Monday, July 30, 2012

The Australian Children’s Folklore Collection begun in the 1970s ...

This tale begins when I set off to see Riley McCarron's storytelling show, Sleeping Kingdom, Waking Beauty at the Butterfly Club in South Melbourne. Which I have to say is splendid!

Following the show I was snapped.  This might look like an ordinary group of women out for the night but I can tell you they're not!

Let's break it down, starting from the left ... there's my Storytelling Australia (Vic) friend JB Rowley. JB is a writer, storyteller and educator currently enjoying fabulous success in the e publishing world with her books Whisper My Secret and Trapped in Gondwana. You can read more about JB here.

Then there's me squeezed between JB and Dr June Factor, Dr Gwenda Davey and Judy McKinty.

Most storytellers will have dipped into the work of these women which focuses on childhood and children's culture encompassing: colloquial speech, games, rhymes, jokes and insults.

In 1999 Museum Victoria formally acquired from Dr June Factor the Australian Children's Folklore Collection. This enormous body of work contains, not only countless artifacts but over 10,000 card files of jokes, taunts, rhymes .... The handover was celebrated with a few speeches and a fabulous demonstration of hand-clapping and chanting girls who I had the pleasure of directing. Well.. not sure if 'directing' is the right word. I gave the girls pages of rhymes and chants from the collection and together we edited them down to a bracket that took about 8 minutes to perform. In front of a large crowd of children, teachers and Museum dignitaries, the girls gave a stella performance. Further work was undertaken with my colleague Bettina Nissen on the collection to create a soundscape for the Museum - you can read more about that here.

A quick search on the net and you will find much to interest you about the work of Dr June Factor, Dr Gwenda Davey and Judy McKinty. The titles Far out Brussel Sprout, Real Keen Baked Bean, the Dictionary of Australian Children's Words, Expressions and Games, maybe familiar to you.

The Australian Children’s Folklore Collection (ACFC) was developed from research begun in the 1970s by Dr June Factor and Dr Gwenda Davey with assistance from volunteer curator Judy McKinty.

I highly recommend you explore this unique Australian collection with a visit to Museum Victoria website here

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Grimm Reminder: 4th August 2012

A Grimm Fairytales Afternoon

A GRIMM REMINDER was devised to mark the 200th anniversary of the initial publication of the Grimm Brothers fairtyales and showcases a selection of darker tales for a mature audience. 

Tellers from Storytelling Australia (Victoria) including MatteoJackie Kerin, Julia Reichstein and JJ - Retailer of Tales have put their collective heads together for this event.

image created by Matteo

Mentone Public Library.  (Rear of the Community Assistance and Information Bureau)
36 Florence Street, Mentone
3pm, Saturday, 4th August 2012

Entry: Gold Coin Donation

Bookings Essential:

Grimm-D’Ouvres and Little Red Riding Beverage Provided

RSVP Thursday, 2nd August 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Award Winning Bush Verse & Stories 2012

This is the second time I've been anthologised in the Award Winning series. Two of my pieces made it into Award Winning Australian Writing Writing 2009. However this volume is a new concept from Melbourne Books. Award Winning Bush Verse & Stories 2012 edited by Max and Jacqui Merckenschlager, is the first nationally distributed anthology wholly dedicated to competition winners taking inspiration from the Australian bush and way of life.

Many of us storytellers have the folk festivals and folk clubs around Australia to thank for encouraging oral storytelling with events and competitions.

I give thanks to The Port Fairy Folk Festival, Woodford Folk Festival and especially my local folk club the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club.

Am I excited? Yes. I'm checking the post daily for my copy.

Full details at Melbourne Books.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Kamishibai workshop at the Winter Kids Festival 2012

The Substation Winter Kid's Festival has a rich program. 

Woven around an offering of performances, beautifully showcased in the Substation main theatre, are workshops, games and gentle storytimes for little people. 

Today I had a wonderful afternoon with a happy group of kamishibai enthusiasts. We examined making pictures with paper cut-outs, drawings and the pros and cons of action lines ...  

One more w/shop tomorrow at 2.00pm
Full details for the Winter Kid's festival here

Check out these artists at work. We had a cardboard Kamishibai - a little demo DIY idea.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Substation Winter Kid's Festival 2012

Bouncing from one Festival to the next! Today I've been working with my friend Dharma setting up a bookshop and storytelling space for this inaugural event. Its looking fabulous. The Substation is such a beautiful building. I think our work has paid off - who would not want to come through the doors and explore this beautiful space?

Check out the festival program here

Newport Folk Festival 2012

What an exhausting, exhilarating and heart warming Festival this is. Tentatively initiated five years ago by the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club, it has grown in all the right ways. The committee are always supportive of spoken word and storytelling.

My first day at the Festival began with children in the Newport Library, telling stories and singing with my friend Dharma then it was over to the Bowls Club for WORDS WORDS WORDS where invited storytellers and guests take to the mic and then in the evening, with the support of Storytelling Australia (Vic) we ran an open session for tellers.

My friend Gerry and his friend James photographed some classic moments at WORDS. 

This one taken of Andrew McKenna has caught some of the power of his telling. Andrew can swing from the comic to the dark in the space of a breath.

This is Jen Anderson sweeping her way between the tables, embodying the disgruntled and the cantankerous with her piece Nightmare on Mason Street.

Here is my friend Matteo hosting Stories and Songs by the Fire. Storyteller John Bowers is in full flight. Matteo has the talent of creating a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere - who could not resist taking a turn in the storyteller's chair with his encouragement. 

So many wonderful moments during the weekend. You can see lots more of the action on the Club website here

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Bits That Didn't Fit. Book Launch 2012

The Bits That Didn't Fit by Jonathan Griffiths

Writing stories is a solitary pastime and painfully slow. Oscar Wilde said lots of quotable things and this is one of them …, I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again. I can relate to that. Some of us who choose to write, need to find like-minded friends and writers groups – it can help with the isolation and the pain.

I first met Jonathan Griffiths at a writers group facilitated by Mammad Aidini.
We were based at the Footscray Community Art Centre and met once a month. Our group lasted for about 5 years and most members have scattered and lost touch but there remains an affection and support amongst some of us that is real and valued. Without this writers group, I would never have developed the confidence and skills to publish.
I was delighted to be asked to participate in the launch of Jonno's book. There are some ripping yarns in this collection of short stories. One of the things I like most about Jonathan’s stories is they take me places I will never go and introduce me to men I will never meet. And unpleasant as they frequently are to my 21st century middle class sensibility, I’m drawn to them – something to do with the notion that we are all just blood and bone.

Read more and purchase a copy here.

Still supporting each other in our literary endeavours: 
L-R Bill Marshall (playwright, poet) Jonathan Griffiths (novelist,short stories, Jackie Kerin (short stories, childrens picture books)


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