Summer Storytelling Update

Well the past 15 months have been quite a journey. As we gradually open up the country and open ourselves up to the world out there, I thought I would share my up and coming story telling dates.

Over the May bank holiday, I went to Haremoon Storytelling Camp in a wood in Cambridgeshire and spent time with a small group of storytellers and story listeners. It was a lovely way to get back into live storytelling, having spent 15 months telling stories, mainly on Zoom.

31st May-4th June; Some of you may know that as part of my working life, I am a part time Bushcraft Instructor. As such I help run week long, day bushcamps for children. When doing so, I also run a daily Storytelling Workshop with the children. (Private event)

21st-25th June; A week of daily Storytelling Workshops.as part of a week long Bushcamp, in Surrey. (Private event)

3rd July; Storytelling at a Summer Festival for Tipi Woods Alt Ed Learning Community. (private event)

3rd July; Evening Camp Fire Storytelling for, Into The Wild Festivals, “Wild Weekends”. If you are interested, check out their website at www.in2wild.com or their Facebook page at Into The Wild Festivals.

13th July; Mencap, back to my regular teenage group at Mencap (Online) for some Summer Stories.

15th July; I will be a special guest along with 4 other fantastic storytellers for an evening ‘Online’ at “Summer Shananigans”, it is being put together by Hannah Need of  “The Storyteller of Southfields”. for more details go to hannah’s website at www.hannahneed.co.uk (Open to all)

16th & 17th July; Evening Camp Fire Storytelling for, Into The Wild Festivals, “Wild Weekends”. If you are interested, check out their website at www.in2wild.com or their Facebook page at Into The Wild Festivals,

21st July; I will be telling a story live at Woodbridge Storytelling club Tales’n’Tunes, in Suffolk.

22nd July; Mencap, Adult service users tonight, for more Summer Stories (Online).

23rd july; World Storytelling Cafe, at 6pm GMT, FREE to all. I will be telling Pirate stories along with two other established storytellers.

24th-31st July;  ‘Rootstock Family Camp’, A week long family camp in a wood in Cambridgeshire. I will be running storytelling workshops every day and running a storytelling circle every evening. There will also be many other activites on offer Nature Art, Bushcraft, Dance, Singing, Games and many other activities for children or adults, all outdoors. It is run by a very established group of people. If you are interested in a friendly Family Camp, check out their Facebook page at, Rootstock2021. 

August; Is going to be a very busy month for me. Throughout all of August I will be running weekday Storytelling Workshops at Big Hat Bushcamp, where I am also assistant Bushcraft Instructor. (Private event)

1st August; Chelmsford City Festival. For the forth year I have been asked back, to tell stories for family audiences throughout the day in the City Centre. Catch me there, I will be wearing something very bright and colourful.

6th & 7th August; Evening Camp Fire Storytelling for, Into The Wild Festivals, “Wild Weekends”. If you are interested, check out their website at www.in2wild.com or their Facebook page at Into The Wild Festivals.

20th-22nd August; Folk East Festival, Suffolk. For the forth year running, I will be one of the Storytellers.

29th August; Essex Book Festival at Cressing Temple Barns. I will be telling stories all day along with four colleagues. Find us in the magical storytelling tents. (Open to the public).

4th & 5th September; Evening Camp Fire Storytelling for, Into The Wild Festivals, “Wild Weekends”. If you are interested, check out their website at www.in2wild.com or their Facebook page at Into The Wild Festivals.

I wonder what delights the Autumn will hold ?

 

 

 

 

 

Face to Face storytelling is back

AT LAST OPEN AIR STORYTELLING BEGINS

I cannot tell you how delighted I am to once again be bringing together two of my biggest passions. Throughout Easter I will be back, Buchcrafting and Storytelling in a wood. I will be living, working, sleeping and telling stories in a private wood in Surrey for two weeks.  As part of my working life, I am also a Bushcraft Instructor, as part of this role, I will be co-running a Bushcaft Camp, for BigHat Bushcamp. This particular camp over Easter, will be with a small set group of children each week. As part of their experience, I will be running a storytelling session and workshop each day, for the children. I work gentle towards building up the childrens confidence, to speak up and out, by us collaboratively working on stories and sharing parts of a story in the group. By the end of the week many of the children are confident enough to tell a whole story to the group. I have previously experienced hearing that many of the children go home each day and share a story from the day with their parents/carers. It is wonderfully satisfying to see their confidnece grow over the week.

 

 

Finding the story Gold during a difficult year.

