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Tall tales at the Everyman

Brian Patten had the idea for The Story Giant as he walked across Dartmoor in Devon.

But he reveals the original inspiration for the tale - adapted for the stage and part of the Everyman's new Rep season - actually came from much closer to home. His childhood home.

The REAL story giant was a refugee from Hitler's Germany.

"She was called Freda and she was my story giant," explains the 71-year-old poet and performer. "She lived five doors down in Wavertree. And she had a book-lined room, which was very unusual in the terraces in the place I lived.

"I took my comics there when I was a kid, the ones with lots of writing, because I couldn't read them.

"And then I remember she read me the story of Rip van Winkle."

Freda, and the street in Wavertree, may be long gone, but The Story Giant - published in 2001, remains very much alive and now the boook is being brought to a fresh audience through this new stage adaptation by Lindsay Rodden that opened at the Everyman last night.

Brian Patten

It tells of a giant who has collected every story in the world - except one elusive tale. And if he doesn't find it, his castle will crumble, he will die, and all the stories will die with him.

So he enlists the help of four children to go out and find this final piece of his storytelling jigsaw.

Brian, whose first play The Pig and the Junkle was staged at the old Ev (giving an early role to Julie Walters who played an elephant), was due to watch The Story Giant last night.

"I think it's amazing," he says of the idea of bringing back a repertory company to the Hope Street theatre.

"People get to know each other's strength and weaknesses. It's a brave experiment but it's always been a very innovative company."

The Story Giant is at the Everyman until April 29. Tickets from the website HERE.

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