Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How about a weekend storytelling course? Clare Coburn October 2012

Dear friends of storytelling

Spring is just around the corner and all kinds of things are quickening--wattle trees are blooming and my tiny Japanese maple tree is just about burst into leaf. Perhaps your desire to tell stories is growing?

How about a weekend storytelling course on the last weekend in October at the Augustine Centre in Hawthorn that will support you?

Friday 26th October 7-9pm, Saturday 27th October 10am-4pm and Sunday 28th October, 10am-2pm. 

Alexander Room, Augustine Centre, 2 Minona Street, Hawthorn, Vic 3122.

Cost $240 (concession available) Early bird rate of $200 by 10 October 2012.
Limited places available.

Storytelling is a great way to grow confidence in your imagination, and your ability to work with the spoken word to delight and engage your listeners whether you are a teacher, manager, facilitator, parent or friend. Enjoy the power, wisdom and pleasure of sharing traditional and personal stories. 

What people say about storytelling workshops: 
'this course has felt so gentle, rich and engaging', 
'I gained very practical, tangible and relevant skills and craft', 
'a warm and accepting environment', 
'I have a set of tools and a pathway for crafting stories'. 

Please call me if you would like more details. 

Warm wishes

Clare Coburn, PhD
fabled communication
poet writer listener teller

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Maggie Millar at the Kyneton Daffodil & Arts Festival: Fairytales for Grown Ups. 6 September 2012

Once upon a time fairytales were stories told by adults to adults and there were no holds barred. Maggie Millar has gone back to these earlier and much grimmer versions to concoct a riveting and sometimes scary evening of captivating stories, spiced up with some twisted takes on the well-known tales by modern writers.
Maggie Millar is one of Australia’s leading exponents of reading stories aloud and she brings to her performance all the vocal and acting skills acquired in her training at RADA and during her long career in stage, radio, film and TV, where she won a Best Actress Logie.
This promised to be a very different and quite compelling night out, but it is definitely Adults Only. It is Not Suitable for Children – please leave them behind, in the care of the nice old lady who lives in the Gingerbread House.
8:00 pm, Thursday 6 September
Kyneton Town Hall
Tickets $20
Further information: Ian Robinson 5422 7097

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Anne E Stewart: Montreal Masterclass with Jan Andrews and Jennifer Cayley 2012

pic: masterclass participants

Montreal Masterclass
Just back from attending a Masterclass for storytellers presented by that inimitable pair Jan Andrews and Jennifer Cayley. Wow

10 of us arrived to the heat filled room of Le Brebouf College, Montreal, one of the few private schools in Canada. Sadly no air-con or fans. It was in the high 30's most of the time.

Quick meet and greet and then all lay on yoga mates and the beautiful calming voice of Jennifer put us in focused relax mode and the authoritative voice of Jan invited us to travel with Odysseus on our storytelling Journey

Voice warm ups. "I am Odysseus." "Louder", "Feel it". "I am Odysseus." 

We were introduced to the three areas of technique we were going to focus on in the coming days

Voice Range, Energy Levels and Physicality. 
This focus was to be Interspersed with each of the ten storytellers having the opportunity to present part a the story they'd bought to work on, In my case it was Scheherazade, 
We did exercises with piano to find our voice range, to stretch it,  experiment , be aware. 

We used our bodies to feel the energy, watched other people ebb and flow through the various stage of heightened and lowered energy levels. Then someone was up again to work on their story and incorporate what they'd learnt and felt in the exercises.
Jan and Jennifer had the uncanny knack of  knowing the exact spot in the story to focus on. It was amazing to watch the tellers bring their story to the class and question their motivations, emotions  and understanding then see the shift in their  re-telling, it was very intense work.

I certainly felt the effect of it in my first storytelling job back after the adventure
It was St Peter's, Epping, last Thursday the grade 5's were all learning to be storytellers. Storytelling in the first hour, then workshops to explain some of the tricks of the trade. Missed the young girls looking for me and I them, so eventually arrived in the library right on nine and everyone was seated ready for me to go.
Took of my coat, had a sip of water and then a little banter, a trick or two and onto my first longer story. 

