What a weekend at the ‘ In The Belly Of The Whale Storytelling Festival’ in Raumati South. Three wonderful graduates of The Emerson College (UK) Course held in New Zealand last summer, Judy Frost-Evans, Holly Gooch and Emily Fawcett ably assisted by Auckland Storyteller Bob Quinn took the bull by the horns and decided it was time to have a Storytelling Festival in Kapiti.
With the support of Doris Suur at Te Ra Waldorf School, Raumati South and by working hard, they gathered together Storytellers and Workshop leaders from around the country to delight the people who poured through the gates on Saturday. Te Ra was a wonderful venue, seemingly held in a basin between tall trees and high hills in the background, the space felt safe, welcoming and the bright colours and gracious buildings one associates with Steiner Schools enliven the creative spirit in us all.
The chattering, excited crowd sitting in the fire circle (which had to keep being enlarged every few minutes) became still as Emily stepped forward to light the fire. Using a flint to get her initial spark, she then set fire to a birds nest which she buried deep into the wood and flax stems set and waiting. Fragrant wood smoke filled the fire and the singing began. For me, a very moving moment.
Judy welcomed us, calling on the four directions to support and enable this first storytelling festival in the region. She paid tribute to all our storytelling ancestors and whanau. What a great beginning.
The children were whisked away to the tipi where Linda Bremford, storyteller from Wellington, was waiting with more magic, while the adults sat on around the fire , telling and listening to each other. Some fine tales were exchanged.
Puppets, jugglers, and music entertained us while we ate the wonderful whole food vegetarian menu on sale and of course, the stories went on over lunch. I had a quick lunch with Mary Kippenberger and Peter Charlton-Jones (who have donned hats and call themselves RHUBARB these days) before they dashed off to get ready for their Family Show.
What an hysterical event that turned out to be…as always, Peter provided the songs and music to enhance Mary’s telling and the children in the audience bravely dressed up and became characters in the stories.
But then it was time for me to rush off to prepare for my workshop… ‘Crafting Personal Stories.’ A chance to meet wonderful people and to experience together the nourishment stories always provide. It seems many people are trying to find ways to tell their stories and a number of participants were keen to have more workshops so I am thinking of doing some one day workshops over the Summer break. If you are interested in these or the other course I am advertising already please contact me email@example.com and I’ll get back to you.
It never fails to take me by surprise – that feeling of fullness stories bring. Many of the stories people told in the workshop were moving accounts of parts of their lives and it is always a privilege when people share themselves. My only disappointment was not being able to attend the other workshops that were held at the same time as mine. Then a performance in the evening to send us all home nearly storied out. What an event. May we have many, many more. Anyone wanting to be involved in the planning and making of another soul feeding event like this should also contact me and I’ll let Our Super Story Heroes know.
Story… I reflected, as I unpacked the stock of personal stories I hold in my heart and mind, they represent the various stages of my life and the life of our country. We Always Wanted A Place In The Country, the beginning of our new life here in the Wairarapa and a new relationship with the earth,just as the Green movement was beginning to make its presence felt; 1981, my personal hikoi of protest against the South African Rugby Tour of New Zealand and a huge milestone in NZ history. Fairy Godfathers- Where Are They? A story of men/women relationships, still relevant to today but men and women who lived through the 70s, 80s and 90s had special challenges with each other I think. And so on and so on, too many to mention here but thinking about all the stories posed the question – am I an individual or am I a woman of my time doing what women of my time do? So, more self reflection…that will provide me with another stock of stories I guess.
Summer In The Studio will begin on January 6th. A series of Courses/ Workshops in my studio where participants and I can pursue some of these big questions as we hone our storytelling skills and craft our stories. There will also be workshops by others so watch this space.
Here is the info for my Summer Retreat for Women :
A Summer In The Studio event
Give Yourself A Go a one day Retreat For Women
Sunday, 8th January, 2012. 10am -4pm
A time for rest, respite, re-creation. Time to bear witness and value who you truly are, where you stand in life and to develop insight, understanding and creativity in your relationships with Your Self and others that will transform habitual thinking, feeling, reacting and self-talk. We’ll use painting, drawing, writing and reflections supported by stories told by Gaye.
Give yourSelf the time!
Morning/afternoon tea and materials provided. Numbers limited, so apply early.
Fee: $80.00 +GST
Enquiries: Gaye Sutton 021 150 1523
Gaye Sutton has been a counsellor and storyteller for over thirty years. She has a particular interest in the way we shape our stories and the stories of those we love. She also loves the potential of those big stories we call Myths, Legends and Folktales, to educate and heal.
I am also offering two other workshops, four half day workshops “You Can Tell A Story” for people who consider themselves beginners and “Find Your Voice, Tell Your Story” for people who want to tell their own stories..both those that have been told too loudly and those only whispered. These workshops could be offered on two consecutive days over weekend for people from out of town.
There will be a Kapiti two-day workshop on February 12/13th “Find Your Voice/Tell Your Story for people who want to practice crafting and telling personal stories, those that have already been told loudly and those yet to be whispered.
So, contact me and come and have fun while the learning goes on.
I love my friend and family,
Not with heart and mind,
But with soul.
Heart can stop, head forget.
Soul never stops, never forgets.