Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘Craig Yr Hesg’

Storytelling Starters ~ Vote Now!

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

The website is open, voting has started and this year’s BASE awards are now being decided. The numerous categories range from Outstanding Male or Female Storyteller to Trailblazer and Life Achievement. The voting deadline is the witching hour of midnight on September 27. The results get announced the next day.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award is what I’m up for. If you’d like to give me your vote (and the three of us shortlisted include Sheila Stewart and Taffy Thomas), here are the steps to take. Be patient, they’re quite straightforward but a bit long-winded:
  1. Go to
    Click on Register to Vote
  2. On the USER ACCOUNT page that comes up, fill in the boxes marked Full Name / Username / E-mail address and Word verification and then click on Register
  3. Note that a message then comes up at the top of the page saying an acknowledgement email is being sent at once to your email address
  4. When you look up that email, click on the link that is given so that, on the form that comes up, you can set a password
  5. On the form that comes up, fill in your Username and select a password
  6. Click on Save
  7. Now at the top of the page click on Vote
  8. In the first category – Lifetime Achievement Award – click on Vote (hopefully for me!)

If you do give me a vote – and thanks so much if you do – I’ll see it as an affirmation of all the 30 years of extraordinary, ordinary stuff that storytellers like me get up to – the schools, the workshops, the training, the performing, the supporting, the talking, the sharing.

‘Thank you for teaching us thinking’

Stuff, in fact, like at Craig Yr Hesg school this last week. The school is small and very friendly – about 100 children – and in a pretty deprived area of South Wales. My Shemi stories went down well and, with the 5 and 6 year olds, there was also a very lively response to the excellent Pembrokeshire legend of Skomar Oddy, the giant who sleeps under the Preseli Hills.

Bringing such stories to children always feels like a privilege. It’s a joy to see them becoming absorbed and a pleasure to stimulate them into responding in a whole variety of ways. It made me remember how a Junior-age child once wrote to me after a session: ‘Thank you for teaching us thinking.’ (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ School’s back

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

Life moves on. School is back and this week I’ve been getting ready for a storytelling day this next Monday at Craig Yr Hesg Primary School in Pontypridd. As well as actually doing the preparing, I’ve been thinking about what the process of preparing means to me. All working storytellers have their own approach. But this is what it’s like for me.

Mind-mapping ~

At Craig Yr Hesg, it will be stories from Wales I’ll be telling. I’ve made my usual mind-map in the style of Edward de Bono  and along its branches I’ve noted some of the possible approaches and stories that are coming into my mind as possibilities. A lot of my sense of this arises from having had a chat on the phone the other day with the person responsible for organising Monday, in this case the headmistress. Emails are all very well. But it’s a personal chat about the arrangements – when and how to get there, the programme of sessions, content of sessions, the children, the approach – that gives me that crucial and immediate sense of the school which, personally, I couldn’t manage without.

Mind-mapping ~ possible stories

So the mind-map is where I’ve marked down my thoughts about what I’m going to do on the day. They’re suggestions to myself rather than fixed expectations since, on this kind of occasion, I’m well aware, I have absolutely no need or desire to decide in advance exactly what I’m going to do. I remember learning that lesson – that it’s perfectly possible to decide on the moment – one day early on in my storytelling career.  I was on a train to the school whose headmaster was at that time Chris Brown who for so many years has given his free time to being Reviews Editor of The School Librarian. As I agonised about about which of two stories I was going to tell to Chris’s own class, it suddenly dawned upon me that, if I knew both stories well enough to be able to tell either of them, I didn’t need to decide in advance. It was an exhilarating moment of liberation!

With Classes 3 and 4 at Craig Yr Hesg (that’s the Junior end of the school), my expectation is that I’ll focus on my Shemi stories. These stories were originally created and told by the remarkable Shemi Wâd, a North Pembrokeshire storyteller from the 19th century. I retold them in my book, Shemi’s Tall Tales. Apparently Classes 3 and 4 are boy-dominated and very lively. Experience tell me they will love Shemi. He’s Welsh. He’s eccentric. He’s brilliantly funny. Besides, Class 3’s theme as term begins is Flight, so I expect they’re going to love hearing how Shemi got flown across to Ireland by seagulls and shot back to Wales from a cannon. Besides the theme allows me to talk a bit about storytellers and to explore with the children the idea that we all have stories. Some of us get told them, some of us don’t, but we all have them inside us and in the world around us. (more…)