I started with The Seal Mother,  and as I looked out on the audience, I pulled myself up to my full 5'6' (old money) and I felt Jennifer Cayley with her hand in the pit of my back and Jan Andrews standing to my right and remember them saying "now try it again". The lesson; slow down, be calm, in control and totally present in the story.

The exact moment of understanding had come in the masterclass when I was working on Schererazade. The girls asked me to re-tell the part where the Grand Vizier is offering his daughter as bride to Shariar, the Sultan.
Jennifer hand on my back, Jan to the side 
A few words, "this means her death, how does he feel?"

I was there, each word, slow, sparing. I felt I was really there at the interchange between Sultan and Vizier. 

Likewise with the grade 5's I was there. I was having so much fun that I thought I finish with a classic ghost story and show them the powerful effect of the pause. I am such a devil, The Dare, the boy with the knife in the graveyard that dies of fright. I set it in the town of Ballan just down the road from me.

By the time I had him at the gateway to the graveyard, slowly, slowly,......... searching for a particular headstone, they were putty.



That darned old possum jumped out of tree and he screamed.
Not stretching the truth but every bottom in the room including the teachers rose from the floor or chair it was sitting on. I think my best 'scare' count ever.

I definitely feel  re-energised awareness in my storytelling after attending the Masterclass. 

Then on to, the bilingual Contes Courants/ Story Streams Conference of The Storytellers of Canada.

Interesting to see the two languages work side by side as well separate workshops, meetings and performances in either English or French. The first night story slam was heaps of fun, then onto the business.

My favourite stories were Bob Barton telling Jamaican, James Berry's Mongoose and the Hen story. Powerful stuff.

Then Jan Gregory and her personal story of her dad and an elusive baby, it was breathtaking.
Through Robert Seven Crows (pictured) I heard of the 11 nations of Quebec and came to the wonderful metaphor of stories like flowers and unfold to reveal more as you grow into them . He took me to life in the Canadian Wilderness and it was wonderful.

I Met so many great storytellers and told them all about us, thank you Regional Arts Victoria and the Stewart and May Foundations

Anne E Stewart

pic: Anne and Hans Christian Anderson in Central Park New York.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Spirit of Woodford Story Award entries are due on 15 Sept 2012

A message from David Hallet

A BIG reminder that the Spirit of Woodford Story Award entries are due on 15 Sept

No CD/DVD required this year, just send typed copies. Story needs to 5-10 minues, and somehow uplifting.

All details are at www.woodfordfolkfestival.com, click on
Participants, then click into Awards. Prize is $1000

There will be 5 finalists performing at festival.

Finalists get season ticket, plus partner, and transport can be arranged for finalists flying into Brisbane.

Please have a go

David Hallett

Luis Correia Carmelo: Portuguese storyteller and friend of Storytelling (Australia) Vic 2012

photo: Luis taking time during the VU conference 2011 to enjoy Melbourne's street art, Hosier Lane.

Luis Correia Carmelo, Portuguese storyteller and friend of Storytelling (Australia) Vic shares news from his home in Faro, Portugal and links for Australian storytellers to explore.

When did you visit Australia and what was it that brought you to our shores?
I visited Australia in December 2011 to present a paper in The Written the Oral and Other Verbal Media International Conference that took place at Victoria University.

How did you learn about Storytelling Victoria and in what ways have we assisted you?
As soon as I knew I was going to Melbourne I researched on the internet and I found Storytelling Australia (Vic's) website. Then I researched the storytellers listed and I found Julie Perrin’s and Jackie Kerin’s websites. So I contacted them saying I was coming and that I would like to meet them and they were amazingly open and generous. They both hosted me in their houses and I interviewed them for my Phd research and we talked and walked (I had the opportunity to  hike with Julie around Cape Schanck) and it was one of my pleasant trips thanks to them.

