Jenni has twenty-eight years experience as a professional storyteller, four award-winning story albums, seventeen years experience teaching storytelling and several years experience teaching online. She is Australian, and lives with her two nearly grown children in the seaside town of Ballina on the east coast, just south of Byron Bay.
The looooong version:
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. Jenni toured Australian schools for seven years as a member of the mediaeval and Rennaisance ensemble ‘Pastance’ singing and telling stories, as well as touring solo for Nora Goodridge Management in Sydney. Currently, for school bookings in the Gold Coast and Brisbane areas, contact Speakers Ink. For all other enquiries regarding performances in the Northern Rivers area, contact Jenni directly. Discover testimonials and details of preschool and school shows on Jenni’s Performance page, see a gallery of images or watch videos.
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’ and then developed “Stories for a More Beautiful World’. Jenni loves evolving and adapting her teaching to suit the context of what is happening in the world and the makeup of each group she teaches. She aims to build on what worked well, while incorportating feedback to constantly improve anything that could work even better.
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
A trained secondary teacher, specialising in English, she has taught storytelling to teachers, librarians, parents and children since 2003. 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 and 9 students run by Equity and Diversity. She taught storytelling to pre-service teachers through the Education faculty each summer session and is also a Guest Lecturer for SCU Occupational Therapy students.
Jenni tells at environmental rallies and creates tailor-made tales for community events. She began teaching environmental storytelling in 2015 with mentorship from US storyteller Dr Fran Stalings. Jenni was on the Board of the ‘Healing Story Alliance’ and initiated a new page on their website: ‘Healing the Earth’.
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.
Stories in the Club
Jenni established and curated ‘Stories in the Club’, for two years, which was a monthly community concert in her then hometown of Mullumbimby, near Byron Bay in Northern New South Wales, Australia. The Club continues under new leadership and Jenni attends as a supporter.
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’ from 2017 to 2019 and ‘Golden Tales’ since 2016.
She is also a trained facilitator of ‘Joyality: a program for personal and planetary transformation’.
Jenni is a trained labyrinth facilitator, understands labyrinth design and construction and together with artist Jacquelina Wills as ‘Sacred Circle Labyrinths Byron Bay’ has made several ephemeral 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.
Stories on Foot: Tales of Byron Bay and the Rainbow Region
Jenni settled in Mullumbimby near Byron Bay in 2000 to raise her two children. She began researching the history of the Byron Shire and for a year offered storytelling walking tours for small groups along the Byron foreshore: ‘Stories on Foot: Tales of Byron Bay and the Rainbow Region’. The feedback was consistently enthusiastic and heartwarming.