Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kamishibai : Storytelling

Kamishibai translates as Paper Theatre.

Chris Downes, Sarah Howell, Ben Hutchings, Jo Waite,
and Bernard Caleo are pushing our understanding and appreciation of this Japanese style of storytelling by combining their skills as storytellers and comic artists.

My love of stories was developed by reading comics as a child and my passion for stories has never left me. The bringing together of the comic artist and the storyteller is for me, a match made in heaven.

You can see the art work in the window of Kids in Berlin, 472 Victoria Street, North Melbourne but if you want to see Bernard Caleo in action with the pics and telling the stories ....

Performances: Tuesdays 28 September, 5 October, 12 October, 6 - 8pm
If you want to learn more about the artists visit

Bernard is also part of the Pigeons Project.

Pigeon Letters is an in-school letter writing exchange linking school students with Australian authors. Run over two school terms, the project facilitates a creative collaboration between the author and student, resulting in a piece of writing such as a short story, poem or comic. The final pieces are published in a professionally printed and bound book.

Life is too exciting: places to go, stories to tell!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Melbourne Fringe Festival: Instability Tango

Theatreworks and Blue Straggler productions present:

Instability Tango - special concert.

As part of the concert, I have written in collaboration with Alison Richards, a voice piece for three females. Using Tango rhythms and exploiting the plasticity of spoken English to the max, we sing chant, whisper and shout our way through 10 mins of chaos.

Working with Fay Bendrups and Alison has been a treat - a highlight of 2010. Hope you like it 'cos we reckon there could be more to come!

click pic to enlarge

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Phar Lap the wonder horse

The fascination with the great race horse Par Lap never seems to fade. Although he died in 1932 his mounted hide in Melbourne Museum remains one of the most popular exhibits.

I was in the MOV yesterday and had the chance to view the current PL exhibition. When the champ died his mounted hide came to Melbourne, his bones went to New Zealand and his heart to Canberra. Some bright spark had the idea to unite the relics and display them in the MOV. Well ... the heart is too fragile to move but the skeleton is on display.

I confess to feeling a little shocked. The hide is so real that it's possible to believe that PL is in some state of suspended animation and any moment he will breathe. However with the skeleton in the room that day dream is brutally dispelled.

My book is well displayed in the Museum shop. And as I browsed the store, I was delighted to see it being sold. I even had the chance to sign a copy for a couple who bought one to send to their grandson in Denver in the USA.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Road Behind : Jonathan Griffiths

The Road Behind is Jonathan Griffith's first published novel. Jonathan and I met in 1999. We'd both joined a writers' group at the Footscray Community Arts Center facilitaed by Mammad Aidani. It was a formative group for several of us who have continued to write and publish children's books, plays, poetry and now - the novel!!

I remember Jonathan reading to the group slices of The Road Behind as distinct but connected short stories and then at some point these morphed into a novel.

Our writers' group faded after 4 or 5 years and Jonathan went on to join the Western Union Writers. Here he met Helen Cerne, a writer and publisher. The result of this friendship is The Road Behind. Helen is the publisher and editor of Vanark Press. Vanark is interested primarily in giving innovative, young and new voices a start in literary publication - at the cutting edge of Australian publishing and literary consultations encouraging creative approaches in writing, publicity/marketing and distribution.

pic: Jonathan (seated) Mark E Lawrence (standing)

Jonathan's book will be launched
(appropriately) at the Footscray Arts Centre on October 23rd. I'm proud to part of the team invited to speak at the launch. This morning we met to settle on the order of ceremonies. An informal meeting in Jonathan's kitchen, I met for the first time, my co-launcher - actor Mark E Lawrence. Mark will be reading selections from The Road Behind while I have been having fun drafting some launching words! Not as easy at it might seem.

I wish Jonathan all the best for this exciting venture and a special mention to Meredith Griffiths for a brilliant cover.

Read more about The Road Behind. Available for purchase on line:

Children's Book Week: Across the Story Bridge

August is a busy time of year for storytellers, authors and illustrators. Across Australia in school halls, classrooms, libraries and in this case - the gymnasium - stories are being told, read, acted out .... absorbed by thousands and thousands of children.

It's difficult to get photos as I can't put pictures of the children on my blog and also I'm usually so busy, the last thing I think of is a pic - even though I diligently pack my camera for every gig. At this particular school one of the teachers snapped me in action (sans children) and emailed it through. The teachers and students go to great trouble to create signage to celebrate the theme of Book Week, the short listed authors and their favourite books. I am sitting in front of one such installation.

As someone who straddles both the oral tradition and the written (my book Phar Lap the wonder horse was listed in 2009) this is a very special if not exhausting time of year.


Blog Archive