Matlock Storytelling Cafe first opened its doors in 2003, settling into its current home at The Imperial Rooms in 2010. Our aim is to bring a wide range of stories and tellers to our increasingly experienced (and discerning!) audience. We also provide food, drinks, candlelight and a very warm welcome, especially to newcomers.

Shows are provided by guest performers every other month – we bring the best in the business, and are always looking out for new talent. They come from near (Buxton, Derby, Staffordshire) and far (The USA, Australia and Sierra Leone in recent years) – we’ve shared some wild, exotic journeys…

In the alternate months, our fabulous resident storytellers tell the tales, drawing on their vast and ever expanding repertoire to make sure that you can always find top quality performances at the café. We also see it as part of our job to encourage new tellers, and offer floor spots to new and emerging talent. Also, look out for our special nights – they usually happen around Christmas but sometimes sneak their way into the programme at any old time.

Our current residents include:


Helen Appleton

Helen only started performing in 2006, but has always loved stories. Whether they are Traditional, made up or simply about how your Gran got her first job.
She loves the way that they are emotive, constantly shifting from time to time and teller to teller. How they can often hold universal truths and have a magical quality of bringing people together. Believing that they contain a wealth of ingredients from which we can enrich our lives.
So it is because of this, she can be found at (MSTC) in schools at gatherings, or simply wandering about amongst the woods and hedgerows, armed with little more than a wooden spoon and a big gob. Stirring up her story stew-pot. With myths, legends, traditional tales and folklore, and of course... relish.


    Rachel Murray

    Rachel Murray has been telling stories for years to anyone who'll listen. She is passionate about the power of stories and their ability to connect people to their timeless selves. Her stories can transport audiences from jungles to deserts and from castles to the hearth side. She has an engaging and energetic delivery style that fires the imagination and paints pictures in your mind.

    Rachel has told stories in schools, tents, libraries, museums and even at a Master Composters Conference. She's told tales to children and adult audiences and all the other possible demographic groups imaginable and firmly believes that you're never too old for a story.


      Mike Payton

      Mike has been telling tall tales all his life, and decided to try to make a living out of it in 2008. He was Lancastrian born, but is now based in Nottingham, and he has travelled the highways and byways of England seeking out new audiences. His delivery is warm and engaging, and he has a penchant for the strange and unexplainable. He worked as an English teacher in Mexico from 2004-2008 and found that storytelling was an incredibly powerful teaching tool in this country with a proud oral culture from which he has drawn many magical Mexican stories. He has been a resident storyteller with The Matlock Storytelling Café since 2009, was the winner of the Black Country Story Slam in 2010, and in 2011 he was invited by the Society for Storytelling to perform at their annual gathering.



        I came to storytelling in 2011 and saw Mike Payton doing a show in Nottingham. He told me about Matlock Storytelling Cafe, "I came"...."I saw".... "I was captivated".... and so began my association Matlock Storytelling Cafe. My ambition and constant striving is "To Tell Good Stories Well".