Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jackie Kerin: storytelling adventures off the back of a bike

pic: Kamishibai at the Home Cooked Comics Festival. Story: The Two Brothers swapped with Derek Carpenter at the Kamishibai Library of Swaps

When I first studied theatre, I was fascinated by the idea of taking stories out of buildings and into public spaces - markets, parks, streets ... Although having enjoyed a classical drama training at NIDA in the 70s (yikes! that seems a long time ago) my heart has always skipped a beat when I see a good open air performer. In my younger days I would have been too scared to attempt such a thing but with age I find I care less about the possibility of failure.

Its long been the practice to collect stories from oral traditions and lock them away in books and when folk like me liberate them and put them back on the tongue, we usually find ourselves telling them behind closed doors in schools and libraries. For some time I have been playing with the idea of taking stories back outside - 'plein air' storytelling.

To this end, I bought a new bike. But it had to be a special bike that could handle the load. There was only one up to the task - a Pilen.

Pic: Telling stories for Hobsons Bay Library as part of the Midsumma Festival

I was drawn to the idea of Japanese kamishibai storytelling but creating my own stories and using original artwork. It has taken almost a year from the time my friend Ted Smith built me the Kamishibai stage to getting the bike and rig working. Many have helped along the way. But at last I'm travelling the roads and bike paths of Melbourne.

Pic: Port Phillip Bay and a load of stories.

Some of the folk who have helped me:
Ted Smith built the kamishibai stage and helped design the rig.
Peter Santos from psbikes sold me the Pilen and helped design the rig.
Tom is helping with the stands to support the back: clickstands I'm still using some tent poles!
Bernard Caleo who thinks outside the square.

See you in the park!

website: Jackie kerin
Bookings: The Storytelling Garden

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