Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Thin Place : A night of Irish ghost stories. 10 August 2012

There was a man who came here of the O’Donnells, and he was a bad man. A saint in heaven would have been bothered finding any good in him. He came here around the time of the Hunger. You should o’ seen things in them days.

The Irish have a brilliant tradition of telling tales, and Oisín McKenna, twice-winner of the Port Fairy Storytelling Award, performs Irish ghost stories and plays music to conjure spirits from the sea and land, exploring the thin place, where our world and another intersect.Not suitable for children under 12.

Venue; Daylesford Neighbourhood House Court Room,  Date: Friday, 10 August Time: 8-9pm  
Cost: $15/$10 concession. Tickets available at door.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Australian Children’s Folklore Collection begun in the 1970s ...

This tale begins when I set off to see Riley McCarron's storytelling show,Sleeping Kingdom, Waking Beauty at the Butterfly Club in South Melbourne. Which I have to say is splendid!

Following the show I was snapped.  This might look like an ordinary group of women out for the night but I can tell you they're not!

Let's break it down, starting from the left ... there's my Storytelling Australia (Vic) friend JB Rowley. JB is a writer, storyteller and educator currently enjoying fabulous success in the e publishing world with her books Whisper My Secret and Trapped in Gondwana. You can read more about JB here.

Then there's me squeezed between JB and Dr June Factor, Dr Gwenda Davey and Judy McKinty.

Most storytellers will have dipped into the work of these women which focuses on childhood and children's culture encompassing: colloquial speech, games, rhymes, jokes and insults.

In 1999 Museum Victoria formally acquired from Dr June Factor the Australian Children's Folklore Collection. This enormous body of work contains, not only countless artifacts but over 10,000 card files of jokes, taunts, rhymes .... The handover was celebrated with a few speeches and a fabulous demonstration of hand-clapping and chanting girls who I had the pleasure of directing. Well.. not sure if 'directing' is the right word. I gave the girls pages of rhymes and chants from the collection and together we edited them down to a bracket that took about 8 minutes to perform. In front of a large crowd of children, teachers and Museum dignitaries, the girls gave a stella performance. Further work was undertaken with my colleague Bettina Nissen on the collection to create a soundscape for the Museum - you can read more about that here.

A quick search on the net and you will find much to interest you about the work of Dr June Factor, Dr Gwenda Davey and Judy McKinty. The titles Far out Brussel Sprout, Real Keen Baked Bean, the Dictionary of Australian Children's Words, Expressions and Games, may be familiar to you.

The Australian Children’s Folklore Collection (ACFC) was developed from research begun in the 1970s by Dr June Factor and Dr Gwenda Davey with assistance from volunteer curator Judy McKinty.

I highly recommend you explore this unique Australian collection with a visit to Museum Victoria website here

Jackie Kerin

Rocket Clock Story Slam: “Just Say No". August 8, 2012

Rocket Clock Story Slam: “Just Say No"
Rocket Clock returns with a night of stories on the theme of "Just Say No". 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 August 8, 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:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Workshop with Ashley Ramsden and Clare Coburn

Taking the Next Steps
By Oisín McKenna

I recently had the pleasure of undertaking a week-long workshop with Ashley Ramsden and Clare Coburn at the Augustine Centre in Hawthorn. ‘Pleasure’ because it is a pleasure to be able to take time out to study our art, and because it was with two performers of their calibre and a bunch of very engaged storytellers.

Despite it being an intense week of workshop training, we performed publicly on Friday night, 20 July at the Centre. Roughly 60 people attended, and it was a great night with all the participants performing the work we had undertaken during the week.

The workshops were primarily designed to assist participants to raise our levels of technical skill. I enjoyed being able to name some of the concepts I have been dealing with over the past few years in performance, and then locating them in a strong overarching structure.

I’ve been aware that there are important ‘stepping off’ points in any story, where the situation changes, a character undergoes some kind of transition or undertakes some task or risk. I had been referring to these as ‘transitions’, but these were highlighted during the week as ‘thresholds’. While I’m not bowled over at using a different term for what I already knew about, we worked on these points as the actual structure for any given story: the framework around which a performance is constructed.

It’s the notion that here, a transformation is about to occur, or time, place, intention or introduction of a new character. The performer needs to focus his or her energies, the audience may need to take a breath. These points become structural points around which a performance can be built.

We explored inner and outer thresholds: inner being resolve or change within a character, and outer being a physical change in the space or the story. Thresholds are the ‘heart and soul’ of each story, the ‘guts’ or transition points, and we spent hours on exercises to map them and mark them in performance.

We looked at ‘circles of communication’. Some storytellers can be marvelling at what they ‘see’, and possibly performing for themselves. This is an internalised process, and this is the first or inner circle. The whispering, ‘magic storyteller’ kind of voice, which does also appear in theatre performances.

The third circle is the expansive, loud, tense, zealous and over the top performer. ‘I need to project, please approve of me.’

We did a lot of work on the ‘second circle’, the one that is freer, grounded, can project, and can withdraw at times as well when necessary. We broke into pairs and practised the different ‘circles’, but focusing more in the second circle where audience interaction takes place. The second circle is really about giving and receiving. (Personally I know in the past I have used the third circle, especially if I have felt I’m losing an audience. Bad news. I try to steer clear of it these days, and no longer look at those people who are falling asleep or not laughing at my uproarious humour. And in fact, they may be enjoying the story in their own way, by concentrating – or sleeping.)

We did some status work, and at the performer’s ‘ubiquity’. The storyteller is ubiquitous in that he or she is narrator and sometimes all the characters. This can be a mind bend at times, but we worked on it, which helped first flag it, and also helped us become aware of it.

