Missive from Mt Macedon

It is true, I am on a campaign to build a storytelling and story listening community in the Macedon Ranges, and in particular a storytelling community centred on contemporary autobiographical storytelling.

So far in my quest I have told a personal tale at Mount Players, a 100 seat theatre in my home town of Macedon, run some introductory workshops, and with the help of Jackie Kerin, Suzanne Sandow and Peter Fernon, had a ball telling and spruiking and slamming at the Macedon Ranges Sustainable Living festival.  

All of these events have chipped away at people's understanding, experience and enthusiasm for storytelling in the Macedon Ranges.

The story I told at Mount Players was about my teenage friend Vicki and the time I helped her and another girl, Diedre run away.  The story was videoed and you can watch it here.  The feedback from the performance was heart warming, with one woman saying it brought a tear to her eye as she thought about her Dad.  To be able to touch someone else’s life with a story from my life is very satisfying. 

Next up were the workshops and thanks to Jackie Kerin for her great support, the first workshop could go ahead with one signed up participant and Jackie!   Then at the last minute a woman arrived un-booked; she had seen me tell at Mount Players and was inspired to want to do the same thing!  A big whoop and air punch from me. 

The workshops were so much fun.  It was great to be able to put into practice and verbalise many of the things I know and have learned about personal storytelling, and create fun and interesting exercises that get people thinking, talking, telling and crafting.

At the end of each session, after all the hard work and talk, I sat back and listened to people tell stories about their lives.  There were stories from East Timor, the centre of the Australian Continent and Holland, stories about a trapped cat, the steps of the Australian Parliament on November 11, 1975 and a marriage dissolving in fits of laughter.  It was moving and oh so rewarding.

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Running these workshops, I realised people struggle to commit to multiple dates so I will now offer a Level 1: “this is what its all about, see if you like it” introductory workshop of 3 hours.   If participants want to learn more, they can do Level Two, a one day intensive workshop that builds on from the introductory session.   

I have now set dates for these workshops to be run in Riddells Creek and Woodend in August, September and October.  And while I haven’t set a date yet, the plan is to culminate all this activity with a performance night in November.