Gael Cresp has been a member of Storytelling Australia (Vic) (formally Storytelling Guild of Victoria) since 1985. She has travelled widely around Australia and attended many National Conferences over the years. In the past, when the threads connecting Australian storytellers have seemed thin, Gael has frequently stepped up to the plate assuming roles within the storytelling community that others found beyond their skill. It’s a brave heart that voluntarily chairs a meeting attended by folk so gifted with the gab! Thank you Gael.
What came first - writing or storytelling?
Storytelling definitely came first! It generally takes several months of telling and re-telling a story (if only in my own head) for the words to arrange themselves in the correct order.
Is there a difference between a written tale and a told tale?
Eventually there is little difference but I find that intonation and gestures plus atmosphere carry a dimension in stories that are told that is much harder to achieve in written format. Then there are the picture books - again this format has an impact on the words and, sometimes, the tone of the story.
When did you become involved with Storytelling Australia and have you held any positions in the organisation?
I have been President, Treasurer and am currently Public Officer (although this should change at the soon-to-be-held AGM)
What and who inspires you?
Other storytellers, the people who listen, those who ask questions and a desire to keep my family stories of how we came to this land and how we now live in it alive. These stories are important not only for my family but also for the Australian community as a whole.
Who is your preferred audience?
I enjoy the challenge presented by 15 to 16 year olds who think that this grey haired old lady has nothing to offer them but I am happy to tell to anyone who will listen.
What is your favourite children's book and why?
“The Little White Horse” by Elizabeth Gouge - it is a fantasy book set in Victorian times in England. It was the first chapter book I ever read and still lives in my mind (and on my bookshelves).
Your favourite story?
I couldn’t really choose.
What is your most memorable moment at a storytelling session?
Very early in my storytelling I was with a group of 9 and 10 year olds at a Primary School in the northern suburbs of Melbourne - a very disadvantaged area with an extremely high migrant population. Deep into the telling of Bluebeard when the young woman held out the blood stained key and I mimed holding out my hand towards the children crowded together on the floor of the library the children gasped and all pulled away. From that moment on I was hooked on storytelling.
Another memorable moment was in the far north west of Tasmania with a group of 15 to 16 year olds who began the storytelling session staring out of the window in boredom. By the end of “Lady Ragnell” they were all watching me, absolutely still but with their heads still turned towards the window. They had become so engrossed in the story that they forgot to turn their heads to follow their eyes!
What changes have you seen in the storytelling networks in Australia and globally?
Contact via the internet, Facebook, Skype and this blog has lead to a great flowering of knowledge and chances for experiencing other ways of storytelling.
You are a great conference goer - what is the value of a storytelling conference?
Listening to others, seeing what works and what doesn’t, testing oneself among ones peers.
What plans do you have in store for 2013?
I plan to get my web site up and running, maybe putting on a concert of storytelling near my home, finishing some of the stories I have in various drafts on my computer, put some more told stories on You Tube... Plans and plans. We will see how it all works out!
Gaels' Website will soon be appearing here.
Gael's commitment to ensuring storytellers connect and have their say is the stuff of legend. Here is the map and microphone she used in South Australia July 2011 when she chaired a lengthy meeting. We must also thank Shirley Way from Brisbane who is so tech savvy!
To purchase Gael's books - you can contact her directly.
The Biography of Gilbert Alexander Pig. (Cygnet/Benchmark, 1999 & Puffin, 2001)
and as The Tale of Gilbert Alexander Pig by Barefoot Books 2000. (UK & GB)
Fish for Breakfast (A Windy Hollow Book, Benchmark, 2002)
$20 each or $35 for both (incl. GST and Postage)