A warm welcome to my storytelling blog

Thank you for looking at my blog.
Stories can please, thrill, delight, enchant, challenge, distract, tease, disappoint, anger, charm, patronize, disgust, beguile......
But I personaly believe thay can do no harm.
I would be delighted if you were to leave feed back.

22 Sep 2009

Clinical Governance

I presented Storytelling and what I have been doing in the Hospital to the Clinical Governance group today. I told Arthur Ransom's story Baba Yaga from Old Peters Russian Tails. It was quite a relaxed hour with other professionals discussing the effect of Storytelling on patients with complex emotional needs.
We discussed what storytelling is: A beginning, a middle an end. A sequence of events. They are about characters. They organise chaos, but they are more than that, they are a way of conveying emotions. This was discussed and it was thought that being able to talk about emotions in a safe and impersonal way is of value in a forensic mental health hospital.
In applied storytelling in contrast to performance storytelling it is not about the teller or a competent performance so much. It is the story and the emotional content that is the most important.
When asked if I would be interested in telling stories on various other wards my response was positive.
It would be an exiting and interesting challenge to tell stories to patient who may be experiencing quite a different set of difficulties to those I am telling stories to at the moment.
I hope those who listened this afternoon enjoyed the hour and hope too that they will leave some feed back.
My next task is to write an article for 'Quality Network For Forensic Mental Health Services'
Not to mention the performance storytelling I will be doing in October for Halloween.

17 Sep 2009

Hospital Storytelling Clubs

I've just got back from the hospital where I facilitated two storytelling Clubs. The first one was just after the patients had had there evening meal. Five of the women took part. We started with a few riddles to warm up the brain and then did some physical warm up. We then imagined a light ball, about as big as a foot ball and gently threw it around the circle to each other. The patients in this group have been taking part in the storytelling club for about 18 months so feel quite comfortable with the concept of storytelling. In last months club we decided to start the 'Norse Mythology'.
Since February this year I have been reading the Norse Mythology and getting to know the Gods and Goddesses. In the past week I have concentrated on the creation part only. Because the creation is a lot of description I decided to use the percussion instruments and the thunder maker so as the patients could use them to add atmosphere to the burning ice and biting flame at the beginning of life. Some of the gods and goddesses have been introduced to the club. Norse Mythology will continue till Christmas when we will review what we want to do. i.e. more mythology or wonder tails, legends, folk tales. The verbal feed back from the patients was positive and everyone in the group took and active part.
After the Female ward I went to the Male ward. There were also five patients that took part. This was only the third time storytelling had taken place on this ward, so it is still quite new to them. We did the physical warm ups and checked to see if we were all feeling OK. Then I told two stories. The first was Bear Skin. A German wonder tail. The second was a request of a story I told the first time: 'When The Squirrel and the Fox Where Friends'. A story from Daniel Mordens 'Dark Tales From the Woods' Following the stories there followed a bit of a chat about the stories and one person was telling a new person to the group about other stories that had been told so far. Then it was 'fag time' and the patients went to the smoke room. I enjoyed telling, and they seemed to enjoy listening.
Good night for now.

13 Sep 2009

The Onion Fayre was very well attended, we even had some people stop by to listen to stories!
In the three sessions there was around 35 listeners. Mostly children. The room was nice and cosy despite it being quite big. We all brought cushions, rugs and throws etc to sit on. There was quite loud music outside to compete with but once absorbed in the story it didn't seem too bad. I really enjoyed telling the 'Stolen Turnips' which I did successfully turn into 'Onions' for the day. I wonder what vegetable they will be next time? It was great to be there with other storytellers (six of us) and share the day. Every one seemed to have a good time.

