Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘Catrin Webster’

Storytelling Starters ~ Dog-poo and Dylan Thomas

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

dylan thomasHave you ever visited Laugharne? Is so, you’ve surely walked along the shore of the estuary at the foot of the high walls of Laugharne castle and looked along towards the Boathouse where Dylan Thomas used to live.

Dylan Thomas is a wonderful poet and, rightly, the subject of lots of talk this year, the hundredth since his birth. The other night, I was reminded of the children who attended The Boathouse Project a few years ago. It was a week of workshops for all the top Juniors and Year 7s in the area with me and artist Catrin Webster.

The children showed great interest in Dylan Thomas’s work and also in Laugharne. Good stories and good art resulted. The other evening, talking about Dylan Thomas with friends, I was reminded of one of the stories. It was inspired by indignation at the amount of litter and dog-mess – dog-poo in children’s lingo – the children had noticed along the foreshore when we were collect impressions on what I call a Memory Walk.

Here’s the story. I can’t remember what its creators called it. I’m entitling it A Warning to All Litter-Droppers. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Noticing the Dog-Poo

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

A Memory Walk is a fantastic thing to do with children. This week I was reminded of its potential while thinking about Dylan Thomas whose work is to be celebrated this coming Saturday, October 5th, in the evening entertainments at the London Welsh Literature Festival that follow my performance of my storytelling piece, Travels With My Welsh Aunt.

Dylan Thomas lived in Carmarthenshire in the village of Laugharne. Back in 2001, I was asked to join with Welsh artist Catrin Webster to run The Boathouse Project. This was to be a week-long project to explore Dylan Thomas, his work and the place where he lived, with Top Juniors and Year 7s from Carmarthenshire schools. Catrin would work with them through the medium of art. I would work with them through storytelling.

The Memory Walk I used with the groups of children attendeding was one of the best techniques I’ve ever invented to prime children’s language and their storytelling. With each new group at the beginning of each day session, I began by talking a bit about storytelling, telling a couple of stories and introducing some of Dylan Thomas’ characters and story ideas. A lot of people liked the thought of Captain Cat in Under Milk Wood, also the grandfather in A Visit to Grandpa’s who imagines every night that he’s driving a cart and horses when actually he’s sitting in bed. The idea of a boathouse proved inspiring too and so did the Voices of the Drowned that also figure in Under Milk Wood. Whose voices could they be today? And when might we hear them? (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Cam Ceiliog

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

The stride of the cockerel may not be massive but it’s certainly very determined – a purposeful strut! And that’s why I love the Welsh phrase, cam ceiliog.

Ceiliog means cockerel, cam is a step or a stride, and cam ceiliog describes the way in which the light draws out after the Winter solstice. It happens by small but sure degrees, not in one giant leap. At this time of the year – and Happy New Year by the way – you really begin to notice the change. After the darkness of late December, and perhaps with the resoluteness of the New Year spirit, you start to notice the earlier light in the mornings, the evenings going on longer. ‘Cam ceiliog’ does it as the mother of one of my schoolfriends always used to remind us. She was a very positive woman.

That link between the cockerel and the coming of light is an appealing association. I remember the cockerel’s distinctive doodle-doo-ing from childhood mornings on my grandparents’ smallholding. I remember it too from more recent times, for instance on holiday in the Sierra Tejeda in Spain. The wake-up call would sound out round the village (and sometimes, because it recurred all day, it would finally become exasperating).

Stories that link us to the earth and its creatures

I love associations between human beings and nature. To me, they’re one reason why we could do worse at the start of a year than remind ourselves of the numerous stories that link us to the earth and its creatures. For where would we be as humans if we lost a sense of those links? For one thing, we’d be at risk of losing a proper sense of the richness of this planet and our place as one – but only one – of the species that inhabit it. (more…)