Janice_14I was born and brought up in Northern 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 deepened my connection to nature through working 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 on a biodynamic 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 stories 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 Finn 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.

At the end of 2017 I moved back to Northern Ireland, settling in the Glens of Antrim. Since then I have been staying close to nature by working in an organic garden while establishing myself as a professional Storyteller here. Since returning home, I have done sessions for children all over County Antrim and beyond, and worked in schools, libraries, bookstores and with a variety of community and folklore groups. I have really enjoyed telling stories for those with dementia under the auspices of the Alzheimer’s Society, and have also entertained pensioners at numerous lunch clubs and friendship groups. I have been a guest Storyteller at Yarnspinners groups in Bangor, Lisburn and Tullycarnet, and led storywalks in the forests of the Glens. Currently I run an informal monthly storytelling session in Glenarm. I am enjoying reconnecting with my roots and bringing my stories to new audiences.

Please contact me if you would like me to bring stories to your special event or put together a programme for your group, performance space, or special time of year.

Tour Guiding

I have re-registered with the Northern Ireland Tour Guides Association and am currently guiding tours around Belfast and County Antrim, among other places – storytelling in a slightly different format! If you are interested in this aspect of my work, you can visit my profile on www.nitga.co.uk or contact me directly.

© 2015-2023 Janice Witherspoon. All Rights Reserved.