"Become aware what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it, produce it and give birth to it." - Meister Eckhart

02 May 2014

The Teller and the Tale with guest storyteller Allison Galbraith

Storyteller Allison Galbraith
Born in England to Scottish parents, Allison now lives in Lanark, south of Glasgow. [She also has Canadian connections -- her great, great grandfather Hugh Campbell emigrated in the 1920s settling in my hometown of Hamilton Ontario. His sister later married into the Emslie family, so if there are any Emslies reading this or listening to the show next week, get in touch.]

Allison started storytelling back in the 1980s when she started telling stories to Travellers' children in the Midlands. Since then, she's taken her passion for storytelling all over the UK. She has a wide repertoire of stories and accents with which to tell them. She loves nature stories and revels in tales of the faery folk from the Celtic tradition.

Learn more about Allison and her stories, beginning next week (beginning May 4th, 2014) on the Teller and the Tale on Blues and Roots Radio (www.bluesandrootsradio.com). Sunday at 12noon BST (UK/Ireland), Wednesday at 1am BST (UK/Ireland) and Thursday at 9pm BST (UK/Ireland). Check Blues and Roots Radio for times in your area.

Listeners of The Teller and the Tale asked 3 questions of our storytellers. Read on for Alison's answers.

1. What called you to storytelling?

In my first proper job - a part-time, community librarian - I used to entertain the local travelers' children, by reading them stories in the dinky one-room library. It was a very sad, rough depressed part of Wolverhampton, and these kids used to abscond from school and come into the library to see me. People were generally awful to these kids, they suffered from a lot of prejudice, and I've always had a huge instinct to support and love the underdog, no matter what, animal or human! So reading stories in the library was my first attempt to tell a story as part of a job.

When I moved to Glasgow in 1988, I was lucky enough to meet, befriend and share several flats with an American woman named Kate Kramer MacDonald. Kate had come to Glasgow as a musician and storyteller, and she opened my eyes to the world of story as an art form in its own right. Kate herself, had learned from a First Nations woman from the Ojibwa tribe in Minnesota, where Kate lived for some time in her own Ti-pi. Inspired by Kate I went on to tell stories for Glasgow libraries in the early 90s. I then spent a fantastic weekend learning to tell with the Conyach (travelers word for heart/soul), with a famous Scottish traveler and singer, called Sheila Stewart, at her home in the Highlands. At last I had learned to put the books down and tell the story, ''Eye to eye, heart to heart, mind to mind' (traveler saying).

Through the various transitions in my career, storytelling has always been present, as a performer, theatre director, dancer, drama lecturer, and finally - now - quite plain and simply as a freelance professional storyteller and workshop leader.

2. What was the last story you told?

I have been telling Spring stories outdoors (yes, outdoors in Scotland in March!) for the last four days. The last story was to a about forty toddlers, wee children and their parents, and is called, 'Two Birds in a Beard' I learned this from a CD by Mary Medlicott, a lovely Welsh storyteller. Its a very funny tale about why birds build their nests in trees and not beards - I always have some fun with anyone in the audience sporting a beard with this one.

3. Who's your favourite storyteller?

My favourite storyteller is probably Hugh Lupton, although I still have thousands more tellers to hear before I can really make my mind up for sure. I adored Duncan Williamson, while he was still alive and telling.

Thank you, Alison!

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"We have received only very positive reports of your workshop, and must thank you for being so flexible and responsive both before and in the course of implementing the workshop. It has been lovely to work with you. . . . We are hopeful this project will give rise to future storytelling endeavours, and would be very happy to work with you again if the opportunity arises!" Muireann Crowley, At Home in Scotland, University of Edinburgh, May 2014 ("Storytelling, Research and Public Engagement" workshop)

Michael Williams is a a storyteller of compelling skill. He is also a fine human being who engages in all situations and draws people into the warmth of communication and shared experience." Donald Smith, Director, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh Scotland

"Michael's understanding of storytelling within a leadership and business context has helped us provide a great service in helping leaders determine their personal and organisational destiny and legacy. Working with Michael is inspiring and fun; and pulls you to be fully engaged from start to finish." Norton Bertram-Smith, Managing Director and Leadership Consultant for On Purpose.

Kamink: the little boy who grew into a giant of a man

Blues and Roots Radio

Blues and Roots Radio
Check out my weekly storytelling radio show, The Teller and the Tale on bluesandrootsradio.com.

Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland
I'm grateful to Creative Scotland for its support.