Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Kamishibai at the Williamstown Literary Festival June16-17

Kamishibai (kami- paper, shibai- theatre) storytelling is a Japanese way of storytelling that was popular in the 1920-40s. A small wooden stage was strapped to the back of a bicycle and the storyteller took to the streets and peddled stories. Brightly coloured illustrated cards, pulled through a side opening in the stage, were used to enhance the telling.
Kamishibai has been enjoying  a global revival. A quick search on the internet and you'll see resources, storytellers and festivals focusing on kamishibai in Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Germany, The Netherlands and many other countries.

Several years ago, in Australia, Bernard Caleo and myself (Jackie Kerin) set up a Facebook group, the AKA (Australian Kamishibai Association) to connect people around the country, share resources and learn skills. Our initial dream was to one day have a small festival.

Well our numbers have grown and we now have enough enthusiasm and talent in the AKA to launch ourselves onto the public.

We have several events in the Williamstown Literary Festival that will appeal to educators, artists, storytellers and children.

SATURDAY 16 and 17 June

During the entire festival there will be a display of bespoke kamishibai stages, resources, a children's play space and drawing table.
A mix of AKA members and Storytelling Vic: L-R Jackie, Michele, Tetsuta, Dani, Anna

10.30 Introduction to Kamishibai
Bernard Caleo in conversation, will give the historical background to the 1930s Japanese street performances and will include a number of stories.
More info and bookings HERE

3.30 Kamishibai Stories for Kids 
Come and enjoy the dance between pictures and words as storytellers join to delight with their magical stories. Dani Bücher-Scott, Anna Manuel, Jackie Kerin and Tetsuta Watanabe.
More info and bookings HERE

SUNDAY 17 June

2.00 WORKSHOP for Children 
In this hands-on workshop Anna Manuel will teach children how to create a Japanese paper theatre and perform their own story. Suitable for 6 - 12 year olds.
More info and bookings HERE
Anna Manuel

2.00 The Amazing Case of Dr Ward and Other Stories
The transportation of exotic plants around the world reached new heights when in 1833 Dr Ward conducted an experiment between London and the colony in NSW. History told as a kamishibai with Jackie Kerin and Sarah Depasquale.
More info and bookings HERE

This kamishbai extravaganza has been driven by a small AKA team: Dani Bücher-Scott, Anna Manuel, Jackie Kerin and Tetsuta Watanabe (three of whom are members of Storytelling Australia Victoria). I don't think any of us imagined how much work would be involved but we have had a ball pulling all the threads together. And we are now confident and ready to inspire others to explore this wonderful way of making and telling stories.

AKA: Facebook
Anna Manuel: Heads and Tales Story Services
Jackie Kerin: Kamishibai
Full Williamstown Literary Festival program HERE

Monday, May 14, 2018

Kate Lawrence: Fantastic Feminist FolkTales: June 22

At the Winter’s Solstice, when the nights are long, and the mornings cold, settle into the dark and cosy theatre behind the hip little bar that is Long Play in North Fitzroy, and be enthralled by an eclectic mix of stories, both dark and dangerous, and delightful and inspiring.

Fantastic Feminist Folktales is a storytelling performance of folktales and myths from throughout the ages, inlaid completely with women’s power and potential.

It is a bold, brave and compelling first show from storyteller Kate Lawrence, principal of Story Wise. Kate brings her unique artful eye and feminist sensibility to the classic stories of Red Riding Hood, Joan of Arc, and Demeter & Persephone, as well as other stories.

WHEN:Friday June 22
WHERE: Long Play, 318 St Georges Road, Nth Fitzroy

TIME:  8 PM - 9:30 PM

NOTE: Bookings are essential as spaces are limited. There is food and drinks available at Long Play

Kate's website HERE 

(Thank you for letting us know Kate, and best of luck for your show. ED.)

Gael Cresp: Stories for Grownups. Wonthaggi

I had a ‘Stories for Grownups’ in the library today.
One story I’d told before and two brand new ones. The theme was ‘Loyalty’.

The first story was ‘Bearskin’ a variation of a Grimm’s tale about a soldier who was left destitute when peace was established and how, by being loyal to his promise to the devil and by his promised bride being loyal to her promise to him, he defeated the devil, made his fortune and allowed them both to live long and happy lives.

The second was a version of a Burmese story I called ‘A promise kept’. It took a while for me to work out how I could tell this story as the beginning and the crux, when the young woman gave and then remembered her promise, seemed clumsy to me but I worked on it and was happy it was ready to tell. (Those who come the Sydney International Storytelling Conference may well get to hear my version and I might put it up on my web site as I like it a lot.)

The third was ‘Katie Crackernuts’ based on the version written by Kate Forsyth. I got my copy thanks to my wonderful niece in Detroit USA - many of you will have seen my conversation on Facebook about this a few weeks ago. Still waiting on my copy of the book.

Overall the stories went well. The library had set up the space with chairs and microphone. I had about 9 listeners, some of whom had travelled for over 30 minutes to get to the venue. But, but, but….

