Born in Scotland, I studied German Language and Literature at the University of Edinburgh and Theatre Directing at the Academy of Dramatic Arts Ernst Busch, Berlin. I was inspired by the forum theatre of Augusto Boal and his teams by the people for the people in the suburbs and favelas of Rio, Brazil. I went on to direct participatory Theatre- and Storytelling Projects in Germany, Scotland and for several years with the indigenous peoples of Laos, South-East Asia. I established a business in 2013, as a professional storyteller based on the Scottish model, and coach with a specialisation in autobiographical and thematic storytelling. I am also a cultural manager of participatory and intercultural storytelling projects, often involving life music, and manage the Syrian Tarab Band MUSIQANA, which I co-founded with Syrians in exile. Since 2015, I have been the moderator, curator and artistic director of the Storytelling Arena.
I perform my own storytelling programmes in English, German and Lao language with other artists and musicians. Apart from being a fantastic evening's entertainment, our stories link the past, present and future, and make a smooth transition from the local to the global.
I am also the Vice-Chairperson of the "Erzählkunst e.V" - The Art of Storytelling Association, which represents storytellers in Berlin and nationwide in Germany.
Since my early 20s, I have been running interactive arts events involving stories and live music. In 2015, I created the Storytelling Arena with this purpose, where in the space of an evening, first professional storytellers, then audience members tell stories on the theme of the event. We often have musicians as guests, and some evenings spontaneously close with everyone dancing.
Storytelling is the most democratic of all the arts. It is a joy to use it to inspire and empower others.
Stories to inspire and create community
I grew up, surrounded by storytellers in Glasgow, Scotland: the people around me – from my half-Irish, half-Scottish father, my cousin from Chicago, North America, my often tipsy English teacher to the actors in the mobile theatre troupe TAG: they all knew how to tell interesting stories in a warm-hearted and lively way. I can remember how I felt while listening: Their stories hugged me like a warm blanket on a cool night. Like many Scots, I believe in the power of community and the ability of the individual to actively shape it. I learned growing up, that when you use both your head and heart when telling a story, you can create a special connection between people. Listening is also an essential part of a storyteller’s craft – and by listening we gain insight and experience into other peoples’ lives and become better communicators. Storytelling is solidarity in action. My Glasgow roots have also influenced my attitude when coaching: I firmly believe that everyone is special, that everyone has a story worth telling, and the world needs stories – yours, mine and ours!
Life writes the best stories - tell yours.
Diploma in Theatre Directing
Theory & Practice, The Academy for the Dramatic Arts Ernst Busch, Berlin
MA Degree in German
German language and literature. Subsiduary Subjects - French and Business Studies, University of Edinburgh, Scotland (MA, Hons; 2:1)
- Psychodrama Instructor - Psychodrama Forum Berlin (2015)
- Trainer of Trainers, TOT, IHK Berlin, AEVO tested and certified (2015)
- Trainer of Trainers Intercultural Knowledge (IKAP Thailand / SE Asia, 2007)
- Forum Theatre (Partizipatory, Thematic), Centro do Teatro Oprimido,
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil (2001), Artistic Director: Augusto Boal
- Giant & Multi-Sized Puppet Theatre on Global Themes
Bread & Puppet Theatre, Glover, Vermont, United States
Artistic Director, Peter Schumann (Germany), 2001 and 2017
Works (Current Programmes)
Storytelling Programmes thematic – intercultural - participatory
STORYTELLING ARENA – autobiographical storytelling stage on the themes of our times.
The Syrian Series – Tandem Storytelling in Arabic-German, Arabic-English, every month,
plus guest performances in diverse venues in Berlin, Brandenburg
With audience participation. 20 performances in 2016 and 2017.
Zeitgeist Berlin Series – Stories in English and German, Audience participation “Safe haven open mic”. 10 performances in 2015.
EVER SEEN GREEN – Storytelling-Theatre on Climate Change
Premiere in June .2017, with 2 Storytellers and 1 musician,
New real-life stories and live music from USA and Germany.
RICE GOD ROCKET – Stories from SE Asia
True and autobiographical stories, and Legends (Palm Leaf Books)
With the singer, Hatphasay Simmavon, in Thai/Lao, German and English.
WILD TALES - a storytelling journey round Scotland
True, (auto)biographical stories from the past and the present.
And ancient legends re-told for our times.
With accordion player, Georg Losch.
Bilingual in German and Scottish-English 😉 (with International English translation).
Manager of MUSIQANA
MUSIQANA – Syrian Tarab-Music from Berlin
Co-founded the band as a result of voluntary teaching work with refugees
40+ concerts in 1.5 years in Berlin-Brandenburg
Concert at the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Hall, December 2016
Release of their first CD El Helwa Di, The Beautiful One, end of 2016
Intercultural work, integration work
Organisation, Administration, Marketing, building and maintaining contacts to the music industry and many intercultural organisations
PR, Social Media Management, publicity texts, artists agent, documentation,
Voluntary Work as German Teacher for Refugee Starter Courses in German
From 10.2015 – 02.2016 in a school and refugee home in Ludwigsfelde, Brandenburg. Students: 40 Syrians, all new arrivals. Out of this arose the Storytelling Arena – Syrian Series and the band MUSIQANA.
WORK ARCHIVE (Selection)
Love Shivers – Stories of Flaming Encounters
Urban Love Stories with Berlin author, Kathrin Schrader from 2013 – 2016.
