How can we remember to remember?
Stories trace a line from the beginning of time,
to keep in mind what guides mankind.
When our brains strain to comprehend our collective journey,
How we got ourselves into
and may find a way back through this tangle,
A story gives a handle.
Like a candle it illuminates
our coming and going,
Our folly and unknowing.
So we may use mistakes for growing.
It leads us to those regions
where our allies wait in legions,
to deliver us to freedom
in the winking
of a dragons
'Subtlety and depth of meaning, delivered with masterful and engaging artistry.' Paul and Rebecca Webster
'Magical and mesmerising.
Would hold the attention of someone with ADHD.’
Stories entertain, educate, uplift, reconnect and amuse us. I love telling for all these reasons but what drives me most is the desire to inspire wonder in the natural world. I enjoy exploring how landscape, human psyche and folklore all reflect each other and I am inspired by the power of stories to mirror our own journey and help us along the way.
I have a back catalogue of stories to draw on for any occasion or audience. I tell stories for children and adults and have shared tales in a wide variety of settings from theatre stages, schools and cosy campfires to nature reserves, woodlands, carehomes and festivals. I particularly enjoy working in the wilds.
In addition to informal storytelling I have created a number of storytelling shows.
The Star Child
Y Seren Plentyn.
By Oscar Wilde
Two woodcutters are lost on a cold winter’s night, reason to be fearful indeed. But it doesn’t do to be always looking down, even in a crisis and when the woodcutters turn their gaze skywards, they see something miraculous; a star shooting to Earth. A gift? Gold? Or is it something far more precious than that?
Discover for yourself and join the adventure of The Star Child as he navigates through pride and selfishness and embarks on a journey back to the heart.
Milly Jackdaw presents the story with her usual theatricality and with the assistance of her Magical Hat Box from which emerges a snowy cottage, a golden cloak, a tattered beggar, stars and jewels and musical things. Enough to tickle your imagination and bring to life a whole universe.
Just the thing to warm you up for Christmas!
Tales from the Cauldron/ Chwedlau o'r Pair
Milly Jackdaw and Cath Rigler present an interactive, theatrical performance where you get to step into the action. With storytelling at its heart, this brewing of Welsh myths and folktales includes music, puppetry and fiery surprises.
A hungry girl forages deep, deep in the wild woods and a strange encounter leads her to unimaginable wonders and mysteries. Will you follow her there? Will you join us around the fire as we open a great book of spells and bring to life sleeping giants, courageous birds, wise witches and fleet footed boys? Will you add your special ingredients to the pot and help us give it a good strong stir?
“So, gather round the cauldron’s rim,
And do not fear to peer within,
As we inhale its earthy scents,
We’ll follow where the ancients went . . .”
As seen at Aberystwyth Storytelling Festival 2019.
Troll Tales Told to Dahl.
Sit upon my rug of wild imaginings to sample invisible delights and gross ingredients from the larder of Roald Dahl's stories. What will it be for you? Spaghetti of the invertebrate variety, a magic potion intended to transform you into small a rodent, a piece of an exeedingly large juicy fruit? Whilst enjoying your picnic and before horrendous indigestion sets in (or you turn into a mouse) you will be treated to some scrumptious tales.
Roald Dahl spent his childhood summer holidays with his family in Norway, where his Grandmother told him folktales populated with one eyed trolls, friendly giants and child eating witches. These darkly absurb, often grotestque and magical stories clearly influenced his writing.
I serve up tales from the Norwegian folk tradition of butterball boys, forest trolls, headless hags and wily foxes, where folk shift shape and resourceful young hero's outwit the wicked . In between I sprinkle extracts from well known Dahl stories and invite the listeners to spot the connections. Get it right and you win some Invisible Chocolate (honest).
Can also be booked with story writing workshop. See Workshops.
Artwork by John Bauer
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals.
There was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
Storyteller Milly Jackdaw teams up with experimental, sound artist Stu Hampton to bring you shapeshifting stories, songs and sounds that will stretch your perception of who you are and have you checking for paw prints on your garden path. Delving into the European Langobardic legends, dallying with rats and ravens, from London and the outer Hebrides we enter worlds of shifting forms and scandalous surprises where love knows no boundaries and even death is transformational..
