Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Ballarat Storytellers 6 February 2015

The Ballarat Storytellers invite you to their first gathering for the year.

This group began in 2006. They’re a friendly and energetic bunch of wordsmiths who meet regularly to practise their craft, arrange  workshops and plan their storytelling calendar.  These storytellers tell stories for the love if it.

Their talents have been enjoyed at the Daylesford  Words in Winter  Festival, Ballarat Artisan's Festival and The Community  Garden.  Those interested in sharing or listening to stories  are always welcome. 

WHEN: Friday 6th February 10.30am
WHERE: Known World Bookshop 14 Sturt Street Ballarat

For more information: Sheilagh Kentish

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Visiting Storytellers: Christine Willison, Martin Jefferd, Naomi Steinberg and Taffy Thomas Summer 2015

The wonderful thing about visitors is the way they act as a catalyst and bring us together.

It’s common to have storytellers from overseas arrive on our shores over the summer break but as many of us are away, it’s not always possible to make them welcome and share stories. This year has been and exception.

Workshop and Story Share: Christine Willison and Martin Jefferd

With some quick planning, we succeeded in gathering at the Art Gallery of Ballarat where storyteller Christine Willison (based in Wales)  offered a workshop: Myth and Reality (focusing on the Welsh Tales of the Mabinogion). Participants came from near and far, several gathering at Southern Cross Station and making use of the regional train service (very relaxing!).

Following the workshop was a Story Share, where tellers identified artworks in the gallery and found an image to spark a tale. 

Christine is the current chair of The Society for Storytelling 
Martin is based in Bristol where the Bristol Storyfest is in planning 

Thanks to Ronda Gault, Anne E Stewart and Sheilagh Kentish and Art Gallery of Ballart for making it happen.

Pics: Christine Willison and Martin Jefferd and the train travellers enjoying a glass of before heading back to the city.

House Concert: Naomi Steinberg
By their nature, these are more private affairs as they take place in people’s homes. In a spontaneous moment, Jackie Kerin decided to offer Naomi Steinberg from Canada the use of her sunroom. Naomi arrived in Melbourne by cargo ship after spending 21 days crossing the Pacific. She is travelling the world with stories. You can follow her adventures HERE 

Thanks to Teena Hartnett and Jan “Yarn” Wositzky for helping on the night.

Coming soon
Workshops and Performances: Taffy Thomas
Taffy will be arriving soon and is offering workshops and concerts between February 21 and March 23.Taffy is the patron of the UK Society for Storytelling and the First Storyteller Laureate. 

Here's a glimpse of Taffy in action.

You can catch Taffy at the Castlemaine State Festival

Taffy Thomas: CreateAbility: Cultural Exchange

Taffy Thomas, Britain’s first Storytelling Laureate and friend of Storytelling Australia Victoria, will be appearing as himself at three performances. These shows are part of the FREE program listed under ‘Carnival of Community’ on the festival website

CreateAbility: Cultural Exchange
14th  Sat: 12.30 pm
15th  Sunday: 11.00 am
21st  Saturday: 12.30 pm

Where:Victory Park,
Mostyn Street

He will also be in the Food Garden on Sat 14 and 21 as part of the Fringe. Times tbc
Find the Free Events at the Caslemaine State Festival HERE

Taffy Thomas website:  HERE

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Exploring the therapeutic value of stories: Kim Billington, Narrative Therapist 2015

You can entertain, heal and inform with story. Kim Billington's work and research is around the potential of stories for inner renewal and healing.

Kim joined The Storytelling Guild (Vic) in 1992. At the time she was doing a BEd Thesis on Storytelling in the Curriculum. During the 90s, the storytellers gathered for regular conferences, and it was at a weekend away in Lorne where Kim first enjoyed hearing people tell stories to adults.  An experience that was transformative.

Last year Kim rejoined the storytelling community that is now known as Storytelling Australia Victoria, "I wanted to reconnect with storytellers."

Kim’s professional journey began in education as a State and Steiner-trained teacher, "I told stories mainly in the classroom, as a Steiner teacher; stories are a big part of the method of bringing information to the children, engaging their interest and bringing wonder and joy. Later I completed a Grad Cert in Narrative Therapy at Bouverie in Melbourne, and now I’m completing a Masters of Narrative at Melbourne Uni."

