Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sydney International Storytelling Conference: a glimpse from Lana Woolf

What an extraordinary weekend of story nourishment!  
The weaving stories Together – Sydney International Storytelling Conference- Through the Prism of Story was held on the last weekend of May and it brought people together from all over the world to share stories and storytelling skills. 
Storytellers from Korea, Singapore, the US, Hawaii and Australia (with strong connections to Scotland)
On a much more personal note (and slightly less distance to travel than some participants), I got to connect with two of my favourite Storytelling Vic friends, Jackie Kerin and Kate Lawrence while I am based here in Sydney for the next year.
Through the Prism of Story was my first Australian Storytelling Guild (NSW) conference, and wow, wow, WOW! I am not sure where to start, as it was so fantastical. I guess besides seeing the Victorian tellers that were able to attend, it was great to meet, Harani, Dee and Kiren Storyteller who were part of the Mahabharata community, formed when Jackie co-started the Mahabharata project with her friends Kala Paramanathan and Gerry Nelson. 
The Mahabharata contingent

A big highlight for me was meeting Donna Washington from the United States.  She is a storyteller I admire and follow with interest not only because I think she is an exceptionally talented storyteller, but I am interested in her views of being culturally sensitive when telling stories. She has put a great deal of thought into the ethics and strategy of crafting stories, and it is clear that stories permeate her whole life. You can be chatting about something that has not much to do with storytelling, and she will use a story to make a point or to provide additional information. I am also in awe of her talent of using facial expressions. 
Donna Washington in performance
Of course David Novak was a huge draw card to the conference, and gave the keynote address as well as a masterclass. I was able to watch him perform a wonderful Jack and the Beanstalk story, which had us all captivated. What I found interesting was the way he moved seamlessly into the story from just chatting to us informally about the history of the story and the history of the prop he was using (string). It was wonderful to watch.  
David Novak: keynote
The workshops that were offered were diverse and wonderful to participate in, and I really enjoyed being given the opportunity to stretch my storytelling skills in the workshops and build new skills.
It was lovely to have an opportunity to meet some of the NSW storytellers now that I am based here in Sydney for the next year, and to connect into a community of storytellers while I am away from my beloved Storytelling Vic. 
Larry Brandy workshop
Other Vic tellers that attended and presented at the conference were Gil Di Stefano, Susan Hall, Kim Billington and Gael Cresp.
Kate facilitated a workshop: True Tales Told Well and Kim offered Story Medicine and the Healing Journey – with adults and children.
 Kim Billington - poster sesssion

Kate and I both told at the Friday night slam when our names were pulled out of the hat and Jackie had a spot in the Saturday evening concert. 
 Lana Woolf - slamming


Children's Storytelling competition 

You can check out the full program HERE.
We’re dreaming about having an event in Victoria in the year between the Sydney conference, which is every two years. How that will manifest … time will tell.

From Lana Woolf

*Thanks Lana for sharing this. We welcome and encourage storytellers to send us news of events. And if you would like to check out Lana’s latest enterprise have a look HERE

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