For anyone aged 12 and over
Artwork by Juliane Hundertmark
The Snow Queen
Adapted from the original story by Hans Andersen.
'Every single way of describing awesome.' Jorge age 7.
'Excellent - Masters of your trade.'
'. . superb performance - no need to go to the West End - stay in Wales for a fantastic show.’ Audience feedback.
With the crystal beauty of a snowflake and a heart as cold as ice the Snow Queen awaits. Those who see the world with the innocence of a child are beyond her icy reach but he, whose vision is distorted by the dark mirror, may find himself in her power. Gerda’s love for her missing friend Cei spurs her to undertake a long and dangerous journey. Through many strange lands she travels, encountering mysterious folk and magical creatures, never losing hope that she will succeed in her search. But even if she finds him, how will she bring him back from the frozen realm of the Snow Queen? Milly Jackdaw, Vee Robinson and Jo Vagabondi with the help of a large hat box, an umbrella and an assortment of found and made things, bring you a theatrical performance in which storytelling and puppetry play against a backdrop of sounds and music to transport you to the lands of the northern lights. For children over 5 and their families.
Photograph by David Kyle.
Adapted from the origional story by Hans Andersen
“A fantastic performance! It brings the imagination to life! 10/10”
“Will inspire creativity in young minds.”
“A magical combination of story and sound; entrancing throughout.”
“I was swept away and brought back grinning from ear to ear.
“A very enjoyable and polished performance – all ages were engaged.”
“A feast for the senses, beautifully delivered.”
Of all the great wonders in the splendid kingdom of the mighty emperor of China, nothing can compare to the song of the nightingale. She enchants all, even the emperor himself who treasures her beyond anything, until . . . a new arrival changes everything.
“Who needs a thing of nature when you have a more reliable and supersonic creature?”
Storyteller Milly Jackdaw and musician/sound specialist Victoria Robinson present a colourful, new adaptation of this well-loved, classic tale. Milly weaving rhythms and rhymes with words with Victoria conjuring atmosphere and character through sound and music.
So settle down and let their enchanting soundscapes and melodies lead you down flowering paths, over stepping stones and into beautiful and mysterious forests. Here the story will unfold through the eyes of Su Li, the lowest of the emperor’s servants, who none the less discovers where lies the greatest power of all . . . will you?
A timeless tale told just in time
to guide us from the ridiculous
back to the sublime.
Suitable for children age 7 and over
Photograph by David Kyle
Tell it to the Trees
What are trees? Woody fingers pointing at the sky, giant breathing machines, squirrel playgrounds? Perhaps they are even more than all these things, standing there so still through all our comings and goings. What stories might they tell and what might we tell them?
Tell it to the Trees is a storytelling performance presenting 3 tree stories told by Milly Jackdaw, with music by Peter Stevenson.
The Royal Secret – Welsh Folktale concerning the keeping of secrets and how even the trees have ears!
The Blossom Tree – From China. A beautiful story of friendship, trust and the many great gifts of the trees.
Tortoises Dream – A charming, funny story from Africa following the trials and tribulations of a group of animals each keen to prove themselves in their quest to find the first fruiting tree.
Suitable for children over 5.
Artwork by Peter Stevenson
The Mermaid & the Selkie
'An entrancing, engaging and entertaining performance. I was awe-inspired by your talents, the magical web of wonder, nature and sustainability that you wove for us and the artwork was sensational’
‘Like magic but better.’
‘The structure of the story and the performers’ delivery was such that simplicity of means coincided with subtlety and depth of meaning. The combination of voice, movement, music, and projected illustrations was seamless and was delivered with masterful and engaging artistry.’