11 Sep 2009

Newent Storytelling Club

Just got back from the storytelling club in Newent.
Stories told were: The Copper Pot
How the Badger Got its marks
How the King chose his Heir
The Bear in the Forest
The Bramen Town Players
I told 'The Stolen Turnips' Kirsty from the club thought it might be a good idea to turn the Turnips into Onions just for tomorrow. Good idea, I think I will.
Once again it was a fun evening with plenty of food and drink and well told stories. Everyone seems to be well prepared for the Onion Fayre tomorrow. I'll tell you all about tomorrow evening. Good night!

8 Sep 2009

This week

This week I will be telling stories at the Newent Onion Fayre with the Newent Storytellers. Sat. 12th Sept. in the upstairs function room of the George Hotel, Newent. There are three slots:


The stories I am working on for that are:
The Stolen Turnips. (Arthur Ransome)
The Twelve Dancing Princesses. (Grimms Brothers )
The Speedy Messenger (Russian Tails Collected by Aleksadr Afanas'ev)

I'll be telling stories with Fiona Edie a fellow storyteller and friend. I'm sure you will hear a lot more about Fiona as the blog matures.

5 Sep 2009

The story so far.

As a child I was read to a lot by my parent and grand parent, so stories are not new to me. However, I only became aware of the power, the joy, the thrill and the enchantment of storytelling as an adult in spring 2008 at the age of 37. I was at work in a Medium Secure psychiatric Hospital, nursing on a female ward. One day I was in the Intensive Care Unit with two colleagues nursing a patient. The patient told me she was feeling board. I asked her if she would like to listen to a story, she said she would................Help! I thought to myself, I can't remember a whole story! But the pressure was on I had to tell a story, I didn't have a clue what I was doing and just started with 'Once upon a time' then I dug deep into my memory and out came 'Baba Yaga' a story from 'Old Peter Russian Tails.' I told it with lots of 'ummmmmms' and 'aaaaaas' It took about 10 minutes. At the end the patient continued to look at me and then said: 'Can you tell it again'. I told it again but this time more fluently and with a bit more detail. Inside I felt as if I was smiling and the rest of the shift passed by peacefully enough. Just before I went home the two colleagues that had also listened to the story whilst in the Intensive Care Unit said they had enjoyed the story and were very surprised how well the patient had sat and listened and concentrated.
When I got home I put storytelling into a search engine and found a whole world of storytelling.
A short time later I went on a weekend introduction course to storytelling at Emerson College, Forest Row.
Back on the ward the psychologist was looking for inspiration for a group activity as part of a group she was running. I suggested storytelling. So, every week for six weeks I told a story at the end of each group. I used 'The King of Ireland's Son' I realised then that a week was not very much time to prepare a story, but the expectation was only to fill 15 - 20 minutes.
When the six week was up, to my surprise some of the patient asked if I would continue to tell stories..........Needles to say I wanted to. With the support and help from other staff on the ward I started a storytelling club with the patient. I used a book called 'Telling Tales' by Steve Killick and Taffy Thomas, for guidance and to find out about other things to do in a storytelling group, and used warm up exercises. we would sometimes light an imaginary fire to sit around.
Over the past 18 months the storytelling club has been introduced to Dr. Elinor Kapp, who kindly came and told stories to the club on a couple of occasions. The patients held a raffle and with the money some percussion instruments were purchased to use during the group.
The club takes place now on two wards (one female ward one male ward) in the hospital on the last Thursday of each month in the evening. The stories being told are Wonder Stories, Folk Stories, Legends and Myths. The patients have also told stories, some made up by them selves and some they already knew or learned especially to tell for the club.

2 Sep 2009


Hello, thank you for looking at my Blog. I tell stories in various places and to various audiences. The main place is in a medium secure psychiatric hospital for adults. Both on a female ward and a male ward. I have told stories in a bookshop, at festivals and soon will be telling in a museum for Halloween. I would like to take storytelling to as many psychiatric hospitals as possible, both secure, medium and low secure, rehabilitation, community settings. I have been nursing in Mental Health for over 15 years, and believe that storytelling is an excellent form of communicating emotions in a safe and fun way.