Clare was here at The Belly Of The Whale Storytelling School in Kapiti offering a workshop so we invited her to our festival. Workshop participants loved her and the consensus was that they learned much about telling stories and about the power of listening. Clare’s storytelling was also appreciated. Traditional tales trip off her tongue at the drop of a hat, augmented by small movements that enhance the story world she is creating. She is also a wonderful and stimulating conversationalist so I was thrilled to have her staying with Michael and I so we could talk, talk, talk, all the time we were at home which wasn’t often.
This time last week Greytown Arts Festival was humming, the whole town was buzzing and Glistening Waters Storytelling Festival@Greytown Arts Festival was just opening its doors to our first event. Clare Coburn popular teller and mediator from Melbourne offered ‘The Last Peace: Stories of Change and Challenge.” I have to confess to feeling very impressed by the work of Wairarapa Tellers in the Monday sessions(having got my telling out of the way on Sunday night). From some shy, stumbling beginnings we managed to flourish for Glistening Waters Storytelling Festival@Greytown Arts Festival.
First up was Thomas Laybourn aged 12 years an emerging teller with a very big talent both for storytelling and hard work. Thomas’ active telling and excellent insight into the characters in his story of Uttgard-Aloki meeting Thor the thunder god, had many audience members standing as they clapped when he finished.
Hella Coenen created a magical small world and puppets to tell her story ‘The Last Piece.’ She held both adults and children spellbound as she told the tale of Hohepa and his granddad who could fix anything right down to the last piece of material.
Then the Wairarapa men tellers strutted their stuff. Colin Scadden and Brian Bourke soon had the audience laughing with their respective tales. Audiences love Colin’s tales of the naughty, eccentric, early settlers of the Wairarapa while Brian’s self-deprecating story about a time when he, undomesticated and rather spoiled husband, baked a cake to take to a function whilst his wife was away, was received with chuckles and snorts.
Marama Fox is a local teller with huge energy, and an understanding of our colonial history which she imparts with humour. in just minutes she had children and a father up and acting out roles as she narrated legends about taniwha, rivers and chiefs who were very hungry. She too, had her audience in stitches as she rollicked around the stage narrating the story and feeding her ‘actors’ their lines.
Mary Buckner had an hilarious story about a King Of The Jungle who was just seeking confirmation for the children’s session and a mystical, whimsical tale about a boy who ‘tumbled into this world on the sound of the perfect chord and spent his life listening to hear it again. A very satisfying end to a great session.
The Last Piece was performed by Te Haerenga from Wellington. Moira Wairama, Tony Hopkins and Ralph Johnson told three stories of identification blended into an historical drama which was well received.
All in all, a wonderful, exhausting and inspiring weekend. Our audiences came from far and wide and we are so grateful for you. Without you, there would be no stories at all.
Of course the people who are not so easy to see are those who sell the tickets, who make the tea, who decorate the halls and look after the administrative details. Catherina Breukers and Janet Hayes and your helpers, how would we ever get any stories out there without you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.