The Mermaid & the Selkie is a unique, multisensory, theatrical experience. Images, words and music come together to create a layered landscape where truth and fantasy dance, where the unlikely meets the fantastical. Imagine if you will a live graphic novel, a Magic Lantern Show for our times. It features over 300 original illustrations created especially for the show by well know children’s book illustrator Peter Stevenson. These moving and often humorous images tell the story of the meeting of two misfits in a mixed up world - an eco activist mermaid and a lovesick selkie, and explore themes of the human/nature connection, the state of the seas, love and identity. The storytelling, songs and poetry of Milly Jackdaw weave word spells through the visual enchantment and the whole is wrapped in a full musical score with piano, guitars, banjo and concertina created by Peter, Milly and musician Orion Hart. Fishy puppets and the world’s worst fish jokes complete the recipe.
'...It was something unlike any other something for though it had the fleshy form of a seal it was not, could not be. There, tangled in the twisted net were long fingers....’
Artwork by Peter Stevenson
Oh what wiles and silky smiles,
What power to heal, outwit and enchant.
There is none like the fox to lead you astray,
Along the wild path to where fairies dance.
Badger is lost and lonely. Can foxes stories warm his heart, make his belly wobble with laughter and his steps spring with dance once again? They may do the same thing for you. Find out by joining us for a fox trotting gallivant through three foxy tales, featuring the Magical Lanternarium: The Fire Fox, The Little Blue Fox, Fairy Foxes.
Storyteller Milly Jackdaw, illustrator/musician Peter Stevenson and their Magical Illuminarium, present a new, musical, storytelling adventure. Once again combining their unique talents in storytelling, music, physical theatre and visual projections they conjure imaginary worlds, weaving tales of magical missions, shapeshifting and tricksters. Prepare to be lead astray down the winding woodland paths in true Illuminarium style.
Suitable for children age 5 and over.
Artwork by Peter Stevenson
Stories with Wings Brave Girls & Celtic Kings
Ailsa and Milly combine artful storytelling, original music, poetry and songs to give a performance experience that works on many levels, stimulating the imagination and indulging the senses. It brings new light to tales from ancient mythology making it accessible to people of all ages and bringing out contemporary relevance.
'With a circling of birds, the cauldron stirs and something occurs inside...'
3 stories featuring birds and with an emphasis on nature created and presented by Milly Jackdaw in collaboration with uniquely talented cellist/singer/composer Ailsa Mair Hughes.
'Honeyangel'. The story of Melangell, a princess of Ireland who flees an arranged marriage and finds herself in Wales. Here her passion for wildlife and protective instincts inspire an act of great bravery. This performance vividly evokes the immense beauty of the ancient woods and hills, filled with animals and those who hunt them.
'Branwen's Starling'. From the 2nd branch of the Mabinogion. A refreshing and dramatic adaptation of this classic Welsh myth, with an emphasis on the role of Branwen and her relationship with a starling.
'Pigeon in the Cathedral!' Written by Ailsa Mair Hughes and based on a real life experience. During an orchestral/choral performance in the Basilique de St Denis in Paris, a pigeon is trapped inside the cathedral. This humorous and wonderfully musical piece explores the experience from the pigeon’s point of view.
An enchanting brew to lift the spirits, open the wings of imagination and take you on a flight of fantasy.
Artwork by Peter Stevenson
The Glogglestar Choir
Down on the farm the turkeys are getting fat for Christmas. It sounds very exciting and Walter reckons the fattest of them will go there first. Gloggle is not so sure. Could it be that Christmas is not a big turkey party? Could it be that kindly farmer Makelin has a less happy surprise in store for them? Join Gladys, Gloggle and Walter as they learn to face the truth and draw on their hidden talents to create a brighter future.
Written and devised by Milly Jackdaw with original music by Ailsa Mair Hughes (cello) and Peter Stevenson (banjo, ukele), and featuring unmissable turkey vocals. Together we vividly evoke the winter landscape and the sounds and smells of the farm taking a turkeys eye view to tell the tale of how one bright turkey dares to rise above the crowd and see beyond supper time.
A light hearted and uplifting treat enjoyed by adults and children of all ages.
Also including The Night Troll, a traditional tale from Iceland of things that go bump on Christmas night and how to get the better of them.
Artwork by Peter Stevenson