Professional Storyteller

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Toby Eccles
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  • Healesville, Victoria
  • Australia
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Professional Storyteller is a network for people who work in the field of oral storytelling. Please write a brief paragraph about your work.
I tell stories from around the world - folktales, mythology, legends, anecdotes and history - but my particular interest is zaubermarchen (wonder tales / fairy tales) collected in Australia. There aren't many of these, so I also tell traditional stories from Britain, Ireland and many other countries from whence people have come to live in Australia, imagining how the stories would change once they had spent a few generations in Australia, put on an Australian accent and idiom, and developed a relationship with the land and culture of Australia.

I tell stories in schools, libraries, folk festivals, local storytelling circles/guilds, and anywhere people will have me. I often play traditional Australian tunes and songs on the anglo-german concertina to give a musical accompaniment to my stories.

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At 7:25am on December 21, 2013, Toby Eccles said…

I'm just getting the hang of this site. I tried writing all this in the 'Latest Activity' section, before I realised I had gone over the word limit somewhat. So here's the full answer to 'What are you up to?' :

I'm preparing an Irish-Australian version of 'The Blood Brothers' (ATU 303), part of a much longer story told in 1967 by Simon McDonald of Creswick in Victoria (usually called 'The Witch's Tale' - there's a recording available from The National Library of Australia in Hugh Anderson's tapes of McDonald's life story [Simon McDonald/Anderson NLA ORAL TRC2105], and if you're interested in Aussie marchen, you can order them online and they'll send you a copy on CD).

I'll be knocking it into tell-able shape by telling it to my young sons every day for around three weeks so the rhythms of the words, gestures and phrases can emerge and get locked into memory. I'll see if I can find places in the story where some of the Irish-Australian tunes Simon McDonald played on his fiddle will fit - character leitmotifs and incidental music.

Got to wait till after Christmas. It's all carols and nativity stories at the moment in our house. Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas/Solstice/whatever you do... :)

At 2:53pm on December 19, 2013, Lois Sprengnether Keel (LoiS) said…

G'day Toby!

Welcome to Professional Storyteller.  May our international membership help you in the search for these zaubermarchen.  I'm sure you do a great job of transforming them.  (Dare I call it Aussie-fying them?)  There is a group here, Storytellers in Australia, that you may also find a help. 

I, too, play concertina, a bit, to add occasional musical accompaniment to my storytelling.  I keep hoping eventually someone will start a group related to music with storytelling.  (As assistant administrator here I feel all too often visible and figure if there's a need someone will start it.  If not, then maybe it's not needed.)  Maybe after you feel at home here, you will want to do that.  Either way, I wish for you a productive membership here.




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