There was a noisy group in the library (a crowd of disabled people, wheelchairs and difficulty speaking and hearing) and despite turning the microphone up 3 times it was still very hard to make myself heard – some of my listeners have hearing aids of their own and have difficulty hearing if there is any background noise.

Then someone started up a vacuum cleaner (apparently something got spilled and had to be dealt with) but the LAST STRAW was two additional people – one of whom turned out to be the new branch manager (oops) having a loud voiced conversation. So loud it was louder than the vacuum cleaner and the disabled group.

I actually stopped and went and asked them to please be quiet for the next 5 – 10 minutes and promised I’d be finished by then. Back I went, gathered my thoughts, backtracked a little and finished the story.

I don’t know when I’ve been so wrung out after a session! My kind listeners said that they enjoyed it but I do hope the next two sessions in this series go better.

WHERE: Wonthaggi Library, Murray Street, Wonthaggi 
WHEN: May 16 'Wonder' & May 30 'Confusion'
TIME: 11 am 

Gael Cresp website here 
(Thank you for sharing Gael. We love hearing about member's news and adventures. Ed.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Fabled Nights in Newport: May 18

The challenge is on!

We had a wonderful time celebrating World Storytelling Day this year with tales of Wise Fools. The theme for 2019 is Myths and Legends.

We are asking that storytellers start thinking about the new theme, begin researching and start practicing. And Fabled Nights is the perfect place to come along and practice.

Some of you have raised the flag and asked for help as you are more used to autobiographical storytelling. So here goes. Let's break it down a little.

The word 'myth'  covers a broad range of stories. If working with sacred myths, be aware of the potential to offend and hurt. When exploring the world of myth, bear this in mind. There is a vast body of material in the universe to dive into without crossing the line into religious and cultural insensitivity. Many First Nations people would rather you not tell their sacred myths.

Oh .. and some old stories can be pretty misogynistic, you might think about contextualizing the story or give it a contemporary twist.

When you research Greek and Roman myths, the classification may also stretch to 'folk and fairy tales'. This is just to confuse you. Go with the flow.

I was going to suggest some links for you to explore but when I googled 'Myths and Legends' an enormous list of resources popped up including what looks like some pretty interesting pod casts.

The Greek and Roman myths are absorbing but there are Russian, Icelandic, Mesopotamian, Welsh, Indian and Irish - to name few.

We also use the 'myth' word to describe characters, stories and phenomena  that are believed by many to be true but the evidence is slim: the Lockness Monster, Min Min lights, large cats. Don't be limited by one interpretation of the word. Language is a slippery thing.

Legends or legendary characters are usually believed to have existed. We talk of the legend of Ned Kelly and  Robin Hood. There are the Hollywood legends: Katherine Hepburn, Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe. And the legends of saints: Joan of Arc and Saint Sebastian.

Once you dip your toe into the water of old story, I can guarantee you will be sucked into a world that will keep you entertained for the rest of your days.

Check out the writings of Marina Warner, Jane Yolen, Margaret Read McDonald and Graham Seal. Connect with the Australian Fairy Tale Society. There is a great list of books and resources on the Storytelling Australia Victoria website for you to browse.

Come along to Fable Nights and we'll make time to talk old and told story and perhaps if there is enough interest, we can get a workshop happening on the theme. Many of our members have years of experience under their belts thinking about and telling myths and legends.

Myth, legend, folk, fairy tale and tall story: for those of us who like things to be nice and neat, it can do your head in deciding what is what and where to draw the line around a definition.

Of course if you have been thinking of coming along in May to Fabled Nights and have a personal story you want to practice, you are most welcome. We love your stories, whatever the genre.

We ask that stories be 8 - 10 minutes. We have two longer spots on offer if you would like more time.

Come along to Fabled Nights. The urn will be boiling and cake and nibbles ready for half time.

The meanderings above have been provided by Jackie Kerin 
Fabled Nights image donated by Rex Smeal

WHEN: May18
WHERE: Newport HUB. 13 Mason Street Newport. *all access venue
Enter from the park side of the building. Car parking at the rear of the building.
TIME: 7.30 - 10.00
COST: $3.00 for Storytelling Australia Victoria and Newport Fiddle and Folk Club members or $5.00

HOST: Our host this month is Fionnuala Smyth
Many thanks to Matt McArthur who stepped into the role in April.


On the first Sunday of the month between February and November, storytellers gather in the RAW Garden and share stories.

Tatiana Scott is always there with her camera; its through pictures that Tatiana tells her stories.

Well I don't know what was in the air this month but the gathering was hilarious.
Dee (Duragh Devi Palanisamy) who has been leading the sessions decided it was time for some improv. As you can see, this group took to the game with gusto!

We had some young ones with us and they entered into the spirit. The wolf, as embodied by Alex, was a little scary!
And Jackie introduced her kamishibai storytelling to those who had not heard of this kind of storytelling.
 All in all, a top day.

And finally, for those of you who are not on Facebook, we'd like to share this with you. Mariam Issa the co-founder of the RAW Garden worked with her son Abdul Yusuf to create this beautiful record of a year of stories in the garden.

See you in the Garden next month when Fionnuala Smyth will be hosting the afternoon for Storytelling Australia Victoria. Details on our website.