Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Williamstown Literary Festival 2017

It was my pleasure to co-ordinate a couple of splendid storytellers from Storytelling Australia Victoria in a session called: Before there were Books, there were Storytellers, for the Williamstown Literary Festival.

The focus was to promote Storytelling Vic's events, partnerships and associations and the team did us all proud!

Thanks to Alex and Miles Kharnam for the video and stills, we have a record of the day.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

StoryFest Singapore: Stories for Change

It was a privilege to be invited to participate in this inaugural international festival. Living in Melbourne, I'm a long way south from the exciting story action in other parts of the world.

Kamini Ramachandran has conceived a festival that is less than an 8 hour flight from Melbourne. The inaugural program was packed with workshops and performances celebrating local Singaporean talents and the OS guests. The international contingent included myself, Xanthe Gresham-Knight (England) and Steve Killick (Wales).

One of the highlights (one of many) for me, was A Tapestry of Tales, a showcase featuring the graduates of the Storytelling Mentorship Project supervised by Kamini. It was encouraging to see eight young people embracing the art with gusto and skill.

I had a ball delivering my workshop on Kamishibai Storytelling and the children's session was a delight. I shared the stage with Steve and Kamini in an event titled Tales from Asia. For this, I carried my migratory birds all the way. I was both moved and excited to meet so many Singaporeans who share a passion for the birds and feel the connecting thread between our countries.

Check out the website and keep an eye on the program. As details emerged around the 2018 Festival, some of you might be tempted!

StoryFest Singapore

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tales from the Flyway: April, May and October

Tales from the Flyway is a storytelling show I developed with violinist Sarah Depasquale. Sarah and I share a love of wetlands and birds, especially those found at our doorstep in Hobsons Bay in the south-east  corner of Australia.
Together we will take you on a journey following the path of migratory shore birds, from Australia to Siberia, along the East Asian Australasian Flyway. The show is playful and occasionally enlightening.

There are some significant celebratory days for the birds in the calendar and Sarah and I developed our show to highlight these.

April 12 - 16
We are heading of to NSW for the Stone the Crows Festival. As well as Flyway, we'll be kept busy with workshops and presentations, and in the evening, Bed Time Tales. You can follow the festival on Facebook.

May 10
Tom the red-necked stint (10 minute kamishibai story from the show).
As part of the World Migratory Bird Day celebrations.
TIME: 10.30 am (Children's Storytime).
PLACE: Altona Meadows Library, Central Square, 2 Newham Way Altona Meadows
FREE event

May 10
Tales from the Flyway
As part of the World Migratory Bird Day celebrations. 
TIME: 6.45
PLACE: Melton Library and Learning HUB
Balam Balam Lecture Theatre. 31 McKenzie Street Melton
FREE event but booking required HERE

May 13 
Tom the red-necked stint (10 minute kamishibai story from the show).
As part of the World Migratory Bird Day celebrations. 
TIME: 10.30
PLACE: Newport Community HUB 13/15 Mason Street Newport
FREE event

October 28 
Tales from the Flyway
As part of National Bird Week
PLACE: Melton Library and Learning HUB
Balam Balam Lecture Theatre. 31 McKenzie Street Melton
FREE event
Details to come HERE


Saturday, February 11, 2017


We all have our passions and mine are multiple. They include storytelling (of course) and gardening.

I belong to Storytelling Australia Victoria and as an office bearer on the committee, I get to be part of some exciting ideas. We've been exploring partnerships and one of those is with the RAW Garden.

Mariam Issa and Dee
Some time ago Mariam Issa opened up her heart and garden and formed RAW with a team of like minded women. The garden explores the private garden as a shared space, open to the public. There is an out door kitchen, permaculture garden and chooks. RAW offers a rich program of activities and once a month there are stories.

This year Singaporean storyteller Durgah Devi Palanisamy (Dee) is holding the space for the stories. Dee moved to Melbourne over a year ago and has dived into the storytelling, enriching the Story Vic gatherings with Asian tales exquisitely told.

Dee and Martin deep in conversation

Every so often we are privileged to welcome storytellers for overseas or interstate. Martin Jefferd from the UK is a favourite. Martin visits Australia in the summer to catch up with his grandchildren and he always arrives with stories.
Martin in full flight
These beautiful photos where taken by Tatiana Scott.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Wheels within Wheels

I love collaborating and creating events with other like-minded odd balls. And bikes are one of my 'things'.

In recent times I've been enjoying some adventures with Patrick Verdon, the Story Peddler. In mid winter, we toured around the Hamilton region with his gorgeous tent as part of the Woolly West Festival.

And just the other day Patrick pitched it in Dandenong Park, and again, it was my good fortune to be invited to fill it with stories. Bike, tent, books, comics, storytelling: I'm happy!  

I love working in the Greater Dandenong area, this is a wonderful community to be invited into; I would call it a 'capacious heartspace'.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Raising awareness about migratory shore birds: the work is never done!

A fine morning spent in the company of remarkable people including the Hobsons Bay Conservation Rangers (Libby and Andrew), Birdlife Australia (Sean and Caroline) and The Connies (tram conductors, performers, educators, ecologists and nature lovers).
The Curlew, sculptured by John Kean in our back room, was ceremoniously passed over to Birdlife's Caroline Wilson for educational and outreach programs. The event 'Dogs Breakfast' is an annual social gathering organised by Council, to awaken the responsibility we all have, especially dog owners to the continuing survival of migratory shore birds.

Sean Dooley from BirdLife Australia gave a moving talk about the plight of our shore birds. He spoke at length about how common these birds and other migratory species were in Hobsons Bay (where I live) as recently as the the 80s. The statistics are heart-breaking and the decline is happening before our eyes. Yesterday this life size sculpture of a Curlew was formally handed over to BirdLife Australia, to use in their outreach and educational programs. Currently there is one Curlew in our vicinity, where once there were thousands. Its beyond sad.

It takes a team!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Behind the Label

In full flight - telling 'Tales from the Flyway'
WHEN: December 1st
TIME: 7.30 - 9.30pm
WHERE: Cromwell Studios 136A Cromwell, Street Collingwood
Bookings: HERE

I'll be one of a line-up of speakers talking about telling stories in schools and festivals and the complexities and delights of rummaging around in culturally complex spaces.  But the passion at the moment is in using my  skills to bring people closer to the natural environment. I'm a 'birdo' and live by the urban wetlands in Hobsons Bay where I work to raise awareness of the plight of the migratory shore birds.

I've also received a couple of gongs for my two children's books and adult short stories. That's another passion!

Behind the Label more info HERE


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