Australian Storytellers are in the process of forming a national website where the state and territory bodies will all be listed. This will provide a gateway for tellers around the world to find our scattered organisations. Do the storytellers in Portugal enjoy an organisation which connects and supports their practice?
In Portugal we have small associations or individuals scattered around the country. But you must know we are a very small country: 56000 square miles and 10 million habitants. So in fact we are quite connected to each other and we share information and links. Still, a national platform is missing and it would be useful although I would say, because of our size and number, not urgent.

You're currently working on a Phd about Portuguese Folk Tale, can you tell us in a nut shell the subject of your interest?
In fact, my masters dissertation was about Portuguese Folktales and it was called "Representations of Death in Portuguese Traditional Folktales" and it is published in Portuguese. My Phd research is on Arts and Communication and it is about contemporary storytelling. My goal is to help build a theoretical framework for storytelling analysis under the umbrella of the Performing Arts.

How important to you is the building of relationships with storytellers who work in other languages and cultural traditions.
Storytellers are the subject of my research so I could say these relationships are the most important thing to me at this point. And it is thanks to these relationships with different ways of doing and thinking, that I can try to understand my reality in a more interesting way. But in fact, when you start talking to performers from other countries you soon understand we are all dealing with the same issues.

Where do you tell your stories and who is your preferred audience?
Before I started my Phd, my major public were school children. As in many other countries, storytelling is still seen as something for kids and as I was living exclusively from storytelling the most part of my daily work was that. But I have always preferred adult audience, not because I prefer adults (I work with adults, all my friends are adults) but because the themes and stories I like are for an adult audience. Of course some stories, especially in the traditional repertoire, can reach different ages, but those are not the stories I like and I am not very good on that.
Now that I am doing my research I had to stop my daily work and I am only performing in festivals. I also have had time to record some stories I was working on and build a show in which I tell those stories playing accordion and accompanied by a percussionist. These are the stories I will be telling in the near future, not regularly, for adults. 

Do you have a favourite story you like to tell?
In fact I do not have I favorite story but I do have a favorite theme: relationships.

Are there any storytelling festivals or other opportunities in Portugal that Australian storytellers might be interested in?
I believe so as it is not very difficult in some contexts to work in English in Portugal. We have the biggest Portuguese festival in Beja called "Palavras Andarilhas" (Wonderer Words?)  http://www.palavrasandarilhas.org; a new festival in Lisbon organized by an association called "Contabandistas de Histórias" (stories smugglers: the word "contabandistas" does not exists, it is a game with the words "contrabandistas" = smugglers and "contar" = to tell) http://www.contabandistas.com; a festival in Montemor-o-Novo called "Festa dos Contos" (Tales Party) http://festadoscontos.blogspot.pt; among others. You can know some portuguese storytellers in the blog http://narracaooral.blogspot.pt.

Will you visit us again?
I would love to. Melbourne, thanks to Julie and Jackie, was the kind of place you imagine yourself living in it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Jan Wositzky in a concert with others for Toolangi's Forests. 25 August 2012

Enjoy the seductive tunes of some of Australia’s best known vocal and instrumental performers when Classical, Folk and World music come together with Australian story telling. August 25 @ 7pm
After the catastrophic fires of February 2009, less than half of Toolangi State Forest remained unburned, providing vital refuge for surviving native fauna. The forest holds deep cultural significance for indigenous people and is important to Toolangi and wider regional communities.

Shortly after the Black Saturday fires subsided, residents were shocked when clearfell logging commenced in unburned forest. Despite widespread protests, logging continued until the Supreme Court granted an injunction protecting one contested area. The legal process exposed serious difficulties with legislation intended to guarantee protection of endangered fauna habitat, and an appeal is currently underway. Meanwhile logging has recommenced on Mt St Leonard, the mountain backdrop to the Yarra Valley.

The Concert for Toolangi Forest aims to heighten awareness of this situation and raise funds to support efforts to protect the beauty, biodiversity and intrinsic value of our spectacular Mountain Ash forest.