We did ‘story maps’, simply mapping out the location of the story you are performing within a given space. Very easy in an imaginary world to walk into that carefully placed tree or wall.

We worked on ‘being real’ and the ‘sense of wonder’, as if what we were seeing we were seeing for the first time, and seeing what you are describing.  This can open up a multiplicity of meanings to the audience.

And we did exercises on imagining something in space before going to it, which is related to Alexander Technique work. Creating the reality of the space in your own world makes it that much more real and richer for the audience. For example, choosing one real movement out of a sequence that will build the picture for the audiences, such as slooshing the water in the teapot, or dipping your finger into a group of imaginary tasty dishes.

Anyway, I could go on. It was a fantastic week and a small group of us is planning to meet regularly from now on. No more working in a vacuum flask.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Award Winning Bush Verse & Stories 2012

Many Australian Folk Festivals celebrate the art of storytelling in the form of competitions. Several Storytelling Australia (Vic) tellers have been successful in these events including Anne E Stewart, Andrew McKenna, Jackie Kerin and Julie Perrin.

Melbourne Books asked Max and Jacqui Merckenschlager to compile and edit the AWBV, the first nationally distributed anthology wholly dedicated to competition winners. 

Julie Perrin (Pat Glover Memorial Storytelling Award Port Fairy Folk Festival) and Jackie Kerin (Spirit of Woodford Award) both have their winning tales in this inaugural volume.
Full details at Melbourne Books

A Grimm Reminder: 4th August 2012

A Grimm Fairytales Afternoon

A GRIMM REMINDER was devised to mark the 200th anniversary of the initial publication of the Grimm Brothers fairtyales and showcases a selection of darker tales for a mature audience. 

Tellers from Storytelling Australia (Victoria) including MatteoJackie Kerin, Julia Reichstein and JJ - Retailer of Tales have put their collective heads together for this event.

image: created by Matteo

Mentone Public Library.  (Rear of the Community Assistance and Information Bureau)
36 Florence Street, Mentone
3pm, Saturday, 4th August 2012
Entry: Gold Coin Donation

Bookings Essential:

Grimm-D’Ouvres and Little Red Riding Beverage Provided

RSVP Thursday, 2nd August 2012

Julie Perrin: storytelling in schools and training teachers

Julie Perrin's work storytelling in schools and training teachers from the Australian Literacy Educator's Association was featured in Education Age on July 16.
Here is the link to the Age online, or if you'd prefer it without the blinking ads, you can read the pdf here, there is more about the ALEA project on Julie's blog

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Matteo: Words in Winter Family Day. Daylesford 2012

An all day Festival for Kids
10am - 4pm  SUNDAY JULY 29
 Photo:  Jane Curtis, ABC 

Matteo – Storyteller Extraordinaire
After wowing the crowds at Family Day last year, Matteo is back with his highly interactive storytelling style. He brings the whole audience together, like a big family sitting around a fire listening and laughing. Children and parents alike will be instantly engaged by his humour, antics & music. Go on a journey of magic, adventure and fantasy with this experienced storyteller.
12pm Main Hall. All ages welcome

Full details here

Learn more about Matteo here

Monday, July 9, 2012

OisÍn McKenna

Storytelling Australia (Vic) welcomes OisÍn (oh SHEEN) McKenna.

OisÍn McKenna was a founding member of the innovative theatre company Whistling in the Theatre, and he has performed at festivals, schools and libraries around the eastern states of Australia.

He has toured Ireland twice, performing at festivals, libraries, theatres and schools around the Republic and the North.
His theatre works have been performed in the Melbourne and Adelaide Fringe festivals and on ABC radio, and he is twice-winner of the Pat Glover Memorial Storytelling Award, Port Fairy Folk Festival.
You may know OisÍn as 'Andrew' - yes he is one and the same.

Andrew brings to Storytelling a wealth of experience; a versatile and powerful teller

Learn more about OisÍn here

Storytelling: Winter Kid's Festival 12-15 July 2012

Something is happening at the Substation in Newport… Come join us these July School Holidays for the first Winter Kid’s Festival! Melbourne’s grooviest artists will come together to provide four days of fun, excitement, workshops, and performances!
Jackie Kerin from Storytelling Australia (Vic) will be there with her Kamishibai.

See how to get there,  the full program and info on how to book

Photos from the Newport Folk Festival (Australia) 2012

The storytellers did us proud at the Newport Folk Festival. This is a grass roots celebration that's grown out of the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club. Organised and managed by a team of folk who volunteer their time and talents to create a weekend of singing, dancing, eating, reciting and storytelling in an inner western suburb of Melbourne. Our Newport connection is storyteller Jackie Kerin.

Storytelling Australia (Vic) supported 4 events: The opening night concert, Children's Storytime in the Library, WORDS WORDS WORDS (invited storytellers and singer songwriters) and Stories and Songs by the Fire. Jan Wositzky also presented a session on the work he's undertaken recording Tom Woodcock's story; the task of taking an oral tale and putting it it a book - from mouth to page. 

Storyteller Andrew McKenna from Castlemaine, shouldered the task of telling at 3 of the sessions. Andrew moved between venues with skillful telling and fine choice of tales,  appearing unfazed by whatever he encountered. The rowdy crowd on opening night was not for the faint-hearted and he charmed the room with a hilarious vampire story.

Special thanks to Matteo, JJ Sheills and Kate Lawrence who took on the running of Stories and Songs by the Fire. Together, they heated soup and chai, vegan 'sausage rolls' lit the room, stoked the fire and cleaned up afterwards. Matteo also hosted the evening and Kate charmed us with a story. 

And the final photo is John Bowers from the Ballarat Storytellers and his Grandson Rowen sharing some important information: How to Kill a Goblin.