Award-winning professional storyteller and storytelling coach, Jenni Cargill-Strong trained at The Drama Action Centre in Sydney in a range of performance skills, specialising in storytelling, nearly thirty years ago. A trained secondary teacher, specialising in English, she has taught storytelling to teachers, librarians, parents and children, and university students.
Jenni’s passions and expertise are focused on stories of place, stories to celebrate the earth, stories to heal, to strengthen community and myths which express the divine feminine. Her involvement in activism lead her to begin teaching environmental storytelling. However, as the essential principles in her workshops applied to change-making of many kinds, she expanded into ‘Storytelling for Changemakers’.
Jenni curates ‘Stories in the Club’, a monthly community concert in her hometown of Mullumbimby, near Byron Bay in Northern New South Wales, Australia. She is also a trained facilitator of ‘Joyality: a program for personal and planetary transformation’.
Awards and recordings
Jenni has recorded and self-published five award-winning albums for children and adults under her label, The Story Tree Company. Her third album ‘The Story Tree and other nature tales’ is a collection of ancestral and original nature tales and her latest and fifth album ‘Reaching for the Moon’ is about building character and resilience, based on tales collected by Elisa Pearmaine. The album won it’s category in the World Storytelling Awards. Jenni has presented a teleconference,for the Healing Story Alliance, of which she was a Board member, on her approach to environmental storytelling.
Jenni won the Brisbane heat of ABC Radio National’s Story Slam ‘Now Hear This’ with her original tale ‘The Mulberry Tree.’
Her stories and songs have been featured on radio in the U.S. ‘Apple Seed radio’ and locally on ‘The Bohemian Beat’ on 99.9 BAY FM Community Radio and she won a songwriting competition at the National Folk Festival.
Workshop leader, teacher
In the academic realm, Jenni has worked at Southern Cross University (SCU) since 2009. Her roles have included being a featured presenter for UniBound Hero’s Journey program for Year 7 & 9 students run by Equity and Diversity. She teaches storytelling to pre-service teachers through the Education faculty each summer session and is also a Guest Lecturer for SCU Occupational Therapy students. Jenni is a trained secondary teacher, specialising in English and worked as a casual English teacher for four years, during which time she taught Advanced HSC English. Jenni has been teaching storytelling to teachers, librarians, parents and children since 2003 and university students since 2007.
Jenni tells at environmental rallies and creates tailor-made tales for community events. She began teaching environmental storytelling in 2015. Jenni was on the Board of the ‘Healing Story Alliance’ and initiated a new page on their website: ‘Healing the Earth’. She is currently completing training as a facilitator in ‘Joyality: a program for personal and planetary transformation’.
In 2017 and 2018, Jenni has worked as an MC at the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival and the GREENHouse venue, Woodford Folk Festival. She has also been MC for ‘Stories in the Club’ since 2017 and ‘Golden Tales’ since 2016.
Stories on Foot: Tales of Byron Bay and the Rainbow Region
Jenni settled in Mullumbimby near Byron Bay seventeen years ago to raise her two children. She began researching the history of the region and offering storytelling walking tours for small groups along the Byron foreshore in 2016: ‘Stories on Foot: Tales of Byron Bay and the Rainbow Region’. The feedback has been consistently enthusiastic and heartwarming. See testimonial videos, read Trip Adviser reviews here or listen to our ‘Stories on Foot’ Bay FM sponsorship announcement here. Jenni currently offer two tours: a three hour morning tour and a two hour afternoon tour.
Stories in the Club
Jenni co-founded the Byron Circle of Tellers who convened ‘The Golden Tale’ local storytelling concerts for a year in Brunswick Heads, and in August 2017, with the support of multiple community partners including political think-tank ‘The Ngara Institute’ and ‘Creative Mullumbimby’, she began curating monthly concerts in Mullumbimby called “Stories in the Club”
Drama and singing training
Jenni discovered storytelling at ‘The Drama Action Centre’ in Sydney, where she studied dramatic arts full time from 1990 to 1991, with Bridget Brandon as Director. The course had a psycho-dramatic basis and students created an original group performance in response to a provocation each week. The classes encompassed Commedia del Arte, Clown, Bouffon, Neutral and Basle Mask, Storytelling, Dance, Improvisation, Playback Theatre, Chorus, Mime, Character, Voice, Le Jur, two large-scale performances and an individual project, as well as communication and facilitation training. Jenni’s graduating performance, a 45-minute rendition of the myth cycle of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna, was polished by international director, Neil Cameron. Jenni trained in singing privately and with Frankie Armstrong in the calling voice.
Jenni is a trained labyrinth facilitator, understands labyrinth design and construction and together with artist Jacquelina Wills as ‘Sacred Circle Labyrinths Byron Bay’ makes labyrinths for local events and has installed a permanent one in Brunswick Heads. She loves to hone and perform stories in nature and within, around or near labyrinths.