June Barnes-Rowley, known as JB, has always been a storyteller whether curled up in the hayshed telling stories to herself or sitting under a gum tree telling stories to her younger siblings. As a working storyteller JB has extensive experience in storytelling with children and adults in Australia and overseas.
Children respond immediately to her energetic and fun performances. JB uses colourful visuals such as fabric, puppets and ‘wishing paper’ to create wonderful worlds for young children who are also fascinated by her clapping sticks that stir sounds of the Dreamtime. Her performances for children focus on fun, action and interaction!
Adults are held spellbound by JB’s powerful performances of ancient legends. In 2009 JB was honoured to perform stories for adults as part of the Victorian Bushfire Communities Regeneration Program. As a result of that experience JB composed a story called The Flowerdale Tattoo which was chosen as one of two winners in the ABC’s Hope 2011 competition.
She has told at many venues including kindergartens, schools, libraries, community centres, bookstores, Government House and ABC Radio. She has entertained children with her storytelling at a variety of festivals including Moomba and The Village.
JB was the founder of swag of yarns, Australia’s National Storytelling Magazine, is a member of The Storytelling Guild of Australia (Vic. Branch) and is featured on the guild’s audiotape, Mystery and Mayhem.
On top of all that JB is a published author with her novel Whisper My Secret based on her mother’s true story, an experienced educator with ESOL qualifications and a trained Parent-Child Mother Goose teacher.
Please enjoy some tales from a wonderful storyteller.
The Flowerdale Tattoo
JB was selected to tell her story The Flowerdale Tattoo at the Sydney Festival 2011. To read about this event hosted by Radio National and to hear JB tell the story, click: The Flowerdale Tattoo.
The story of Sheherezade
Once upon a time there were two brothers who ruled Arabia and Persia. King Shahryar had his palace in Baghdad and his brother King Zaman had his palace in Samarkand. The two brothers ruled their kingdoms and lived contented lives until one day disillusionment and unhappiness entered both their lives.
Calamity first came to King Zaman when he set out on a journey to visit his brother. However, he had not gone far when he had to return to his palace for a precious gift he had forgotten to take with him. When he returned he discovered, to his horror, his wife asleep in the arms of a giant slave. Shortly after, King Shahryar discovered that, when he was away, his wife was in the habit of organising and enjoying erotic orgies with the handsome young slaves at the palace in Baghdad. Of course the faithless wives were executed and Zaman and Sharyar came to the conclusion that women were not to be trusted. Sharyar set about killing the beautiful young virgins of Baghdad and there might have been no limit to his madness had it not been for his chief minister’s daughter, the beautiful, wise and intelligent Sheherezade who became a legendary oral storyteller.
The story of Sheherezade is often in JB Rowley’s storytelling programs. High school students are enthralled by the story and, in 2009, JB told Sheherezade’s story to very receptive audiences as part of the dinner program while on a storytelling tour of the bushfire affected areas of Murrindindi shire. Out of that tour evolved the story of The Flowerdale Tattoo which won the Hope 2011 story competition at ABC POOL. Now, as a way of contributing to POOL, JB is working on a project to honour Sheherezade and her stories, starting with, of course, Sheherezade’s story.
The Mouse's Wedding