in Our Backyards?
was a child of elementary school age, my free time was spent in
my backyard. Mr. Stoviak down the street sold large appliances
(TVs, refrigerators and the like), and he would let us take the
thrown out oversized boxes and make them into whatever our imagination
was capable of…spaceships, barns, even schoolhouses. My
mother hung clothes across the yard and even to this day, I am
fascinated by the imagery created by a dress lofting in a breeze.
When she ran out of room, she would hang the rest of her wash
on our back porch between two wooden poles. And that gave me another
idea. One day, I gathered the kids in the neighborhood and in
my first directorship, we put on the play of “Cinderella”on
my backyard porch, substituting those now dry clothes for some
flower-printed sheets for our rising curtain. This was my first
experience in marketing as well, as we put up our handmade posters
on telephone poles in a 3 block radius. The show was a sell-out,
as all the parents paid our 5 cent fee to support and reward our
foray into the arts.
Lately I have
been reading Twyla Tharp’s book , The Creative Habit.
In it, she asks the reader to ponder their first creative moments
and how those moments were received. These experiences in my backyard
were mine. And I will always be thankful to Mr. Stoviak and neighbors
like Mrs. Pence and Mrs. Uber who were my strongest supporters….and
of course my mother, who willingly offered her domestic territory
for a moment of child’s play.
I have been
thinking a lot about backyards lately, as technology, booked up
schedules and commitments steal our time to dream and create.
Additionally, school budgets are such that opportunities to witness
“live” creativity is being stolen from children. In
addition to performances and artist-in-residencies that I bring
to the schools, I wanted to do more. So I went out in to the Ventura
community to see where performance art was happening and where
it was lacking for both children and adults. As a result of these
efforts, I am proud to tell you about the following new
Storytelling workshop offered at Ventura Adult Ed. Whether
you be a teacher, librarian or parent and are involved in reading
or telling stories, this 8-week program will help you to bring
your stories to life with an overview in theater basics for storytelling.
Starting September 29th from 7:30-9 p.m. at the Ventura
Adult Education building on Valentine Road. Go to www.vace.com
first Tellabration (see www.Tellabration.org)!
Celebrated around the world every November, guilds and storytelling
enthusiasts share their storytelling talents in concerts held
in cities and towns to celebrate the art of storytelling. Locally,
TELLABRATION! brings together each area’s most celebrated
storytellers, to delight, captivate, and mesmerize audiences with
their tales. Our first year lineup includes the following local
storytellers who collectively have performed at the Ojai Storytelling
Festival, the National Storytelling Conference and the LA Storytelling
Festival: Alina Cinal, Jeremy Fay, Don Houle, Dorothea Phelan
and me! Please join us on Saturday, November 21st at 8 p.m.
$10 at the door. Bell Arts Factory, 432 Ventura Avenue, Ventura,
CA. Proceeds will go to fund an April Southern California Storytelling
Swap being held in Ventura this year. More news on that in a future
Storytelling Theatre. I am actively seeking space to
bring storytelling talent to children in a Saturday morning program.
Keep your fingers crossed as I continue my search!
Village Voices. Also starting in January, this quarterly
Sunday night adult venue will bring in some of the area’s
most talented storytellers. Highlighting one or two tellers each
quarter, performances will also be held at the Ventura Improv
Theater Space at 34 N. Palm Street in Ventura (near Main Street).
Performances will be the 2nd Sunday of each month from 4-6 p.m.
and will be held in January, April, July and October. Cost will
be $10 at the door.
Ventura County Storytelling Guild Meets the first Thursday
of the month at Bell Arts Factory, 432 Ventura Avenue, Ventura,
CA from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Storytellers of all levels welcome. Bring
a 10-12 minute story to share and a good set of ears. For ages
18 and up.
And as always,
I would love to bring a backyard performance to your school. Please
visit my website at www.embodiedvoicestoryarts.com
for program information or call or write at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope that these backyard
offerings will improve our own and our children’s exposure
to the performing arts at an affordable price. Here’s to
playing in our backyards once again!