‘Oral storytelling is alive in the moment that it happens. It could be described as a mixture of breath, will and imagination.’
My Journey as a Storyteller
- Trained at Emerson College in ‘The Craft of the Storyteller’ in 2000.
- Told stories widely in my community; schools, libraries, museums, children’s centres, festivals, pubs, events, etc.
- Projects have included collaboration with Beaford Arts, WOMAD festival, Devon Record Office, The National Trust, English Heritage, Lamer Tree festival, A Women’s journey to Avalon.
- Created ‘Storywalks’ in collaboration with numerous West Country AONB’s (Area’s of Outstanding Natural Beauty).
- Wrote my first book, ‘The Emerald Dragon and other Magical stories of the Blackdown and Quantocks Hills’ as result of the Storywalks.
- Pilgrimage – these have been both Christian and Celtic, stories told include; St Sidwell, St Michael, St Mary Magdalen, Guinevere, Merlin and Nimue (A women’s journey to Avalon), Enid and Geraint, St Katherine.
‘In this (storytelling) tradition a story is ‘holy’ and it is used as medicine’
Clarissa Pinkola Estes author of ‘Women who run with the Wolves’.
Storytelling as a Spiritual Practice
Here I am telling the second part of a wonderful creation myth from Ireland. I’ve loved working with it, finding the core of the energy ( the written version was very beautiful but quite wordy). I feel closer to Brigit for telling her story.
To begin with I found acting very easy but telling stories difficult. Telling a story meant I had to bring myself.
After a time I realised that what I was struggling with was my own presence. Storytelling gave me a power that I then had to hold. Maybe Spiritual practice could be descibed as a journey to meet our own power – the power of our presence and it’s impact on the world. And of course there is a responsibility with this.
My journey to this art form has been a learning that is relevant to life well lived. I learnt that I am not in control but that I must take responsibility, relaxed and utterly focused. I discovered that I must dare to let go.
I also began to learn that when I approach a story with complete humility, passion and openness, when I allow myself to really listen to the story, the spirit of the story, it holds me. And at various times, I have experienced the spirit of story in tangible ways in my day to day living. I work on the story and the story works on me. It’s a very magical process and has to be experienced to believe!
On the Shaman’s path the shaman is sometimes described as being ‘a hollow bone’. So she gets herself out of the way, so that spirit can speak through her. Storytelling as a spiritual practice needs a similar discipline. In this way the Storyteller can become the mouthpiece to this fragile earth which so desperately needs us to stand up for her, to speak up for her, in ways that touch hearts and facilitate new ways of being with the natural world.
There has never been a time more urgent than this for us to speak for the earth, to listen to what she is saying, as best we can and to tell the stories she offers us.
Established religions hold great wisdom at their core. My belief is that these wisdoms have often been manipulated to serve those confused few in political power. Working with old stories I have been amazed at how quickly and easily they seem to wake up in my mouth. The stories remain the same but allow themselves to be seen in totally new ways. Sometimes this feels like discovering an old stone, then with touch and breath and spit, working it clean to find colour and beautiful inscriptions. So the old stone takes on a new meaning, possibly it’s original meaning but certainly one that is relevant and touching for the modern time.
‘After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.’
Telling the Celtic Year
Half day workshops in Devon to explore the eight cross quarters of the Celtic year in story.
31st October – Baba Yaga and the Washer at the Ford – 2pm – 4.30 Stoke Woods, Exeter.
20th December – Elen of the ways – the path finders.
Early Feb – Bridget, the Bright One.
In these workshops I will tell a story at the beginning. Then in pairs the story will be retold, allowing time to explore personal responses to themes and characters of the story. There will be a short ceremony at the end of each workshop.
Venues to be arranged. Numbers currently limited to 5 with social distancing. For more information and to book your place click here.
Stepping into the Power of Story
In these workshops we will explore our own presence. We’ll consider how we bring ourselves with authenticity and theatre at the same time. Working with simple stories to develop a confident voice and body both on stage and in life.
22 November – venue to be arranged. Numbers limited to 5 with social distancing.
More events planned for 2021. For more information and to book your place click here.
Telling the Trees
Working with the Celtic tree calendar, sometimes called the Ogham, will work around the year, exploring the stories and legends of each tree. Circumstances allowing this will include both inside and outside telling (outside as much as possible).
Mid February 2021 – The Rowan tree (date to be arranged)
March 15th – The Ash tree
Early April -The Alder tree (date to be arranged)
Numbers limited to 5, for more information and to book your place click here.
‘Our deepest fear is not that we are weak. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure’
‘Tremendous…I was totally gripped…a great talent and great fun’
‘Clare was BRILLIANT!…She has an amazing memory for all her songs and stories and should do MORE of them all over Devon’ Liz Platt, teacher