The advent of the internet and our skyping skills has encouraged mentoring relationships and skill and resource sharing to a point not previously dreamed of. But sometimes it's good to gather in one place.
South Australia hosted the 2011 Gathering. A three day event, it began with a Friday night concert of stories. Ruth Carson and Graham Ross invited tellers from around the country to participate. Pictured is Graham standing at the venue in front of the South Australian patchwork banner. Cold weather did not deter our audience who filled the room to capacity.
Day two we gathered around a table and with the use of skype continued the national discussion begun several years ago on how to advance storytelling in Australia. You can't see him very well - but that's Jesse the Wind Wanderer beaming in from Western Australia. We also had skypers from Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
Subject to the acceptance of the other Guilds, we
will be known in future as 'Storytelling Australia' and the word 'Guild' will be dropped. Soon we
shall gave a national logo and user friendly website - a gateway to the world that will have links to the member groups around the country.
These discussions were led by Gael Cresp (Victoria) and Shirley Way (Queensland). We thank them for their courage in leading such a feisty group!
Although looking content at the dinner on Saturday night - appearances can be deceptive - we were exhausted.
Day three was a solid round of workshops. With Book Week in August - and librarians and teachers gearing up for the theme 'One World Many Stories', the focus was on sharing new material and storytelling methodologies.
Pictured is Helen Lawry (South Australia) who
kicked off the day. She taught us three new stories and shared her method of memorising. SImultaneously, Gael Cresp worked with a small group of tellers demonstrating the role of story coach. Helen was followed by Jenni Woodroffe (WA) who explained how retellings of traditional tales had been used as a springboard to bookmaking in a primary school setting. Montgomery Kelly (SA) shared his approach to telling to small children and his new book Out of the Storytellers Hat. This is a wonderful new resource for us all. Finally Jackie Kerin (Vic) introduced her kamishibai and demonstrated how she is using it to spread tales in markets, festivals and schools.
On behalf of the Vic Guild, thank you to South Australia for your hospitality and to all the IT organisers who fought off the gremlins and helped facilitate a brilliant discussion on the the advancement of storytelling in Australia.