I run and organise a bi-monthly Storytelling event in Chelmsford. I am lucky enough to have several Storytellers and Storytelling Poets who come regularly to tell and support this event. It has been a great success we fill the room each time. Very recently we have had two people try their hand at Storytelling at such an event for the first time.
Below is Feedback from a member of the audience Jacques Bottjer (performs as Olmo Lazerous) who is also a Primary school teacher, Poet and he runs a Poetry Club in Basildon. He also runs spoken word Workshops in schools.
“The story tellers turned a humble pub into an ancient longhouse or mead hall. The beating of a drum and the plucking of a stringed instrument I daren’t attempt to name sent a modern day audience into an misty medieval world. There was something old, something secret, something…(dare I say it?) magical in the air. One by one the story tellers arose and transported us to far off lands, fantasy scenes, ancient orchards and frozen wastes. With nothing but memory, a voice and a mind filled with stories, the story tellers compelled us, an audience who had hailed from a land of cat videos, the X-factor and Facebook to stop and listen. This was a truly inspiring experience. As I returned from each story, as if from in a trance, I felt like I had emerged from a kind of guided meditation. Relaxed, enlightened and better for the experience. The story tellers are the real deal. And if you get a chance to attend one of these nights I recommend that you do. Any spoken word artist, poet, emcee or writer could learn an awful lot from experiencing our art form in its original and most purest form. I know that I have”.
“Traditional story teller, Shane Ibbs, assembled the varied and talented artists to the event, which he organised himself. He is hoping that this could become a regular occurrence. You can keep up to date with his work and events at his website, as well as book him to perform at your night or school. Teachers out there, your classes will love this”.
Jacques Bottjer. Teacher and Poet. Check out all of the above here: https://www.storytellershane.co.uk/
“I know that I wont miss the next story telling event in Chelmsford. I hope that you’ll be there too”.
I have been invited to tell Stories to families, children and adults at several events in the coming months.
April; ..Storytelling for the charity ‘Safe Passage’, Southend-on-Sea, Essex.
May; ..Spring Wood, Ipswich, Suffolk. ‘May Day festival’. Storytelling in a Yurt.
May; ..Brentwood Prep School, Essex, all day Storytelling.
June; ..Barking Folk Festival, Essex.
June; ..St Ethelburga’s, Peace and Reconciliation Centre in London.’True Life Stories’ an event for ‘Refugee Awareness Week’.
June; ..Storytelling and MC at The East Anglian Storytelling Festival at Geldeston Lock Norfolk.
July; ..Jimmy’s Festival in the ‘Wonderwood’ at Jimmy’s Farm, Suffolk.
July; ..Chelmsford Storytelling event on the evening of the 23rd. A bi-monthly Storytelling and Spoken word event that I run.
July; ..Storytelling event at The Alex, Southend-on-Sea.
Aug; ..Mencap, Chelmsford. Storytelling based on a Thai theme, to enhance the students Thai shadow puppet making afterwards.
Aug; ..Hylands House, Chelmsford, A storytelling afternoon for ‘Mencap’ students and staff.
Aug; ..Estuary Fringe Festival, Southend-on-Sea.
Aug; ..Storytelling at Harlequin Fayre in Norfolk.
Aug; ..Folk East, Suffolk.
Aug; ..Into The Wild Festival. Kent.
Sept; ..Storyteller at a 50th Birthday Party.
Sept; ..ArtsSeaFest, Wivenhoe, Essex.
I have just completed delivering a training workshop that I co-designed and co-delivered to some teachers from the Magna Carta school in Staines, Surry. The training was to show and encourage teaching staff to use the outdoors (a wood) to help in working with students who have been identified as finding school a real challenge for a variety of reasons. The main concept is how to engage students in a totally different way to help to enhance for example their; self esteem, communication, team work, confidence, sense of achievement, connection with nature etc. During the day the picture above is of the fire that we gathered around to talk, to deliver some of the training, to cook and to eat around. In the evenings it was the hub for more eating and some Storytelling.
