Storytelling is ubiquitous — across all cultures, over all time, in all parts of the world, it communicates our shared humanity and is expressed in many ways, from the written to the visual.

The Glen Eira Storytelling Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary and opens Saturday 19 June until Sunday 4 July 2021.

The Festival will continue to embrace storytelling in all its forms for all ages and interests: through exhibitions, concerts, cabaret, theatre, comedy performances, Your Stories pop-ups, film, discussion panels, talks, open mic sessions, art installations and more. Because of capacity limits, many events will also be live-streamed for you to enjoy from the comfort of your home.

Personal stories inspire. As a household name, storyteller, lawyer and broadcaster Jon Faine AM ‘talks back’ about his life, peers, achievements and challenges. Mike Rolls has lived through one of the world’s deadliest diseases and multiple amputations. He draws upon his resilience to embrace ‘uncertainty’ and share the benefits of a positively inspiring ‘What’s Next?’ mindset.

Two local and prolific Creative Couples: Mitch Vane and Danny Katz (Little Lunch series, also on ABC TV) and Fiona Harris and Mike McLeish (internationally award-winning web series The Drop Off recently acquired by Channel 9) present on living, working creatively together and apart in venues of personal significance: Glen Eira Town Hall and Rippon Lea Estate.

Local Glen Eira sites will be activated with pop-up projections from the Your Stories project collected from the people in the community during the pandemic.

Panels resonate powerfully. The Power of Empathy combines diverse voices from award-winning writers Tony Birch, Melanie Cheng and Arnold Zable and curator Moya McFadzean of Museums Victoria. Hope in an Envelope explores stories retold through letters housed in the collections of the Jewish Museum of Australia and Jewish Holocaust Centre.

In music, two outstanding artists feature: Kee’ahn, a young Kuku Yalanji, Jimbai and Badu Island songbird who honours her ancestors through soulful melodies, and veteran songstress, five-time ARIA award-winning artist Katie Noonan.

Jude Perl, singer-songwriter-comedian returns to the Festival with her latest show Participation Award.

Tim Ferguson, of the legendary Doug Anthony All Stars and popular comedic performer, has joined award-winning writer Chris Thompson and composer Geoff Willis to create Billie & The Outback Dinosaurs. Billie lives in regional Australia, and likes science, history and geography, but she likes best tinkering with old junk to make new inventions. When Billie runs away from school to escape being picked on by Rodney and his gang, she stumbles across a lost valley: home to a world of Australian dinosaurs! Orchestral music, animation, movement and storytelling collide.

 That’s a classic! is a special comedy series at Classic Cinemas. Fiona O’Loughlin and Richard Stubbs will feature over two sessions among familiar faces. Also, at Classic Cinemas the Festival will celebrate the role of carers in our community with a free viewing and chance to connect with other carers at the movie Never Too Late.

Kristilee hosts the 10th anniversary Open Mic at On Top Bar in Ormond and Sonder Bar in Bentleigh. New to the Festival, Queerstories promises unexpected tales, stories of pride,  prejudice, resilience and resistance, delivered with warmth and humour by some of Melbourne’s finest storytellers.

Monday Morning Cooking Club uncover the food-obsessed Jewish community’s heirloom recipes alongside moving stories with well-known food communicator, Dani Valent.

Telling Tales exhibition at Glen Eira City Council Gallery investigates literary themes and storytelling using books as its central motif. Featured artists such as Penelope Davis, Nicholas Jones and Tai Snaith, engage with narrative through painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, collage and altered books.

A bold new addition is Butterfly House a magical installation/collision of art, technology, performance and sustainability by Melbourne’s acclaimed performer educators Born in a Taxi at Glen Eira’s newest outdoor venue, the Carnegie Community Space. Visitors will be drawn toward a giant glittering cabinet full of fluttering butterflies crafted from repurposed materials. This installation celebrates the miracle of metamorphosis and transformation in our own lives.

The full program will be released late-May 2021.

The Glen Eira 2021 Storytelling Festival opens Saturday 19 June until Sunday 4 July 2021.  Full details:

Image: Catherine Smith Photography