Tuesday, June 26, 2012

JB Rowley: Ambassador for the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife 2012

photo: Robert Thomas
JB Rowley has accepted an invitation to become an ambassador for the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife. JB is excited to support the Foundation by raising awareness of the plight of the mountain pygmy-possum, and funds for the mountain pygmy-possum captive breeding program.

How, you might ask, did a storyteller end up in such a valuable role? Actually, the journey started when JB was just a skinny bush kid growing up in East Gippsland, an area that is home to many endangered and threatened species including pygmy-possums.

The Australian bush was JB’s playground. She swam in the creeks with frogs, climbed trees looking for koalas and searched for shy wildflowers. Australian animals were her friends and playmates. She chased lizards and snakes down hollow logs, looked after birds’ eggs, helped to raise baby birds and care for injured animals. The laugh of kookaburras, the warble of magpies and the song of lyrebirds was a daily symphony while the hoot of owls was a nightly lullaby. JB’s father often took the family for Sunday drives to Errinundra Plateau meandering through the old growth forests - remnants of Gondwana.

All of these childhood experiences come together in JB’s book, Trapped in Gondwana, which takes children into an adventure through the Gondwana forests with a range of interesting characters such as Pari, the mountain pygmy-possum. It was this book that caught the attention of the people at the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife and led to the invitation to become an ambassador. And that’s where JB the storyteller steps in to use her skills as an oral storyteller to raise awareness of the critically endangered mountain pygmy possum.

JB is especially proud to support the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, which is the only organisation in Australia whose philanthropy is an investment in our public estate, our unique species, and our cultural heritage – for all to enjoy.


FNPW ambassador page: http://fnpw.org.au/ambassadors

FNPW home page:  http://fnpw.org.au/

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fairy Tale Salon. Monash University 23 June 2012

This was a 4 hour immersion in Fairy Tale.

Beginning with a paper from Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario who was dressed like Puss in Boots, we were informed that Puss in Boots was originally female! With an interest in contemporary fairy tales, including novels, comics and animated features, Rebecca-Anne is also researching the female fairy tale writers of France under Louis XIV. And this was her focus at the salon. The presentation drew our attention to the culture of the French Court and the tales of Charles Perrault and Marie Catherine D’Aulnoy. Rebecca-Anne alerted us to the technology and fashion that is referenced in the tales – like shoes and large mirrors. Less familiar 17th century French creators of fairy tale were discussed: Catherine Bernard, Marie-Jeanne L'Heritier and Henriette-Julie de Murat. The tale of Cinderella and variants were explored and now I urge you all to google these names and search for ‘Finette' and the tale of The Discreet Princess.     

 The Papers were punctuated with stories and following Rebecca-Anne, Jackie Kerin from Storytelling Australia told The Three Army Surgeons by the Brothers Grimm.

Sarah Kelly’s paper: Tale as Old as Time: Examining the Enduring Popularity of Beauty and the Beast. With an interest in Irish mythology and feminism, Sarah posed the question of the relevance of the Beauty and Beast tales and encouraged us to go back and read the original by Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont. She asked us to consider the myths of Cupid and Psyche, to read Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber and to watch the Disney animated version with an open mind. Can fairy tales be a space for discussing feminine issues?

To close the first half, three students and teachers of fairy tale, Belinda Calderone, Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario and Weibke Eikholt, fielded a discussion with the audience.

Afternoon tea 

Jay Peterson from the Spinners and Weavers Guild drew us back into the story space with a spinning demonstration – using both a spindle and spinning wheel. Sleeping Beauty was pricked with a spindle (well in another she was pierced by a piece of flax). As so many tales reference spinning, Jay’s contribution was a marvelous and informative addition to the program.

Vic teller, Suzanne Sandow, followed with the marvelous and creepy tale of Mr Fox credited to have been first anthologized by the English folklorist, Joseph Jacobs

Reilly McCarron, musician and folklore student, took us into the story of Sleeping Beauty, comparing the Grimm and Perrault versions, the variations in plot and character and alerting us to the gender changes. What happened to all those heroines? Reilly told a version of the tale that would have been unfamiliar to many in the room. The prince took advantage of the Sleeping Princess, she became pregnant and even gave birth and all the while she did not wake … not until the newborn mistook her finger for a nipple and by chance sucked the flax splinter from under her skin …

Belinda Calderone completed the Salon with her paper: Between Fantasy and Reality: Fairy Tales and Early Modern Cheap Print. Her focus was on motherhood in fairy tales, the fascination and fear of what can go wrong – the collapsing of boundaries between the animal and human. The Modern Era is described as the period between the 1500 – 1800s. Belinda’s studies compare sensational articles of strange monstrous births in broadsheets and pamphlets from this era, with similar phenomena in fairytale. She suggested reading Babiole by Marie Catherine D’Aulnoy.

A long post for this blog indeed! But this was a rich and wonderful afternoon and there is much to share with those of you who could not be there. I hope I got it right – my notes are a scribble!

