Mara Menzies: A Story of Identity

Perhaps because it is such a natural human impulse, storytelling has sometimes been overlooked as an art form. Yet we are content to take it for granted as a building block for films, plays and the written word. Mara Menzies is a performance storyteller whose cross-cultural upbringing gives her work a freshness and vitality that makes it perfect for audiences unfamiliar with watching storytelling on stage. Born and raised in Scotland, Menzies also has links to Kenya through her mother and her mixed heritage is central to her acclaimed project Blood and Gold which, according to the Guardian, she performed ‘with choreographic grace and a mesmerising delivery.’ A hit show at the Fringe in 2019, it was an exploration of the legacy of colonialism – a topic highly relevant in different ways both to Scotland and Kenya. Blood and Gold is now published in book form, and in this event, filmed live at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival, Menzies shares extracts from her performance and discusses the fascinating background to her project, inspired by the two countries which have forged her storytelling approach.

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