What is Narrative Therapy?
"In a nutshell, Narrative Therapy is a practice developed in the 70s and 80s by Michael White and David Epston (social workers and family therapists). It’s about acknowledging the ‘problem story’ by hearing and then listening for ‘alternative story-threads’ about the person’s values and hopes that ‘the problem’ has not been able to destroy. It’s about getting curious about ‘the absent, but implied’ stories of courage or determination. It’s being with the person as they get to ‘re-author’ their story."

"In the 80s, I read Bruno Bettelheim’s Uses of Enchantment’ and later, I read a book called The Heroic Client as part of a Masters of Counselling course, and the title got me thinking. So, I began to bring my love of story into counselling and talk about the heroic journey with clients, and slowly I started researching it. I admire the recent work of Native American Indian psychiatrist Lewis Mel-Medrona and Marie-Louise von Franz’s Jungian studies from the 1930s. Rob Parkinson’s book, ‘Transforming Tales’ gave me lots of confidence. I also must acknowledge Joseph Campbell's work 'The Hero with a Thousand Faces'."

What makes a good listener?
"When a storytelling therapist has made a connection to a story, their own imagination brings that story to life. In the shared, sacred space, the listener is drawn-to, and tunes-into the resurrected life of the story, regardless of content. 
In ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ Lewis Carroll said the listener receives the story as a ‘love gift’."

You use folk and fairy tales. Are there inherent dangers in using old stories?
"Fairy tales have an ‘ordinary’ hero, often not named. The stories are mostly optimistic - promoting hope and promising a happy solution for the hero who has struggled. As the listener identifies with the hero, they can experience an ‘inner renewal’. Fairy tale heroes have inner and outer conflicts that are very human, pointing to human nature and identity development through symbol and metaphor. 

Myths on the other hand, have unique, named central characters who are more super-heroes, almost god-like, and there are many tragic endings. Listeners always feel slightly inferior to mythic heroes.

Some fairy tales are well suited to older people; the work of Allan Chinen would be useful for people who particularly want to address the developmental needs of middle and older-aged clients.

* Kim is looking for listeners to help with her research
Kim is currently working on researching the therapeutic value of stories – Master of Narrative Therapy at Melbourne University. She is keen to meet people who are willing to listen to a ten-minute story, and a month later be sent ten questions about the ‘story-echo and reverberations’ around how the story might have changed one’s response to problems or stimulated identity reflection and renewal.  If you would like to be part this research please contact Kim. She is happy to work over Skype or phone.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky’s CANAKKALE. GALLIPOLI. LEST WE FORGET 25 January 2015

Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky’s
Two Cultures. One story. Gallipoli.

Canakkale is what Turkish people call the 1915 war at Gallipoli, and Canakkale. Gallipoli. Lest We Forget is unique music and story theatre that tells the tragic story using both Turkish and Australian song and poetry - Nazim Hikmet , Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Ted Egan and Eric Bogle amongst others.
            Created and performed by master storyteller and founding Bushwacker, Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky, Canakkale. Gallipoli. Lest We Forget was originally performed as a lead in to the Dawn Service at Anzac Cove, where it received a rapturous applause from the 8000 people awaiting the sunrise.
            Free from the shackles of nationalism it’s the story of how enemy soldiers shared a mutual hell and grew to respect each other – all the while continuing to kill the other - whilst back home the Turkish and Australian women mourned their missing menfolk. It’s also the story of how Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky encountered the friendship that Turks and Australians share today.
            Please come on time and plan to stay for the entire show. 75 minutes.

 Lest We Forget – Hic Unutmaya Cagiz is ingenious in being able to capture both the Anzac and Turkish experience and present it in a way that it totally accessible, engaging, and respectful, but at the same time quietly theatrical.
(Harvey Broadbent, maker of Gallipoli documentaries)

Newstead Live! (10 Ks from Castlemaine)

Uniting Church
Sunday January 25, 1pm
Entry by festival ticket

Newstead Live!: Festival details HERE