Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘SfS’

Storytelling Starters ~ Keeping busy

Saturday, February 6th, 2021

‘Raining here,’ said a Pembrokeshire friend on the phone two mornings ago. ‘Lovely sunshine in London,’ I replied and the day went on just so. Early on, there were two foxes in the garden. Then, as the light began to fade in the early evening, our local blackbird was there, singing its heart out. Such was the strength of its singing, it brought to my mind that very well-known line from my much-loved poem by Dylan Thomas: Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

But the bird wasn’t raging. It was singing so sweetly, it almost brought tears to my eyes. Tears wouldn’t have helped at that stage, however. I was sitting at the table in the Conservatory-end of our kitchen working at our current jigsaw puzzle. As I learned from an article in the Guardian that very day or soon before, doing jigsaws has proved a favoured occupation during Lockdown. Certainly it has for Paul and me and of course, what doing jigsaws requires is focused eyesight and concentration – and patience. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Moving the chairs

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018

‘Imagination,’ Grace said, picking up on the final word of the story I’d just told. ‘Imagination is ..’.: and her thought continued, ending in an invitation to anyone present to tell a story. Specifically, she turned towards a neighbour in the home where she now lives whom she knew had a story to tell.

And so the Story Sharing began, the second part of a day that had been arranged to honour Grace Hallworth at the end of the month of her 90th birthday. Grace remains a much-loved figure in the storytelling world. She became the first Chairperson of the Society for Storytelling, the SfS, when it was formed back in 1993. She’s told her stories at festivals, schools and storytelling events all over the UK and elsewhere. She has published a large number of books of her stories both for adults and for children. Most of all, she has been a powerful voice for the value of stories in allowing us to discover, express and share our innermost selves as human beings. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ It happened to me

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

A couple of days ago, I went into my optician’s. The receptionist looked rather surprised.  I said I’d come to see if they could fix my dark glasses. He said he’d literally just picked up the phone to ring me to say my new glasses were ready for picking up. ‘Uncanny,’ he said and I agreed. The fact of having to wait for my new glasses had been the reason for wearing the dark ones. But last night at the theatre one lens of the dark ones was suddenly gone at the interval. We scrabbled around under the seats and, fortunately, the missing lens was there, unbroken. Phew!


Cropped paperweightIt’s always a strange thing, that sense of synchronicity or coincidence. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but it has come to the fore several times recently in comments readers of this blog have sent in. After last week, these comments gave me a tingling sense of a new kind of storytelling community – one that exists on the web.

For ages, it’s been a belief of mine that community and storytelling go together. A common interest in stories literally brings people together.  The weekend after next it will be the Annual Gathering of the Society for Storytelling, this year being held in Cardiff. When the revival of storytelling was beginning to gather momentum in this country, the SfS played an important part in forging links between storytellers and helping to support new ones. The same thing had happened with the monthly Drill Hall workshops I ran for ten years from the mid-80s to the mid-90s with my friend and colleague Karen Tovell. Common interests create community and in the case of the Drill Hall workshops, they also helped develop a shared way of working that could then be used with all kinds of community groups.

Storytelling gets people sharing ideas and making friends. This can happen in a one-off workshop or a course that lasts over a number of weeks. It can happen in storytelling clubs as attenders get to know each other or  in a classroom situation as children hear new aspects of each other in how they respond to stories. 

Stories across the world-wide web: (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Sweet Pea

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

An idea or a question can lead you on a journey. This week I began to wonder if I could find a Sweet Pea story. My sweet pea seeds, sown in a pot outside the kitchen door, are just producing their first flower and I felt excited about that.SONY DSC

So I asked myself: are there any Sweet Pea legends? Trying to find an answer, I came across tales about many other flowers. So far as the Sweet Pea is concerned, however, the answer was No.

Yet the process of trying to track down a Sweet Pea story (storytellers do enjoy quests!) did bring one odd little connection with traditional tales. It led me to learn something new about Wem, the small town in Shropshire which is the home of Mythstories.  Mythstories is a museum of stories. I have told stories in it myself – and, incidentally, it’s also where, unless they’ve been moved in the last little while, the Society for Storytelling archives are housed.

So here’s my Sweet Pea journey: (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Still Skipping

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

Memorable tellings are never forgotten. Next week on Wednesday will be the 14th anniversary of such a telling of a story by Eleanor Farjeon, Elsie Piddock Skips In Her Sleep. The telling was by Eileen Colwell.

Among other things, Eileen Colwell was:

  • founder of the first children’s library in the UK
  • first patron of the Society for Storytelling
  • an oral storyteller par excellence

Eileen was also a storytelling inspiration to me and huge numbers of others. I was thinking about her this week on two separate occasions, once in connection with the TV series on storytelling, By Word of Mouth, which I originated and devised back in 1989. The series was shown on Channel 4 in 1990 and I’ve just had some DVD transfers of it made from the videos of it that I possess. Eileen Colwell figures prominently in the third programme in the series. She comes across as vividly as she did in real life, sparkly-eyed, lively and wise as she was. (more…)