Thursday, May 14, 2015

Williamstowm Literary Festival: Saturday and Sunday 13 and 14 June 2015

Tales from the Flyway 

June 13
2.00pm – 3.00 pm

Recently I met violinist Sarah Depasquale at the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club. We discovered we share a love of bikes, sensible shoes, binoculars and storytelling and decided to combine our skills in a collaborative storytelling adventure.

Sarah and I live in Hobsons Bay where there are five significant wetland sites. A week would not go past without us walking or riding our bikes along the ponds and checking in on the birds. Some of the migratory shore birds that travel between the Arctic tundra and SE Australia can be spotted over spring and summer. These are birds that connect us to countries via wetlands and transcend language and cultural boundaries. The corridors that the birds travel are called Flyways and Hobsons Bay is on the East Asian Australasian Flyway linking us to Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, Mongolia …

What more inspiration does a musician and storyteller need?

The structure of Tales from the Flyway is simple. If we were to fly with the birds and visit the chain of wetlands in the countries along the flyway, what stories might we hear? Sarah and I have harvested stories from Indonesia, Thailand and Siberia. Our final story is a kamishibai story that has been passed down the Flyway from the Yatsuhigata Tideland in Japan (in 2008) to Boondall in Brisbane and then on to us (2015) for telling in Hobsons Bay. For me, receiving this story was very moving – a validation that there are people who see the big picture and don’t allow bureaucracy to get in the way of an idea. I thank the Yatsuhigata Tidelands Observation Centre, Brisbane City Council and the Rangers at Boondall Wetlands.

I would also like to thank City of Melbourne Arts Grants and the SAV series Words on the Wind that gave me time to work on this idea.

Hope some of you can join Sarah and me for Tales from the Flyway.

This is some video taken on world Migratory Bird day where Sarah and I adapted a story to share with children but please note  Tales from the Flyway is not suitable for the very young.

Kamishibai: Stories on a Bike 
June 14
12.00pm - 1.00pm

Kamishibai (paper theatre) is a kind of visual storytelling once popular in Japan in the 1930s and 40s. Connected to comic book making and anime, kamishibai is experiencing resurgence around the world. Many kamishibai storytellers who work in as many languages, connect via the internet to share ideas for building rigs and picture cards are swapped as jpegs or pdfs. Google translate is a wonder!

The box used to frame the pictures is called a ‘stage’. I have two – a beautiful handcrafted stage made from recycled eucalypt made by my friend Ted Smith from the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club and another that I made from papier mache and heavy duty cardboard. This one I can fix to my bike, take to the streets and parks and busk. If you are interested, you can see the plans for this one on the Storytelling Australia Victoria site under RESOURCES

I’d love to meet you in the Williamstown Town Hall at the Festival, tell some tales and share the magic of stories on wheels.

*(with children in mind but everyone will enjoy)


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