Wednesday 7 March 2012

Exploring storytelling: From The Crow's Nest to The Turnip Princess

It seems like I've been gone for ages, so I'm delighted to be back hosting the St. John's Storytelling Circle this Thursday, March 8th, at 7:30 pm at the Crow's Nest Officers Club. If you haven't been in the Crow's Nest before, it is a great space, one of my favourite hidden gems in St. John's. The open mic storytelling circle has been running there every month (except Decembers) for the past six years, and you never know what you'll hear.

Over the years, a group of regular storytellers has evolved, who tell tall tales, ghost stories, personal narratives, and recitations, but it is a rare night when there isn't someone new who gets up and shares some kind of story. All kinds of stories are welcome; the only rule is that stories must be told from memory rather than read from the page. Come out, and chances are you'll hear a story you've never heard before. Tickets $3 at the door.

I've been working for the past few months on Brothers Grimm material with my friend Delf Hohmann, who hosted the Storytelling Circle in January. Therefore, it was with delight that I read something that had been posted on Facebook by local performer and author Sara Tilley, about five hundred new fairytales which have been discovered in Germany.

A collection of fairytales gathered by historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth has been locked away in an archive in Regensburg for over 150 years, a collection which is now re-emerging.  According to the article in The Guardian, in 1885, Jacob Grimm said this about von Schönwerth: "Nowhere in the whole of Germany is anyone collecting [folklore] so accurately, thoroughly and with such a sensitive ear." Coming from Jacob Grimm, that is a huge compliment, and I look forward to seeing the entirety of von Schönwerth's work.

Many of von Schönwerth's tales are not yet available in English, but you can read one quirky little story already, The Turnip Princess.

1 comment:

Brian "Fox" Ellis said...

Thank you Dale! I had heard of these tales and it was a pleasure to read one! I have taught a graduate course on GRimm in Germany taking 25 American teachers on a tour of the Fairy Tale Road. I have also been performing as Wilhelm mixing the stories with historical and political context. SO This link is a real gem. Thanks. Brian "Fox" Ellis Fox Tales International