Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘Frances Barber’

Storytelling Starters ~ Round and round

Saturday, November 14th, 2015

Grim news from Paris. What is to be done? What can we do? Whatever it is – stop the warring in Syria? –  we agreed this morning that one thing we have to do is make the best we can of our time. So here is the blog I’d prepared for today.

Round and Round:

P1070114Odd how themes that come up in a life can come back, round and round, circling in on themselves. Black people who’ve changed the world by challenging people’s perceptions have been a recent theme in this blog. This week the theme returned several times – and, in one case, in a most unexpected way.

Last week I’d mentioned that, after  retelling here that wonderful story I’d first heard told some years ago by an Aboriginal Australian storyteller – hands, legs and head finally working together –  Meg from Brisbane had written in to let us know that she’d heard this story told by the very woman who created it, Maureen Watson. Evidently, a specific point in Maureen Watson’s mind had been for it to help teach children about the importance of working together. Then during this week came another follow-up message from Meg. She wrote again to say that Maureen Watson had died in 2009 and that information about her life can be seen on the following link:  https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Maureen_Watson. Having now read the link, I can thoroughly agree with Meg: ‘She was an amazing activist and advocate.’

Then on Thursday at the theatre, a world away from Maureen Watson but in spirit very close, I met another emanation of Francis Barber, the Jamaican freed slave I wrote about last week who’d become manservant and companion to Samuel Johnson in 18th century London. We’d gone to the theatre to see Mr Foote’s Other Leg, a play about the real-life actor and impresario, Samuel Foote, who’d lived and worked in London in the same era as Johnson. For me, a main reason for wanting to go to this play was that Simon Russell Beale, one of my most admired actors because of how he makes his parts so real, was playing the part of Foote. Another attraction was that the play was set in Georgian London (why has Georgian London become a theme that’s popping up all over the place in London at present?). (more…)

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…)