Luk Khampa – The Orphan Child, a Lao-German Story
With professional puppeteers + citizen actors, concept, directing, devising (2012)
Workshop leader and Coach for Storytelling & Theatre on Global Themes
Engagement Global bis Ende 2015 bei NGOs, Organisationen
Participatory Theatre with Migrants and Germans
Forum Theater (after Augusto Boal's famous interactive theatre method)
Yankari Afrika Restaurant - with MUMM - Migrantinnen und Migranten als Multiplikatoren, VIA Verbund für Interkulturelle Arbeit, Berlin,
Performances in Refugee Homes in Berlin.
We move worlds - with VIA in Berlin, Performances at Festivals,
e.g. Kenako Afrika Festival, Local district festivals, Pangea Haus
Mobile European Citizens State (Europäische Bürgerbühne)
2050. FLASHBACK. CHANGE
Cooperation with the Athens City Festival, Performances at Athens University
Theme - Solidarity within Europe, Sustainable Future Visions für Greece
CHORUS – WE ARE ALL GREEKS
Solidarity within Europe, in Berlin Cultural Centres.
JOHANNES AND LAURA AT THE CASINO
The origins of the financial crisis, at Berlin Cultural Centres
10.2011 - 06.2012
BERLINER BeNGEL - Metropole Musical (Berlin Angels)
with 80 young people (8-18 years old) with 20 social workers, in 8 districts.
Devised play, the lives and stories of the youths formed the basis for the play.
Member of Artistic Directing Team at Youth Theatre Göttingen
Theatre in Education Programme Manager for youth and adult audiences
Dramaturgy & Intercultural Cooperation Coordinator Mother Africa by Ad de Bont, Director: Gernot Grünewald, with Nanzikambe Theatre Arts, Malawi '
Themes: Colonialism, overcoming racism and prejudice. Other tasks:
Running Audience Discussions and Workshops.
Woyzeck, by Georg Büchner; Director Alexander Krebs, Themes of Production
Dance Performance on the theme of Social Isolation, Unemployment
Fully Loaded A film project, in cooperation with the AWO Göttingen, Anne Frank School Rosdorf und LONESTAR PRODUCTIONS GÖTTINGEN, in Lower Saxony.
On the theme of the consequences of debt and how to avoid it.
In Two Dogs View Meng Jinghui (China); For 2 actor-clowns
Dramaturgy, Rachel Clarke; Director Dirk Böther, Thema: Migrant Workers in China
All together forever Guus Kujier (Holland)
Themes: Intercultural Communications, Christians and Muslims, First Love,
Theater Festival Ways to Freedom Theatre in Education Programme Manager
For the Junges Theater Göttingen, 20 years since the Fall of the Wall,
At the Borderland Museum Eichsfeld
Lauschen wie der Reis wächst,
Acoustic Moon Club, Storytelling-Bühne mit Live Musik,
Theater Eigenreich, Berlin
Theatre & Media Project Manager and Advisor / GIZ
- Main Focus: Participatory Community Arts Projects
Tools: storytelling, theatre, radio and documentary film projects
Encouraging self-determined community development building on
Integration traditional and local knowledge, and modern science.
- Integration of diverse minorities and indigenous language and cultural groups
- Themes of interventions: GIZ Programme: Markets and Business, Reproductive Health, Drug Prevention, Gender, Participation,
- GIZ / German Society for International Cooperation – in the context of a programme for rural development in South-East Asia.
- Cooperation with 18 Government line agencies in 15 districts and 3 provinces
- Diplomacy, intercultural sensitivity and communication and language skills required while working with all levels of society from village to national level in a Buddhist and Animist culture undergoing a transformation process from a rural to a market economy.
- Aufbau von 5 mobilen Teams mit indigenen Bauern und thematische, partizipative Theaterarbeit in lokalen Sprachen
- Themen, die dem Leben der Bevölkerung betrafen
- Erhalt der Biodiversität, Lokale Ökonomie, Tierzucht, Landnutzung, Landrechte, Gender / Frauenrechte, Kindererziehung, Reproduktive Gesundheit, Landwirtschaft
- 14 Theaterstücke in 5 Sprachen, Tourneen in Täler und Bergen
- 10 Tausend Zuschauerinnen, Publikumsgespräche in lokalen Sprachen
- Im Auftrag GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit / BMZ) in Südostasien.
- Das Erlernen der Thai-Lao Sprache
- Sammlung von Lokalen Geschichten und ihre Verwandlung in Aufführungen, Radio-Beiträge und Doku-Filme für ein lokales Publikum.
- Projektadministration, Budgetierung
- Koordination mit 6 verschiedenen Regierungsbehörden auf Distrikt- und Provinzebene
- Storytelling und Theater als Werkzeug zur Diskussion und Strategie-Entwicklung in der kommunalen Entwicklungszusammenarbeit.
- Local Action Research, Lokales Wissen, Lokale Geschichten
- Zusammenarbeit mit Bauern verschiedener indigenen Gruppen.
- Organisationsentwicklung, Fundraising, Verhandlungen, Diplomatie
- Gründung der ersten von indigenen Bauern geleiteten Nicht-für-Profit Organisation des Landes, CAMKID, die bis heute arbeitet.
- Diverse Projektkonzepte, Realisierung und Abwicklung mit INGOs:
- UNIDO, Brot für die Welt, The Canada Fund, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe und lokale Organisationen wie RRDTC Rural Research and Development Training Center und GAPE.