NSN Pre-conference

Storytellers started to drifted into the hotel as from Tuesday, The first I met was Jane Crouse, whom I had breakfast with, and not only did we share story chit-chat but discovered we were both huge fans of Robin of Sherwood, breakfast was a long and laughter filled event.

Throughout the rest of Tuesday (aside from a little shopping and tourist trip) Jane introduced me to a number of other storytellers including Sherry Norfolk, writer of many books (along with Jane Stenson) on the subject of storytelling in the classroom. The three of us went for dinner and I have been finding out that there are far more similarities between US and UK storytelling especially in the realms of trying to get funding and convincing schools and youth centres to take on stoyrtelling.

Wednesday was the YES/SHE (Youth, Educators and Storytellers Alliance/ Storytelling is Higher Education) Workshop, both Susan O’Halloran, and Karen Chace spoke at it, but Karen’s afternoon session was by far the most relavant to the work we are trying to create in the UK, it focused on the substainable storytelling projects she has worked on in schools, one of which has been running for ten years, and that not only performs to the school, but has a yearly festival. She also has a great website to explore, especially the Teachers Porch, and writes an amazing blog. It is thanks to Karne I am at this conference in the first place as she recommended I came to the YES/SHE workshop, so thanks Karen!!!

I also managed to finally catch up with Csenge Zalka in person, which was lovely after the months of emails going back and fourth, and I am really pleased we did.

I have had such a warm welcome (the temperture is up in the 100s) from all the storytellers here it has been fabulous, If the first day of this conference is anything to go by I can see I will be coming away from Cincinnati armed to the teeth with information!!!


And so it has begun!

41hrs awake, 17hrs travelling, and finally I make it to Cincinnati, the first stop on my whrilwind tour through America and Canada thanks to the Winston Churchill travelling fellowship. I am here to find out as much as possible about the way America and Canada support, mentor and fund youth storytelling, and to meet other storytellers and share, even create some stories on the way.

And it started well because on the plane to America I was sat next to a lovely lady from Chicago, called Maria, who advised me to start Chocolate and Story event evenings, a bit like the old cheese and wine thing, I think its a great idea, so totally starting that when I get back!

Got to say there is nothing better after a long journey to find the hotel is beautiful,

The foyer of the Hotel

The foyer of the Hotel

and the bath tub lovingly waiting for you!

view of Cincinnati from across the ohio river

View from my hotel window.

So after a long soak and find that it was still early in the afternoon I went for a walk around the local area, and found within a five minute walk from the hotel the ‘Children Inc’ a performing arts centre supporting children and the home of Daniel Carter Beard,

Statue of Daniel Beard

A Statue of Daniel outside his old home.

who was a youth leader and set up the boy scout movement in America… Plaque about DanielSo I think that bodes well for my trip, not here more than a few hours and already stumble upon supporting youth projects!

Now off to do some more exploraing before all the storytellers turn up later and work begins.

The Counterdown is on!

So just recently has been busy, busy, busy for Red Phoenix Storytelling, 10 days straight of storytelling for the Jubilee, at festivals, museums, garden centres, woodlands, and a wonderful workshop with the guys at HALOW where during a story and music workshop a very ‘Doors’-esq 20 mins musical interlude came about.

‘Its the (final) count down’ for the trip to America and Canada, I have 9 days left till ‘I’m leaving on a jet plane’. I have the lugage (thanks to the very helpful lady in Debenhams, Portsmouth, who after finding out the nature of my trip being a scholarship gave me a further 5% discount on a case already discounted by 65%), I have the cuddly toy – Anansi the Spider (soc) Monkey (recruited by Luke),

Anansi the Spider (soc) Monkey

Anansi the Spider (soc) Monkey

and moments of excitement intersected with wobbly knees. Unfortunately the CD won’t be going due to a major hard drive failure, however I always have a cunning plan, which hopefully will be unveiled at the NSN Conference in Cincinnati (a storytelling conference and my first stop). I also had an interesting message last week from Ottawa Storytellers, so I looking at squeezing in yet another stop, I can’t believe how well the trip has all come together, Thank you world!