In a year like no other, the opportunity to keep telling stories has remained, primarily via the internet.  During the summer, I was fortunate enough to be able to do some safe live outdoor storytelling at a Bush Camp in the woods. What made it more  rewarding for me, was the fact that many of the children were Young Carers. To see these children grow in Storytelling skills and Outdoor skills during the week, was a wonderful reward for me in itself.  In total, I ran a storytelling workshop and story share, every single day, for five weeks. Since then my Storytelling has moved  wholly back online, I am invited to many online story events, I would  like to attend them all, however to keep it to a managible level  I keep to a small amount each week.

During the summer I was invited to ‘carry’ a story as part of a unique experiment that grew out of all expectations.  It was started by Alannah Robins from Ireland, she wanted to see what would happen to a short story if it was passed around by storytellers and taken through Europe online. It was started by an 18 yeard old the story went through the British Isles into Europe  up to Scandinavia, then as far west as Turkey and back.  It changed language many times and was told at least 304 times. I watched the end result recently with people from all over Europe as part of the online group.

More recently as we move into the slower time of year, I have once again told stories via Zoom for Mencap students, which is always a lot of fun, as we can talk to each other, its the closest we can get to a Live storytelling.

With Christmas now fast  approaching I have completed filming some Christmas stories to share online. I have filmed a short Winter story for St Clements Church’s 38th annual Christmas Foilk Carol Service, as well as an additional filmed short Winter story for Mencap’s Christmas online advent calender.

With an ease on lockdown Outdoors on the 21st and 22nd December, I will be offering my services free, as back in Surry we will be having some of  the Young Carers back for a Christmas bushcamp treat for them. As part of the day, each day I will be telling some Winter/Christmas stories.

Looking forward to 2021, I have been approached to attend a week long communial gathering of families, in the Summer holidays, to teach bushcraft and to tell stories and run a storytelling workshop. I cannot say more about it at the moment, however I will share more information in due course.

Best Ever Fun on Zoom

Since ‘Lockdown’, live storytelling has moved online. I must confess that it is not my favourite format to perform on or listen to stories on. As in my opinion, you cannot beat a live audience in front of you. However I do realise that for some people, it is a way of enabling them to access ‘live’ online storytelling, albeit via Zoom or Facebook etc. I have slowly migrated over to doing a few online events, a bit like trying to get a Cat to go out when its raining. I have had some good experiences and met some people that I would not otherwise have met. My favourite experience was just this week. I was invited by the Poet Gill Wes,t to tell some stories for people with learning disabilities who attend Project 49 in Southend. What a lot of fun it was. A very interactive audience with a great sense of fun. It was the closest that I have experienced to it feeling like a live audience that I was in the room with.

My most recent work: A short animated story.

I was recently asked to collaborate on a project about bereavement, with two organisations. ‘The Ideas Hub’, Chelmsford and ‘Dying Matters Essex’.   I was asked to provide a short audio recorded story, that then had animation added to it afterwards. We are all very pleased with what we achieved together.

If you would like to see and hear the story, then please click on the link below, which will take you to YouTube.

A short story, with animation. The White Butterfly

 

 

What is a Zoomeller ?

In these challenging times what does a Storyteller do ?

Well as a storyteller of Folk, Fairy tales and Myths, I have a compulsion to tell them. However I never expected to Zoom tell them, or Zoom hear them, a  “Zoomeller” of tales (my new word) if you will. As many turn to their phones, tablets, and computers to consume art, to learn, to fill the void. I have wrestled with the situation.  I personally need to see live faces in front of me. I need eye to eye, heart to heart connection in a live moment, to really bring the stories to ‘life’ otherwise they are merely stories. Now there is nothing wrong with mere stories, I mean, I need them all the time. I love them. However the world of spoken aloud, Folk, Fairy tales and Myths, is very different. Not just for the teller, but also for the listener. Truly live storytelling when people gather together in a real space, not a virtual space is a very different experience. We know this from the feedback of listeners and from us storytellers also being, story listeners ourselves.

Back to being a ‘zoomeller’ of tales, I was and am struggling with it all. Until I recently heard and read articles about Zooming (other platforms are available) and how stories over the Internet, are very different to live or even radio stories, (this includes conversations and meetings etc). Audio and language specialists point out that listening online is fatiguing, as a result of more metallic sounding voices, the subtle time lapses of a millisecond, the zoom gaze, looking this way or that. The family life going in in the background, unless the ‘mute’ button is pressed on. Although this still leaves the visual life. All this and more, contribute to the brain having to work much harder, to hear, to listen, to absorb, meaning that it is harder to relax. All this is going on as more people are consuming more Online content.

So what  do I do?

Well I remember being told once that;  ‘Less is more’. This simple message has helped me a lot. To avoid digital burn out, or from getting Zoomalitus. So I am simply listening to less and telling less. The quality of what I am listening too, has increased and I now have more time to let the stories that I tell, speak to me of their deeper secrets. So that when live performing comes back, my stories will be invigorated.

