Shadows on the Road
For the first half of 2021, Lucy Wells and I have been exploring various technologies, ideas of light and shadow, black and white, prejudice and how to take traditional stories to people who don’t usually hear them.
The last artist we worked with was Rob Spaull. We took the themes we have been exploring, techniques we have learned to create one short film… which turned to three short films! Each film has exactly the same story, but with a different soundscape – see which one works best for you and how a small change in just one aspect of the film influences how you respond to it…
Working with Namibia
How exciting! Over November and December (2020), I’m working with a teacher in Namibia to share Shropshire and Scottish storytelling styles, to give her students a perspective on storytelling in another culture…of course, that works both ways! I’m really interested in hearing about storytelling styles in Namibia and I get to sit in on the students’ session with West, an amazing contemporary and traditional Himba dancer as he explores rhythm, audience participation and how to transpose that into storytelling.
Launching my Patreon Page
During my ‘Digitising Duncan’ project and over lockdown, I’ve been experimenting online and with digital formats. I’ve loved running ‘Taking The Tradition On’ storytelling talk show and making podcasts… but, it’s very time-consuming and all voluntary! Now my Arts Council England project is over, I can’t justify carrying on regularly without a bit of help. So, if you’ve been enjoying Taking The Tradition On and you’d like to help, please sign up! I’m hoping it will be a space where people can get more involved in my work – giving feedback on work in progress, suggesting guests you’d like to see interviewed and topics for podcasts.
A Gig in a Theatre With People in the Same Room!!!
I’m really looking forward to being In Conversation with Simon Heywood talking about Duncan Williamson and Scottish Traveller Tradition. Lots of Duncan stories, songs, riddles and a few clips of the man himself. There are 25 spaces in the theatre, but don’t worry, you can still come on Zoom 7.30 – 9.30pm The Quad, Derby Free Event – but you need to register – https://www.derby.ac.uk/events/latest-events/travelling-together/
Digitising Duncan – stories and conversations
My year of working with Duncan’s tapes is drawing to a close – and I’ve been giving various performances and talks to share his stories, memories of apprenticing with him and what I’ve learned. Here are two you can watch online: The World Storytelling Cafe and The Wonderland Festival – there is about ten minutes of terrible waffle at the beginning, so skip that – it’s not my video I can’t edit it!)
Lead Creative Schools Online
I’m delighted to announce that I’m going to be running an LCS online project with visual artist, Sara Holden, and Hay-on-Wye Primary School. This is a great time to play and experiment. Everything is new, there are no rules as to how it should be done, so it is a real opportunity to think creatively and find inventive ways to use what we have. Can’t wait to get started! Sara’s artwork is beautiful – made of found objects, often inspired by the sea – you can see a few highlights of her work here and here
Bag Books Lifeline Appeal
I am the Bag Books storyteller for Shropshire, Mid Wales and North Wales. It is an organisation I am incredibly proud to be part of. Bag books are specifically designed for children and adults with profound multiple learning disabilities. They enable all people to experience the emotional journey of a story. I am constantly overwhelmed by the reaction of participants when I use Bag Books – teachers and carers constantly feedback about the surprising level of engagement; of unexpected eye contact; being much calmer with someone they don’t know than they would have expected, the list goes on and on.
My most moving moment was telling ‘What Am I’ – a story about all the animals at the zoo. One girl listening was repeating all the sounds and particularly fell in love with the oinking pig, ‘It’s a pig! Look a pig!’. This may not sound like much, but her teaching assistants were almost in tears, the girl rarely spoke and they had never heard her put a sentence together before.
Bag Books are featured on the BBC’s Lifeline appeal – and you can see the short programme here
World Storytelling Cafe
The world storytelling cafe is an amazing venture, bringing storytellers from around the world into your living room. You can now see my set of fairies, flowers and trees filmed in the May bluebell woods at the cafe here.
Storytelling Club at Newtown High School
This Wednesday 25th September I’m starting a new weekly afterschool storytelling and art club at Newtown High School for 9-14 year olds. It’s part of fantastic Heritage Lottery project masterminded by Mythstories Museum of Myth and Legend. it’s going to be fun, friendly and could even make you famous!
