how to avoid bringing destruction down upon themselves by making the wrong choice and taking the wrong road …

This is a show about stories and why we tell them. Do the tales we tell help us make sense of our lives, or do they stop us from moving forward?

Shows: Thursday 14th – Saturday 16th of March, 7.45pm

Tickets: £9 (£7 concessions) – Call 0113 224 3801 or visit

The show starts at 7:45pm, but the theatre bar will be open early for pre-show drinks and palm-reading.

Hope you can make it,

Matthew x

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Some ghost stories

Hello All,

Just wanted to let you know about some things I’ll be doing over the next few weeks, that may be of interest. Basically, this Autumn is all about ghost stories …

An Icy Man

Saturday 27th October 2012

This Saturday, I’ll be taking part in Furnace – a weekend of new work and work in progress at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. I’ll be presenting a short extract from An Icy Man – new storytelling piece.

“On a winter’s night, a woman goes out walking in the snow and encounters a stranger in a frozen field. The next morning, she wakes up and finds that everything has changed …”

This is an original story, told around a 3D model. I’ll be performing on the stage of The Courtyard Theatre and the capacity is limited to fifteen people per showing.

I’d describe the piece as a contemporary ghost story and I think it’s really adults only, I’ll be performing twice – once at 8:15pm and again at 8:45pm and tickets will be available from the Playhouse Box Office on the night. Each showing will last for around 15 minutes.  There are lots of other things happening throughout the day and there’s more info about it all on the furnace section of the Playhouse website.

Shadows in the Ridge

Wednesday 31st October 2012

This Halloween between the trees, beside the fire, there is a tale to be heard. The shadows may be dancing but the warning is clear. A new mother is coming and so you’d best all behave …

All Hallow’s Eve will be marked with a one-off shadow-puppet storytelling musical event. Meet your guide on the Delph Lane entrance to Woodhouse Ridge on Wednesday 31st October at 8.30pm prompt. Late comers will be left behind …

This will be an interactive telling of an old Victorian children’s story – complete with live music and a roaring fire. All ages are welcome and the event is free of charge.

The Unquiet Dead

1st and 2nd of November 2012

I’ll be performing my show The Unquiet Dead, Upstairs at The Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds’ Millennium Square next Thursday and Friday (1st and 2nd of November). This is a collection of late Victorian and early Edwardian ghost stories, featuring such classics as Lost Hearts – M.R.James’s grisly account of black magic in the Midlands and The Shadow – Edith Nesbitt’s haunting saga of thwarted love.

I’ll also be singing some traditional English ghost ballads.

The show starts at 7:45pm and lasts for approximately 80 minutes.

Tickets are priced at £9/£7 concessions and can be booked online from The Carriageworks website at or by phone on (0113) 224 3801

I reckon these will all be fantastic, but then I am naturally somewhat biased. 🙂 Would be great to see you at some or all of them.

Big up,

Matthew x

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Belated Blogging

This is very belated, but here’s a little blog I wrote for the fantastic East Leeds FM about the work I did as part of their Writing on Air festival back in June.

And here are some links to the programmes mentioned in it.

 The Seven Seas: A Storytelling Cabaret

Austhorpe Primary

Harehills Primary

John Smeaton Community College

(BTW, apologies for the sound skipping in the second half of The Seven Seas programme. I have flagged it up, but apparently it’s something that happened on several of the shows that were broadcast on that day and isn’t really fixable).

On the subject of ELFM, I also contributed to this edition of Word Salad on Sunday the 05th of August.

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An Icy Man

West Yorkshire Playhouse were kind enough to offer me some rehearsal space last month  and I spent three days there, working on a NEW SHOW. This is the first new solo piece I’ve put together for a while that is entirely based on my own material. An Icy Man is a storytelling piece about the cold. On a winter’s night, a woman goes out walking in the snow and encounters a stranger in a frozen field. The next morning, she wakes up and finds that everything has changed …

It’s story that draws on Northern folklore and myths and legends about ice and snow. In developing the piece, I’m really interested in ways of telling that bring the teller and the audience closer together and I’ve been working with a set of cardboard models and miniatures of the place where the story is taking place.

The Playhouse have kindly offered me a slot on the 27th of October to showcase an extract of the piece. This will be part of Furnace, the Playhouse’s ongoing new work development programme.

I was also asked to perform a reading of the first 15 minutes of the piece as part of ELFM’s Writing on Air festival. This was in partnership with Emerge, a Leeds-based artist development programme created by The Carriageworks Theatre, Seven Arts, Red Ladder and PLaY. There’s also a short chat afterwards with the lovely Peter Spafford about how the piece might develop, and you can have a listen to the whole thing here:

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