Simply put, ‘less is more’.

Letting the Light In

While most of us are locked down, sitting out the ongoing Pandemic, I am sure that for moments, or even longer,  we have felt or looked, a little like the nature spirit above.  We may be currently feeling a little wretched, beaten up, like we are falling apart. Or perhaps a little unkempt, left in a field, for the wind to blow through us, pulling at our hair, ripping our clothes to shreds. Our minds and emotions, pulled and pushed, to the four corners of the earth and back.  But look closer at her, look through the holes, the gaps, you will see nature is still blooming, crops are still growing, birds are still singing. . Her apparent frail structure, is stronger than it looks, for it withstands the blowing wind  along which, the scent of spring comes, she pauses……. breaths it in……. all,.. will be well. Rainy days soak her feet, quickly forgotten, as brightly painted birds land on her twiggy arms, singing sweet songs, into her ear. Songs of the land, songs of  journeys, across mountains, across the sea, deserts and lush green valleys. She listens to their song……. and is soothed.  Her gown is bejewelled with bright insects, it shines, it sparkles, it hums with life. Look even closer at those tattered holes in her clothes, for this is where the sunlight shines through. This mythic nature guardian, is looking over us, showing us, speaking her truth. That nature both gives and takes, that we need the holes, to let the light in.

World Storytelling Cafe: A Virtual Experience

I am feeling most humbled to have been asked by the organisers of the World Storytelling Cafe, to join them, along with some other marvelous Oral Storytellers from around the world. In what I believe is the first (or one of the first) virtual gathering of Storytellers from far and wide, from Columbia to Ireland, from Scotland to the USA to Chelmsford, telling tales to sooth and relax you in these troubled times. I have already contributed a 45 minute set of 3 tales, for you to listen to whenever you wish. Suitable for all the family from 3 to 103 years of age.

Just visit the site www.worldstorytellingcafe.com or Facebook page; World Storytelling Cafe Community for further details.

Storytelling Workshops During Childrens Mental Health Awareness Week

During National Storytelling Week, I spent a full week in a school in Suffolk, working with  four seperate classes. I was commissioned by the wonderful Children’s Mental Health Charity, ‘FineNotFine’, to put together a week of Storytelling Workshops, incorporating the theme of ‘Find Your Brave’. As it was also National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week.  Here is some of the genuine feedback from several of the children. Its heartening to know that we truly made a meaningful connection with these children.

“I enjoyed Shane he was really funny. My favourite part was the Viking story”.

“My favourite part was wen Thor wor that dress”

“Everybody has brave in them and you find it at certain parts in your life. Some people don’t”.

“I enjoyed that wen Shane told the story and we could picture it in your head”.

“My favourite part was the donkey pewking out Pinoncita”

“I enjoyed the exciting art lessons we’ve had. My favourite part was where Shane came in and told us lots of stories”.

“I enjoyed Shane telling us the stories and the art. My favourite part was when we drawed the pictures and when we heard the stories”.

“I enjoyed doing the different activities. My favourite part was being there and listening to Shane who is very funny”.

 

National Storytelling Week

As National Storytelling Week, begins on 1st February, I have some news to share.

I was asked by The Society for Storytelling to contribute an audio recording of me telling one of my favourite stories for children, ‘Clay Pot Boy’. It has been put into a ‘free’ National School’s Pack. (300 packs have already been requested, contact SfS.org.uk)   The packs are to aid teachers in introducing Oral Storytelling to children, along with explaining many of its proven benefits to children. I was also asked to contribute to a section in the pack on, “inclusive storytelling”. With tips and comments from my various experience’s of working with children in multiple settings over 24 years. With additional comments, from my experience of working with people with Learning Disabilities.

During National Storytelling Week itself, I will be Storytelling in a Suffolk school, all week. Working with a Children’s Mental Health Charity, ‘FineNotFine’. We will be using and working with a particular story all week, primarily to look at helping children access their inner strengths. To help build upon their inner resilience and confidence. Along with having a lot of fun.

In addition, later on in February on the 15th and 16th, during half term, I will be Storytelling at RHS Wisley again, telling stories all about the weather.

I will also be appearing for a second time on the 18th at ‘The Widgeon  Theatre Boat’ a unique theatre on a canal boat, moored in London. I will be telling stories in the daytime for children and than performing stories in the evening, for adults only.

I will also be at the Thenga Café, in London again  for the third time, on 27th, telling a story along with others,  to help raise money for the Children’s Refugee Charity DonateforRefugee’s.

I will also be in London again on Sunday 1st March, telling a story in Hackney, at an open event, where the stories are all about Witches and Witchcraft. (address 186 Hackney Road, E2 7QL).

Perhaps I might see you at one of these events.