Overview: ‘The Enchanted Wood’, a collection of Montgomeryshire folk tales was published by The History Committee based at Newtown High School in 1947. A copy of the book was given to every child in Montgomeryshire. Mythstories Museum of Myth and Legend have been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to celebrate the culture contained in this book and to give all children in Montgomeryshire access to their traditional culture and heritage through a digital resource available to all schools within the county. Our part of the bid is to work with young people from the school that first published the book to create videos of them telling the stories through a variety of media
The Storytelling and Art Club The project is for young people, 9-14 year olds to take and retell the stories from ‘Montgomeryshire Folk Tales – The Enchanted Wood’ to create a digital resource for Welsh young people to access and appreciate their oral heritage. We will work with them to develop their skills so that they can tell the stories in their own words, voices and media to their peers.
The young people will develop their storytelling and presentation skills – but there is wide scope for how they finally video and present the stories! Options could include telling a story straight to camera; creating videos with the story voiced over on vimeo; stills of children’s artwork voiced over by the children, stop animation, but there are plenty more!
How the club will run The club will take place in the art room on Wednesdays from 3.45-4.45pm. It will be open to years 5-9 and help to transition younger students into the High School. It will run weekly until February 2020.
We hope to hold exhibitions of the students’ work towards the end of the project both within school, at Newtown Library and online.
We would also like to hold performances to friends and family/within school/ at the library.
A number of videos will be generated of the students telling their stories, either straight to camera or through voiced over artwork. We also plan videos/audio interviews of the students’ experiences of working with the stories. Sam, Amy and Helen will put together packs of activities used during the project
These will all form part of the online resource of Montgomeryshire stories and ways to engage with them.
Creative Agent for Black Lane Primary School
Over the next two years, I’m going to be working with Black Lane Primary School as their Creative Agent as part of the Lead Creative Schools scheme.
I’m really excited to part of the LCS. I had a great time working as a Creative Practitioner at Bryn Collen – and hope to be involved in more projects as a practitioner. As the Creative Agent I will be working very closely with Black Lane helping them through the process of designing, delivering and evaluating the best project for them.
Education in Wales is undergoing some major changes. The emphasis is going to be much more on child led learning, active classrooms and creative teaching. It’s so exciting to part of a system change that is not frightened to talk about idealism, individualism and put the child at the heart of the conversation.
Shropshire Folk Tales for children
I’ve been asked by The History Press to do a collection of Shropshire’s folk tales for 7-11 year olds. It’s due out April 2018 and I’m having great fun working on it – I’ll be looking for child guinea pigs through 2017!
Facebook – Amy Douglas Storyteller
I have finally succumbed and joined Facebook. I have a page there which has more regular updates than my website. I am very aware that this website needs a revamp! Hopefully you will find the information on here useful, though the site itself needs a bit of work – and always feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Storytelling World Award Honors
I’m delighted to announce that my book, Shropshire Folk Tales has received honours in the 2014 Storytelling World Awards http://storytellingworld.com/2014/
My book is a personal celebration of the richness of story, history and tradition in the county – but it is an oral tradition – and these are tales I have learned as a storyteller. So, to go hand in hand with the book, I am offering storytelling performances of some of the tales retold in the book.
Traditional stories were usually for an adult audience – if the children were good they might be allowed to stay up and listen! The stories reflect human nature and the wildness of the land – there are stories of war and murder; love and marriage (not necessarily hand in hand!); wistful yearning and moments of magic; wise women and drunken tricks; heroes, heroines and fools.
Site Specific Performances
Many Shropshire stories are linked with a specific site and there is a powerful resonance when telling the story of a place in situ. I am very happy to tell stories in situ and to lead story walks from specific sites. In the past I have worked with the storytelling festival, Festival at the Edge, the storytelling museum, Mythstories, and the Shropshire Hills Shuttle Buses on day tours of Shropshire story sites.
Keystage 2 ‘HiStories – Is that really true?’ Telling stories from different periods in Shropshire’s history; putting them in a timeline; discussing what folklore can tell us about history – can we work out what is true?
Foundation and KS1 – ‘Sleeping Giants and Hardworking Fairies’ Under the hill is a sleeping giant. But what else is hiding in the rocks and clouds? The fairies take care of the world around us, and reward those who help them –but if you make them angry, then everything goes wrong! How to help the fairies in our own lives and make spaces to invite them in. Traditional tales to springboard the imagination and create stories for your own outside space.
Ideal for forest school or any outdoor space – whether giant sized or perfect for a petit fairy.
Performances of Shropshire stories either in school or in situ.
Workshops on storytelling, creativity, confidence, presentation and performance.