Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cross-cultural storytelling launch

An exciting new storytelling project is developing between the Ourimbah Campus Library and the Gibalee Centre at the Uni of Newcastle.
For several years, the Library has taken part in Open Day at the Campus with Library tours and storytelling. Annie Vanderwyk from the Gibalee Centre was interested in building on the storytelling by broadening it's scope and giving it a campus focus.
Thus was The Cross-cultural storytelling project born, where a region that is represented in the international student cohort is chosen as the focus for stories, and the tales are interpreted by Aboriginal performers/dancers from the local community.
For Open Day 2008, August 23, stories from Australia and Africa were selected and given new life by a group of talented young dancers with connections to the Uni.
This was the first time I had collaborated with anyone in my storytelling, and I found the process both challenging and very rewarding. I formalised my telling style much more than I normally do, and found that I needed to stick very close to the original telling as we'd rehearsed it, so that the performers knew where they were up to in the story. Being able to respond to the audience wasn't as easy, and meant that story couldn't be adapted on the fly to suit the particular group of listeners.
However, each performance brought new life to the stories, and the audience responded very positively to it. We will certainly continue the project in November with Kids Day Out.

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