Janice_14I was born and brought up in N.Ireland, where my interest in storytelling grew out of working as a Blue Badge tour guide in the 90’s, telling stories of place and landscape. In the early 2000’s I went to live in the Findhorn community in the north of Scotland, where I worked in the gardens and told stories of the Celtic seasonal festivals.

In 2009 I moved to Sussex, where I trained with the International School of Storytelling at Emerson College, and then integrated my storytelling with my work as a gardener on a community farm, where I developed rituals with story to celebrate the seasons of the year, and told stories to visiting groups of schoolchildren.

Since then I have worked as a professional storyteller in many places, from community centres to church halls, cafes to cowbarns, polytunnels to old people’s homes, as well as at schools, arts centres, children’s parties, village fairs, farm open days and interfaith services. I have told to everyone from the very young to the young at heart and have experience of working with women’s groups and the disabled. I have performed a special story as a gift to one person and to over 300 people at the Universal Hall in Findhorn.

My repertoire draws deeply on my Irish heritage, the mythical cycles of the mighty Cuchulainn and the bold Fionn McCool, as well as tales of saints like Columba and the fairy folk but I tell traditional tales from other cultures as well. My love of nature has led me to include tales of the seasons, trees and flowers and I have co-led a storytelling club for children exploring nature with stories. I write my own stories and tell some autobiographical tales too. I enjoy using story to build community and connection and believe that as well as entertaining, storytelling can be a powerful transformative tool.

In October 2016 I moved back to N.Ireland and am enjoying re-connecting with my roots and telling stories to new audiences.

© Janice Witherspoon. All Rights Reserved.