Have fun googling those beautiful French names.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Glen Eira Storytelling Festival. Matteo. 24 June 2012

Old Wonder Tales, Adventure Stories, Fairy Stories, Animal Tales, Scary Stories. 
Matteo’s highly interactive style of storytelling is like nothing you have seen before. He brings the whole audience together like they are a big family sitting around a fire. Listening, laughing and throwing in comments. Often after a show parents come up, shake his hand and say they might have enjoyed it more than the kids. People enjoy the sound of his voice, the ambience that has been created and the journey they have been on. All this and its free for you this Sunday afternoon at Carnegie Library as part of the Glen Eira Storytelling Festival 
photo: Grimm's Festival Scotch College Hawthorn

WHEN: Sunday 24 June  2012
TIME: 3.00pm
WHERE: Carnegie Library Sheppardson Street. Carnegie
PROGRAM: Fairytales Around the World

Testimonials from those who count …  

I will always remember the way that he makes you feel and see visions in your head.  Julie  

He was so good, I could see him again and again.  His stories were so good, they just switched on a light inside me.  People looked astonished, especially me.  It was like he had a magic spell on me, so I couldn’t look away….Our grade would love to invite him back and so should you.  Amy
(The Patch Primary School class 5J)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Matters of the heart: tales of fear and courage. 29 June 2012

Ashley Ramsden of the International School of Storytelling and Clare Coburn will be telling stories of facing fear and finding courage on 
Friday 29 June, 7.30pm 
Augustine Centre, 2 Minona Street, Hawthorn
$20/$18 (conc) 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Salon - Fairy Tales - Monash University, Caulfield 23 June 2012

The Fairy Tale Reading Group at Monash University will be hosting an enchanted afternoon of fairytale magic. Long before the brothers Grimm and Walt Disney, a circle of 17th century French authors gathered in Paris salons to read, perform and discuss fairytales. For one afternoon only, we will be recreating our very own Parisian salon to celebrate this French fairytale tradition.

Come along and learn about the authors who shaped fairytale history and first gave us the phrase, contes des fées (tales of the fairies). 

The afternoon is open to readings, performances and discussions about all things fairytale.

For all enquiries, contact arts-fairytale@monash.edu

Saturday 23 June, 2pm–6pm
Building H, Room H2.20

More info on Glen Eira Storytelling Festival workshops and talks here

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Newport Folk Festival 2012. Stories and Songs by the Fire

Click poster to enlarge

Please come along and either join in or sit back, relax and listen. You might like to come early and enjoy the session at 5.00 with Jan Wositzky, Me and Phar Lap. Bring a picnic. We'll have the chai generously donated by our friend Claudette from No Worries Curries!

WORDS WORDS WORDS: Newport Folk Festival 2012

click on poster to enlarge
Come along and join the storytellers, poets and singer-songwriters for lunch and WORDS. View the full Newport Folk Festival program here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

State Storytelling representatives meet in NSW: Working towards a National Association 2012

Following the Sydney International Storytelling Conference organised and hosted by Australian Storytelling (NSW) , some of the Australian delegates stayed behind for a meeting to discuss furthering the cause of a National Association. Its hard to take interesting photos of a meeting but for those who couldn't be there ... Gael Cresp and Bettina Nissen did a spectacular job of keeping a rowdy mob in order.

We actually made some unanimous decisions and in our excitement had a group hug!

When it was all over Gael Cresp and Anne E. Stewart collapsed in a heap!

  • The vote in favour of a National body was unanimous - to be known as Storytelling Australia. It was further agreed ...
  • to begin work on a draft constitution
  • to spend no more than $1000 of the seeding money to pay a web developer to set up and implement a design for the National body and 
  • a decision was made about the logo.

International Storytelling Conference 2012

Hosted by Australian Storytelling Guild (NSW), this Conference featured storytellers from around Australia as well as New Zealand, the USA, Canada and Singapore. The keynote speaker was the charismatic Diane Ferlatte from the USA.

Victorian delegates included, Clare Coburn, Kate Lawrence, Anne E Stewart, Jackie Kerin and Gael Cresp. 
Vic workshop presenters:
Clare Coburn: Tell it from the heart: the power of story images
Anne E. Stewart: Putting our Voice on the Landscape (Storytelling and Culture)
Gael Cresp: Coaching for storytellers

Poster Sessions:
Kamishibai - paper theatre. Jackie Kerin 
Australia's National Curriculum: Focusing on the Environment. Anne E. Stewart

And of course the Vic contingent were not shy at getting up at the concerts and story circles.

The venue was in Balkam Hills at the St Joseph's Centre for Reflection, so we were not distracted by the call of Sydney nightlife! Rather we were woken at dawn by the songs of the butcher birds, magpies and noisy miners.

The NSW Guild are to be congratulated on a rich and well-planned program. Special thanks to Christine Carlton (below) and Cynthia Hartman.

Please enjoy some of the action as snapped by this roving reporter. You will see some familiar and well loved faces.
Daryll Bellingham (Queensland) enjoying a glass of red!

Lily Pang (NSW)     
 Alex McCullum (Qld)
Glenn Swift (WA)

So many memorable moments - but for now there is only time to give you a taste of the richness of the conference. Our OS guests ... were numerous but special thanks to Verena Tay, Meredith Bird Miller, Kamini Ramachandran, Goldie Spencer, Sheila Wee. And finally ... one of the highlights was the storytelling children. They were awesome!

I have left so many people and many experiences out of this report but I hope this gives you a taste of the weekend. One can blog on and on and on ...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rocket Clock Story Slam: “Turning Points". June 13, 2012

Rocket Clock Story Slam: “Turning Points"
Rocket Clock returns with a night of stories on the theme of "Turning Points". Pre-register your intent to tell by emailing rocketclockss@gmail.com or register on the night. Everyone is welcome to come along and listen, laugh, drink, cheer & weep.
Wednesday June 13, 2012
Doors open 7.30pm; slam kicks off 8.30pm. 
$5 pre-sale (+ $2 booking fee) or $8 on the door. Book tickets now via the Bella Union website: http://www.bellaunion.com.au/ticketing/show_367/.
Bella Union
Level 1, Trades Hall
Corner of Victoria & Lygon Streets
Carlton South
What is Rocket Clock?

Rocket Clock is a monthly story slam competition. Ten people each have five minutes to tell a story around a particular theme. Judges in the audience rate each story on both content and performance. Everyone has a great time.

More info: