Wednesday, March 26, 2008

St Patrick's Day storytelling

With a bunch of fellow storytellers from the Australian Storytelling Guild, I enjoyed a great day on February 16 at the National Trust property Vienna Cottage, at Hunter's Hill.

Being the day before St Patrick's Day, the theme was obviously Irish stories, and some great tales were told, incorporating humour, tragedy, rollicking yarns and interactive tales. I shared two string stories with a healthy audience of young children and their parents, then was able to listen to other tellers weave there magic.

My hubby Glenn came along, and being the tallest one amongst us all, was soon put to use constructing screens and backdrops. My daughter and her friend were "volunteered" as honorary Leprechaun's and soon got into the spirit of things, dancing jigs and speaking to young children with an irish lilt.

In a day of great variety and highly skilled tellers, the highlight for me was Reilly's storytelling debut. Her version of 'The selkie' was incredibly moving and evocative. What a brave choice for her first publicly-told story.

Days like this one convince me of the need to involve myself more in Guild activities. There is a danger in doing my PhD of becoming very isolated and introspective, which is hardly healthy for a storyteller.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Challenge Ranch

It's been a busy week for storytelling.
On Monday evening I went up to the beautiful Challenge Ranch at Somersby to share stories with a very attentive group of 6th graders. 58 children from a Catholic school in northern Sydney were the perfect audience as we cracked codes, laughed at eccentric tailors, cried over Mongolian tragedies and marvelled at the brazen audacity of a cheeky cook who tricked her boss and his gullible guest.
The Mongolian story is a new one in my repertoire, and is one of the most challenging ones I tell. It is long and involved, but is also heart-breakingly sad at one point. The challenge in telling it comes with seeing children in front of you crying (at one school, a boy in front of me with tears pouring down his face), or even worse, when the adults in the audience are crying. I then have to swallow the lump in my own throat, and complete the tale. I have asked an audience of kids if they thought the story was too sad to tell, and 2 girls gave me a great reply: "Somtimes it's good to have a really good cry, and besides, the ending is so good."
I now end the story with traditional Mongolian music, which completes the story beautifully.

Tonight is my turn on the radio program "The Bridge."
I will be on between 9 - 10pm, talking about my experiences as a storyteller, and a student of storytelling.
The program is streamed live on

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Radio program

I have been invited to take part in the Storytelling Guild's new venture into community radio.
My fellow storyteller (and back-up extraordinaire when I can't make a booked gig) will be first cab off the rank tonight.
The link for Coast FM 96.3 is

and you can listen live from your computer.

My session will be Friday 29th Feb.