Tanya had the kids’ full attention from the get go. I have to admit that I can’t convey in words what Tanya does. Tanya’s gift at theatrical story telling is something I have never seen before, yet the world needs so much more of.
Tanya opened the session with an Indian story that was sung by her and the kids. It had an amazing beat, with great actions, the kids really loved being involved in the story.
Tanya told us the tale of her childhood. When she was younger she wanted to be a superhero or a Jedi Knight, but ended up being a storyteller, which in my mind is a quite like a superhero anyway. She showed us her house, including a picture of her outside composting toilet which she calls her Princess Poo Tower. We saw pictures from her international travels. Tanya showed us a picture of her truck called Little Red Riding Truck, which has sadly broken down recently. We learned about all the ways that Tanya is involved in storytelling in New Zealand. Tanya told us her hobbies are yoga, hula hooping, hanging out with her grandparents, gardening, fishing and doing crazy things like riding her pink electric bike around the farm chasing pigs. The last thing is something I must try.
Tanya shared an African story about why rocks live for ever. It started with a couple of turtles from way, way, way, way, way, way back in time. They wanted to have children, but had to give up their immortality. Tanya kept the kids very much involved throughout the story. She gave brilliant imitations of various animals in the story.
Tanya told the group another story about faeries. A woodsman featured in this one. She continued to involve the children in the storytelling process, asking them questions about fairy tales, characters and what they would wish for if they could. Tanya has this gift of relating traditional tales to current ones, switching from the original story to a present day situation without interrupting the flow of the tale.
Tanya was asked if the sounds affects in her stories are real, she turned off the microphone and showed them they were. She was asked which was her favourite book, and how long has she been storytelling for. One insightful child asked her what she would wish for. Tanya wished that everyone could find a job that they absolutely love and can make a living from. Her other wish was to understand all the languages in the world.
When the session had ended, a lot of the kids were trying to make all the different sound effects that Tanya made. I can imagine that the bus trip home was quite noisy.
To find out more about the amazing worlds that Tanya conjures up through storytelling, visit her website here.