Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Archive for the ‘Historical tales’ Category

Storytelling Starters ~ Finding a voice

Saturday, August 19th, 2017

A most poignant story came into my knowledge this week. It has made me realise all over again why storytelling workshops became so important a part of my work and why I’ve always tried to take an open approach to storytelling with children and adults. It’s quite simply the huge importance of giving people a voice.

The story cropped up in a very fine book I finished reading during the week. Black Diamonds by Catherine Bailey is a history of several generations of the Fitzwilliam family, the fabulously wealthy owners of Wentworth House in the North East of England, and of the desperately poor mine-workers in the collieries they owned. One of many incidental stories in the book is of the son of a poor young woman by the name of May Bower who lived and worked in Wentworth village. Her son Edgar was believed to have been one of the numerous illegitimate children fathered by Billy Fitzwilliam, the 7th Earl Fitzwilliam.

A man without a voice:

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Storytelling Starters ~ A tale not told

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

200px-FrancisbarberReport-back sessions can be real eye-openers. A vital part of any storytelling course I’ve ever run, they’re times when people can say what they’ve been making of stories and techniques that have come up in the course and also, just as importantly, what new directions they’ve prompted in their thinking.

A blog is by no means a course. Yet it’s beginning to feel to me as if it can act in a similar way. Might it even help create a new community of people with a common interest in storytelling however far afield they live?

From Bangalore to Brisbane:

On one single day this week, I opened my computer to find messages from two such far-flung places as Bangalore and Brisbane in Australia. I was amazed and delighted. The person in Bangalore does storytelling with children and is working on a dissertation as part of a Diploma in Storytelling. Meg in Brisbane had not only recognised the story I’d told in this blog last week. She’d herself heard it told by Maureen Watson, the Aboriginal storyteller who created it. Maureen is a great community leader, says Meg, and she’d created the story to encourage children to work together. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ A Sense of Occasion

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

Yesterday evening, my old friend, storyteller Debbie Guneratne, was performing with dancers and singers at a Malaysian Night in Trafalgar Square. A few days before, on the phone, she was apprehensive – entirely understably you might say. Trafalgar Square? On a Friday night? But her apprehensions also made me chuckle.

Malaysian dancersA personal tale:

‘Don’t worry too much,’ I responded. ‘Trafalgar Square can be surprisingly kind. Once long ago, when we had our first car, I broke down in Trafalgar Square in the middle of a Saturday morning. I was on my own. What a nightmare!’

Except it turned out to be almost a pleasure, not a nightmare at all. Two young policemen turned up as if out of nowhere, pushed the car onto a safe, quiet spot at the south of the central island of the square and helped me call the AA. (It was long before mobile phones.)

Phew! Often when I’ve gone through Trafalgar Square since then, I think of the way in which a horrid situation that turns out OK can transform into a happy memory. Another Trafalgar Square event which also often returns to mind seems somehow related. (more…)