Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘Jean Edmiston’

Storytelling Starters ~ Retirement?

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

Retiring and retirement are interesting. Sometimes they turn out to be boring, sometimes full of good new things. This week, a good storytelling friend, Jean Edmiston, has announced her retirement from working as a professional storyteller. This has brought lots of thoughts to mind.

First, it has made me remember how Jean and I  first met.  It was in the Ladies Room of the Drill Hall Arts Centre in Chenies Street in Central London. It was nearly time for the start of one of what had become known as the Drill Hall Storytelling Workshops and Jean and I were both washing our hands. The Drill Hall workshops were the four-hour long sessions I used to put on in the late 1980s and early 1990s with friend and colleague Karen Tovell. Monthly things that used to happen on Saturdays, they attracted fascinating people (including on one occasion a Town Crier) and in terms of story, they proved powerful events, full of all kinds of story and different ways of exploring them. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Stone

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

A surprise contribution to this blog arrived this week from Jean Edmiston, my friend and long-term colleague as a storyteller. Jean lives and works in her native Scotland these days so I don’t get to see much of her.

But we often speak on the phone about stories, storytelling and our common approach, which is to believe in how stories can empower imagination for everyone if they are approached in a sharing way. Below is what Jean wrote.

The bag of pebbles (more…)

Storytelling Starters – Is it yet Spring?

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

The other day I heard that David the cuckoo is on his way home. David is one of several cuckoos the British Trust for Ornithology are tracking in the cause of helping with dangerously declining cuckoo numbers. David has been wintering in the middle of Africa. He’s started his long flight back from the Congo about a week earlier than the first of last year’s cuckoos. To the BTO, it’s the first sign of Spring. 

Signs of Spring?

I await any signs of Spring in Storytelling in Education. Like numerous other storytellers I’ve spoken to, I fear the country is stuck in a very long drear Winter as far as storytelling in schools is concerned. Storyteller visits to schools have suffered. So has storytelling training for teachers. OK, there are still the big events. National Storytelling Week has just been taking place and lots of exciting events have happened inside and outside of schools. Next there’ll be World Book Day which this year is on March 7th. On that day I’ll be working in Kensington Palace with a group of parents who want to learn to tell stories to children.

But as previous readers of this blog will know, my concern is that storytelling be not only for special occasions but embedded in children’s lives. In Primary schools and Nursery schools, it is of particular importance because it gives children such improved confidence with language and also the knowledge that they all have an imagination, which is such an essential skill for life as well as for education.

Back-up for these thoughts came last week in a letter from Jean Edmiston, one of Scotland’s leading storytellers and a long-term colleague and friend of mine.  Jean has worked widely and over a long period of years in schools, with community groups and in performance. Her letter gives her thoughts on why storytelling in education is of such value. It includes insightful references to adults and children she’s worked with.

Jean Edmiston writes:

Dear Mary

At the end of last year I visited the local village primary school to tell stories.

As there are only 26 children in the whole school, ages 5-11, I suggested they should all join in with the first story, with the older children lending their voices to the sound effects necessary to rid the villagers in the story of a scary mud monster. The story ends with the people celebrating their victory by making fires that sparkle like all the stars in the sky.

The younger children then chose to stay on for the longer stories – and 45 minutes became over an hour with everyone enjoying the stories. And I so enjoyed telling the stories and being reminded how much delight children take from hearing stories told.

A few days after this I met a parent in the village shop – and the talk was not the usual talk about the weather but about the stars and stories of how they came to be. (more…)