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Steve Wharton - Storytelling runs through everything that we do

“What are stories about other than making sense of our world?” - asks Steve Wharton during this interview on my podcast, in which he tells us about his career in the arts and transferring some of those skills to teaching. During this episode, he also shares how he got involved in Terry Abraham's documentary film 'Life of a Mountain - Helvellyn', how his confidence has developed throughout his career so far, and where he spends time for creative thinking. Whether you're sitting with your feet up, out on a long walk, relaxing in the bath, or cooking your tea, this will be a treat for your ears! If you’re considering a change in or out of the arts with your own career, make sure you listen to the very end, because Steve has a question for you to think about.

Photo by Terry Abraham
"Different people work in different ways, but for me, I have to really inhabit that world to get the most out of it."

For my ninth episode I interviewed Steve Wharton, a Lake District performer, presenter and media producer with a passion for his native Cumbria. Steve put himself forward as a guest on the show to tell us about why he decided to train as an early years teacher at the age of 43.

You might recognise Steve’s voice from Terry Abraham’s film that was aired on the BBC “A Year on Helvellyn” which I highly recommend watching if you haven’t already, or perhaps you’ll recognise him from his collaborative podcast “28 Dales Later” in which he tells fascinating stories about the landscapes and heritage of northern England.

During this episode, Sarah asks Steve:

  • Why did you decide to arrange a place on an Early Years Initial Teacher Training course?

  • What commitment does the course involve?

  • Has the course placement had much of an impact on your family life and creative projects?

  • Which direction would you like to see your career move towards from this point?

  • What sort of performing were you doing previously and can you imagine going back to that?

  • How do you make time for your creative work as a storyteller, musician and podcast host?

  • What is it that inspires your creative imagination?

  • Can you see these continuing and developing alongside your work as a teacher?

  • How did it come about that you featured in Terry Abraham’s documentary film?

  • What role does storytelling play in your life?

  • What place do you think it should hold in society, and to what extent do you think this is happening at the moment?

  • Is it a skill you are using in your teacher training course?

  • How did you become a storyteller?

  • How did you get your first gigs?

  • How has your confidence developed throughout your career?

  • Can you transfer that confidence over to your teacher training?

  • Have there been any particularly notable challenges that you’ve come across as a performer?

  • What changes would you like to see for performers, or for artists in general?

  • Can you share with us some of the projects that you’re working on at the moment?

  • Who do you want to reach and inspire through these projects?

  • How have the places you’ve lived and travelled influenced your work?

  • Where feels like home to you?

  • What is important to you when choosing a place to live and work?

  • Where do you spend time for creative thinking?

  • What question would you ask somebody who is thinking about a change in direction with their career, but is perhaps concerned about their creative talents getting left behind?

Tune in to this episode of About The Adventure Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, About The Adventure website, or click on this magic link to listen on your favourite app.

I think that this episode will be particularly valuable if you’re considering a change in or out of the arts with your own career, if you're interested in the art of storytelling, and if you enjoy Lake District history and folklore. It may also be useful for people who are thinking about a career in teaching, particularly in Early Years training.

Visit Steve's website Cumbrian Songs, check out the 28 Dales Later and Lyre Lyre podcasts as well as his latest album, which features songs written in 5 different countries.

​In 2021, Steve is directing At Home In The Steep Places, a biography of Maryport-born miner, climber and artist Bill Peascod. The film will feature landscapes of the English Lake District and Wollongong in Australia. This is a 28 Dales Later production for The Settlement at Castle Hill, Maryport. Visit the 28 Dales Later Facebook page for more details.

Follow Steve on Twitter: @28Dales and @lakestoryteller.

Please note that this episode was recorded remotely so may sound different to some other episodes.


Visit About The Adventure website to email Sarah, the podcast host, with your comments, questions or suggestions for future guests. Subscribe to Sarah's newsletter to receive episodes in your inbox, along with career change interviews and career coaching questions. If you enjoy my podcast I'd really appreciate it if you could please write a quick review on Apple podcasts or Podchaser, this will help me to reach more people.

Podcast music is by Tsarzi and podcast artwork by Tiffany-Francis Baker.


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