What She Does…
Ursula crafts traditional stories with an impish wit and bags of expression that are founded on a life – long love of folklore and fairy tale. However, she excels and specialises in telling the tales of everyday; real and relevant life affirming stories that boldly confront the challenges bamboozling us all with savvy spirit, street wise sensitivity and a fist full of urban charm.
A home bird at heart, Ursula is as happy performing in local pubs, folk clubs and cafes as she is on national theatre and festival stages. She regularly visits schools, museums and libraries across the north of England and this year alone has appeared in a good few parks, orchards, hospitals, church halls and tents. Also in a yurt, on a boat, a couple of cobbled streets and in a prison. Her fees are competitively favourable but are further negotiable for community groups with a limited budget; especially those with a charitable cause.
A long standing member of The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids with a keen interest in tree and plant lore and her regional folk history, Ursula further leads story walks for Forest Schools, The Woodcraft Folk, The National Trust, The Ted Hughes Elmet Trust and The RSPB. She also curates a number of seasonal ghost walks for The Bronte Parsonage Museum, The English Heritage, Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, The Halifax Piece Hall & The Burnley Literature Festival.
To date, in 2017 Ursula has captivated audiences on / at:
Action for Children, BBC Radio 4, Blackshaw Head Fete, Bridgewater Hall Manchester, Bronte Parsonage, Bromsgrove Folk Festival, Bromyard Folk Festival, Calderdale’s Great Pumpkin Festival, Calderdale Women’s Centre, Cast Theatre Doncaster, Chippenham Folk Festival, Commoners Choir CD Launch, Dartmoor Folk Festival, Fixby Hall Museum, Gate to Southwell Folk Festival, ITV, Halifax Piece Hall, Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, Heptonstall Festival, Holmfirth Folk Festival, Leeds City Library, Lowry Theatre Manchester, Manchester Jazz Festival, Musicport Festival, Nottingham Storytelling Club, Oldham Literature Festival, Opera North, Settle Stories, Seven Stories National Storytelling Museum, Sheffield Girls High School, Sheffield Storytelling Club, Sidmouth Folk Week, Social Services, Ulster Museum & Warwick Folk Festival….
Storytelling has been an important element of Chippenham Folk Festival for many years now & many well known artists have appeared there. None more so than Ursula Holden – Gill who seems to cover every aspect of the spoken word and more. The children love her pixie – esque tales which leave them open mouthed in delight, but even better, is her ability to weave stories into full scale performances for adults. This is what she excels in. She has been a mainstay of the festival for six years and is a firm favourite: whatever age you are. (Bob Berry, Director of Chippenham Folk Festival, May 2017)