I’m often asked this question by adults and children who have enjoyed one of my performances or workshops. I usually start to answer the question by saying, “Well it’s a bit of a long story.” So here is that story.

I think my love of stories started when I was very young. I grew up in Brisbane and Maroochydore in South East Queensland. I can remember as a young child sitting on my Aunty Jean’s front verandah in Lade Street in Gaythorne and listening to her read ‘Pookie goes to the circus’ and ‘The Muddle Headed Wombat’. I can also remember listening to Kindergarten of the Air being broadcast on ABC radio with my sister and cousins.

The traditional Brisbane excursion to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. My Dad is the one on the right.

Dad's the pair of legs in the front with my sister Jan on top.

My father was a baker by trade and a fun loving musician by heart. He was always looking for ways to enjoy life, whether it was playing songs on his mouth organ as he drove us back from some beach or bush picnic or winning fancy dress competitions at the Surf Life Savers Club. He taught me that being creative was a part of a life worth living.

Another big influence was that wonderful ABC radio program ‘The Argonauts’ with its theme story of the Odyssey. I would lie down on the lounge room lino with my head next to the radiogram in the old house next to the bakery in Gaythorne and listen away to the stories and conversations and join that band of happy rowers.

There was usually a radio serial after the Argonauts as well - something like ‘The Adventures of Hop Harrigan’ and once again I’d be off in some ‘story-space’ living an adventure in my mind.

For sometime after that however, life got a bit more serious for a while - school, university, jobs. I created a few adventures though and things became pretty exciting at times. I got used to 'performing' as a media spokesperson for environmental campaigns like 'Save the Barrier Reef' that I was helping to ‘fight’ along with many others.

Other times were a bit frustrating . It was during one of these frustrating phases, while I was working as an Unemployment Benefits Clerk for the Department of Social Security, that a friend pointed out a job advert for a position as an actor with a Lismore based theatre company.

Well I acted my way into the job and enjoyed nearly 12 months of performing with the Nomads Theatre Company touring Queensland and New South Wales schools with a primary and a secondary show. Probably one reason I got the job was that I had previously done some training and performance as a free improvisational clown. Clowning was a real buzz when it went well but quite dangerous when it didn't. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I found, however, that I could clown with the characters I was acting in the plays we were touring and I really enjoyed it.

When the tour finished I thought, ‘Wow. That was great. Where is the next acting job?’ Well of course acting is very competitive. I auditioned for quite a few positions but didn’t get any work.

I decided to get some more training and enrolled at the Drama Action Centre in Sydney under Brigitte Brandon and Francis Batten. What followed was a razors edge course of training in community theatre. In an old hall in the grounds of the Rozelle Hospital, we studied and practised a wide range of subjects such as clowning, storytelling, circus skills, movement, dance, voice, group dynamics, com media de l’arte, mask and much more. I came out of those two years feeling like I now had the skills and confidence to generate or take on a whole range of theatre possibilities.

What I did do was start storytelling. I began performing in Sydney in kindies and libraries and on tour throughout NSW country schools. After a couple of years of storytelling performance experience it was clear that there was a need and a market for storytelling workshops for child care workers, teachers, librarians and students, so I created some workshops and added them to the toolkit.

Now over twenty years later I’m still enjoying storytelling. The business survived relocation to Brisbane, my home town, and continues to grow.

I now do a lot more different types of storytelling apart from the regular performances. For me, now, storytelling includes community cultural development projects using storytelling, story creating, performance and publication to enable individuals and groups to rediscover their creativity, self worth and pride.
I enjoy work as a narrative consultant in school class rooms presenting teachers and students with different ways of teaching and learning about stories and the narrative structure.

Stories are every where however and recently my expertise has been used by state government departments in planning, promotion and major project assessment exercises.

I've also run Effective Communication training workshops for a number of corporate clients. It seems like I’ve come a long way since listening to stories read to me as a child. The journey is not over yet however. I’m still learning about stories and how to keep on performing them in fresh, involving ways.

© Daryll Bellingham, 9/3/2002

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Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller
P.O. Box 5300, West End, Q4101, 
Brisbane, Australia
Tel. 61 (0)7 3846 3135
Mob. 0417 478408
Email. mail@storytell.com.au 
All contents copyright © 2002, Daryll Bellingham. All rights reserved.
Revised: 7th August,2005
URL of this page: www.storytell.com.au/become.html