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Archive for May, 2010

A busy few months has left me gasping in shock at the long period that has elapsed since I last left a blog post.  January indeed!  How innocent we were back then – thinking the winter was past its worst, when in fact it had many more icy winds in store.  But now it is truly over.

So – how did Stomping Through The Seasons go, in its debut performance?  Poet Anneliese Emmans Dean and I performed a show of poems and stories, interspersed with local shoemaker Terry Brown’s contributions on the craft of shoemaking.  We had a full house of adults and children of all ages, and they helped us assemble a ‘shoe calendar’ throughout the show.

Anneliese, Terry and I with our selection of footwear

And otherwise? I’ve been running ‘storytelling for sustainability’ workshops in various schools, local and not-so-local, ranging from the very large Clifton with Rawcliffe Primary, to the very tiny St Mary’s RC near Preston. Spent some lovely days roaming schools’ Forest Schools areas and wildlife areas, making polar bear habitats and searching for materials to make Magic Gardens.

I’ve been helping several local schools prepare their shows for the excellent York Schools Drama Festival, which was a truly impressive event and a credit to all the teachers and children involved.  The theme was ‘Tall Tales’, which proved fertile ground for all the groups – we had Green Children, sisters with three eyes, untrustworthy princesses, mean shoemakers, smelly kings, mischievous fairies, and ordinary-looking schoolboys who turned out to be superheroes.  Congratulations to Colin Jackson, the council’s Drama Consultant, on all this work.

And since Spring has sprung, I’ve spent quite a lot of time storytelling in the outdoors as well. I’ve been up at Hackfall Woods again, for two Family Adventure Days in the Easter holidays:

Practising some tunes in the early morning near Fountains Pond at Hackfall

And, under two ancient spreading redwoods, at the Darlington Green Fair…

And this past weekend, bringing in the Summer properly in medieval style at the Yorkshire Museum of Farming at Murton Park, as it has been Mayday/Beltane.  Visitors made May crowns from willow and blossoms, May baskets to give to their sweethearts, went a-Maying with me around the site to gather branches and flowers to deck out the Viking Long House in the museum’s Danelaw settlement.  We then settled down round the fire for some stories of fairies and how to avoid them!

Telling the story of 'The Stolen Child' - like I said, fairies are not always nice and sweet!

Trying to get to grips with the recorder - I've lost my tin whistle!!!

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