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I am delighted to be mentoring Gemia and Abby. I put them together for the NLB’s Mother Tongue Festival in March 2014 and was so impressed with their debut performances at Woodlands Regional Library. As you can see in the video, they have a wonderful natural rapport - the dialogue zings back-and-forth almost like cross-talk. Although they work out a skeleton for the way they want to treat each story, the dialogue itself is largely improvised, and as a result, their energy and playfulness is palpable. As Gemia and Abby are both experienced freelance actresses, they bring an intuitive theatricality to their storytelling: they know how to use the stage and to give/take focus with each other.

At the outset, I provided them with some ideas and props - hats and tangram pictures for example - but they instinctively took them and used them in creative ways I had not anticipated and now they are developing their own ways of presentation independently and my role is merely as a third eye offering feedback and asking questions to help sharpen, clarify or stretch their telling.

I recommended them to the PINKS festival in Penang, where they made their international debut most successfully in November 2014, and in the process introducing themselves to some of the leading names in Asian storytelling. I am sure seeing other tellers in Mandarin (such as Uncle Fat from Taiwan) was both encouraging and inspirational for them.

I am happy to offer Gemia’s solo storytelling programme in Mandarin to both kindergarten and primary schools as an approved NAC-AEP programme (eligible for 50% Tote Board funding).  She will tailor both the selection of stories and the level/amount of Mandarin to suit your audience.  Please contact her directly to discuss your requirements.  

As part of my contract with the National Library Board in 2016/17, I am offering sessions in Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.

I am blessed to know a number of highly entertaining bi-lingual tellers whose style is visual enough that even mono-lingual members of the audience are able to follow the story with just a few cues in English.

Mandarin        Hope & Jade

(aka Gemia Foo & Abby L Kahei)

Malay              Juriah Atan

                        Adib Kosnan

Tamil              Jeeva Raghunath

                        Grace Kalai