A stellar musical lineup featuring Sebastian Jorgensen - guitar/lute, Michael Johnson Ensemble – harp/sax/violin, Jan Wositzky – musician/story teller and Neil Murray – singer/songwriter. 
Tickets $45 / $25 concession
Bookings 9439 7712 or at the door.
7 Hillcrest Avenue 
7 -10.00 pm

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Susan Pepper is designing and stitching a new banner for Storytelling Australia (Vic)

In the past twelve months our storytellers have been enjoying a 'renovation'. We've changed our name from Storytelling Guild (Victoria) to Storytelling Australia (Victoria), we have a new website http://www.storytellingvic.org.au/ and we even have some new, talented and inspiring members. And soon, we will have a new banner!

Susan Pepper is in the process of designing and making our new flag. In the past  Susan has been an active member, of Storytelling Australia. Perhaps her most significant contribution to the growth and development of storytelling in Victoria was the monthly storytelling cafe she organised and hosted for many years . These cafes nurtured new tellers, provided a place for the experienced to experiment with new stories and welcomed those who just wanted to listen. Based in Abbotsford, this central meeting point made it easy for folk to gather from across the sprawling suburbs. We still miss the Abbotsford Cafes.

Although not telling stories at the moment Susan's support continues. A talented fabric artist, she has been busy drafting and refining ideas for the banner. The result will be stunning, it will be crumple proof and it be of a size that can be easily transported in planes, trains and automoblies.

Susan was photographed in Federation Square showing her drawn design.  The small finished piece you can see is a stitched piece depicting a country town from an aerial perspective.

We look forward to gathering and telling tales under a new banner and thank Susan for her continued interest in Storytelling Vic.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Human Library: Springvale 25 August 2012

The Human Library: borrow a person not a book

 Initially known as the Living Libraries, this concept developed in Denmark in 2000 and since then the idea has spread to over 45 countries. The central idea behind the Human Library is the strengthening of local communities through conversation.

Storytellers from around Australia have been involved in either contributing their skills to train Human Books or have been a Book themselves.

Being a storyteller isn’t about always doing the talking. Sometimes we’re asked to help others liberate their stories so they can be heard. It’s not easy to shape a lived experience into a story for telling. Australian Storytellers are great networkers and have recently been sharing tips and experiences about training Human Books.

Read about Human Libraries and be inspired. The Australian website provides resource kits along with everything you need to know to establish a Human Library in you area.

If you are in Melbourne and interested in seeing how it all works, come to Springvale   Library.

Launch event: 3pm
Session 1:  4 - 5.30pm
Session 2:  6 - 7.30pm

Bookings essential: Book online here
phone: 1300 630 920

Springvale Library: 411 Springvale Road, Springvale (Mel Ref 79 K11) 

pictured: Some of the Human Books you can meet on the day. L - R Vinayak Hase, Ray Collins, Jasna Dolic, Ravi Stocks, Mariam Issa. Their stories are transcendent, inspiring, funny and moving and they are all true.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Grimm Reminder in Mentone

A Grimm Reminder has been a delightful project. JJ Sheils, Matteo and Jackie Kerin decided it would be fun to celebrate along with the rest of the world the 200th anniversary of the publication the Grimm's anthology, Children's and Household Tales. Published in 1812 there were eventually seven editions. The first Reminder was in Belgrave, then Emerald (PAVE Festival) and the most recent, Mentone. Vic teller, Julia Reichstein, works alongside a voluntary committee to keep the Mentone Public Subscription Library in operation and it was in this delightful atmosphere, dark tales were told. As a Grimm Reminder moves from place to place, other tellers are invited to take to the story chair and share a favourite Grimm tale and this time Julia took up the challenge with a fabulous and funny version of Rumplestiltskin

There is still much of 2012 to go ... hopefully there will be more Grimm gatherings before the year is out.

pic: Julia channelling that greedy king who wanted straw spun into gold!