The 2nd Storytelling and Urban Poetry in Chelmsford event went down very well. As it was just before Valentines many of the stories and poems were of love. Many were very funny and some drew the odd tear.
Some of the comments include;
“A terrific mix”,
“Love it, perfect for a Sunday night”,
“Such a great mix of stories”,
“Every performer was excellent”,
“Another great evening”.
With comments like that we must be doing something that strikes a chord. It is my belief that people are increasingly looking for something different, something that nourishes the mind and soul, while being entertained. It is an age old way to spend an evening, with its sense of friendship and community, at a time of increased social isolation. And in the age of technology (as good as it can be) which is seeping into every waking hour and often the screen, does not relax us. People are finding, as in Shakespeare’s time, that live spoken word performed in front of them whether in the form of oral stories or urban poetry touches them in a way that is quite different to any other media. It is a spoken word art form that has historically been performed by peoples from all over the world such as, the Vikings, the Greeks, in African villages and by Aboriginal peoples. Where storytelling forms the backbone of their culture and societies, as it still does. People are consistently finding that such an evening helps them relax, while being entertained with stories that can take you into your minds own imagined landscape with themes that are somewhat familiar and some not so familiar. With a mixture on the night of ancient tales and modern urban poetry, people found themselves on a narrative journey. Coloured in with their own interpretations of the spoken stories and poem’s. Keep your eye’s open for the next Storytelling event sometime in April.
I am having a great National Storytelling Week, I have told to children at Blooming Moulsham Childminders. I also incorporated a story into some of my therapeutic one to one work with a young person out in nature. Next week I have been asked to run a storytelling workshop with a group of young people in a residential setting for adolescents with mental health difficulties. I will be telling some traditional folk stories and wisdom tales. We will then look at the main ingredients needed to put together a story. We will also look at how I put my oral stories to memory, for telling without a book.
After a successful initial launch, I am delighted to announce that there is another relaxed Sunday evening of Winter Tales & Urban Poetry. It is at The United Brethren pub (The UB) in Chelmsford on the 12th February starts around 7.15pm. So come and enter a landscape, a dreamscape of spoken word, as it unfolds in front of you, conjured up by accomplished spoken word artists. Stories of what it is to be human, with Urban poetry to slap you in the face. FREE ENTRY
Some exciting news, I have been asked by an organisation that works with schools, to co-facilitate a 10 week course, twice a week with two small separate groups of children under the age of 10. The object is to help the children create a collective story, using a variety of techniques, that they work on in a fun way, over the 10 weeks. With a minimal amount of guidance from us. At the end they will be presented with a typed up version of their own collaborated story…….I am so looking forward to this.
This is an exciting opportunity to see professional Story Tellers and Urban Spoken Word artists in the same evening, Free of charge. To be held on Sunday the 11th December starting at 7.30pm in the United Bretheren PH (off Moulsham Street) Chelmsford. It will be the first event of its kind. An Essex Storytelling Winter Festival of stories and spoken word. It will be an evening of two halves. The first half will be the ancient tradition of oral story telling followed by a second half of modern urban spoken word performances. The theme will be based around Winter, stories about winter and stories for winter, ancient and modern. The artists will include, Paul Jackson, Martin Reed, Gerry Donlon, Shane Ibbs, Sadie Davidson and Olmo Lazarus……This really is, a not to be missed opportunity, a unique spoken word Festival.
I was invited up to Kings Cross, London on Saturday to share story telling with a colleague at a child’s 7th birthday party at the Skip Garden, Kings Cross, London. We used an intimate Yurt with a wood burner inside. It made a warm and cosy place to tell the children and parents some stories. The children were quiet and attentive for 45 minuets of story telling. I really enjoyed myself.
Spent a fantastic evening at Grayson Perry’s book launch recently. His book ‘The Descent of Man’ speaks of what it is to be male in todays society. I find him a real inspiration, so creative, a great thinker and a genuinely nice person.