Jan Blake

Jan Blake

Jan Blake’s career as a storyteller began in London 1986 with common Lore Storytellers and Musicians. In January 1987 Ben Haggerty of ‘The Company of Storytellers’ introduced her to the International Storytelling circuit, when she performed at the 2nd International Storytelling Festival at Waterman’s Arts Centre, London. Since then she has gone on to become one of Europe’s leading female storytellers, specialising in West African and Caribbean folktales. Jan has toured Arts Centres, theatres and festivals the around the globe. She has also worked extensively in London primary schools and Universities, running storytelling workshops and training for children, students and teachers alike.

International storytelling highlights include:

  • The 2nd & 3rd International Storytelling Festival, London South Bank.
  • “Beyond the Border” St Donat’s International Storytelling Festival ’94,’97, 2002, 04.
  • The Dunya International Storytelling Festival Rotterdam Netherlands,
  • The Black Spirits Festival Netherlands
  • International Storytelling Festival Holon Israel,
  • International storytelling Festival Lejre Denmark,
  • ‘Stradshouwburg’ Eindhoven, Netherlands,
  • International Storytelling Festival @ The Karen Blixen Museum Denmark,
  • Oslo International Storytelling Festival.
  • Stockholm International Storytelling Festival.
  • The Buenos Aires Book Fair, Argentina 2000 & 2002

Jan is constantly in demand as a teacher and performer. Her warm and inspirational approach to teaching often makes her the first choice for storytelling workshops for experienced and apprentice storytellers alike. In partnership with the renowned Norwegian Storyteller Heidi Dahlsveen, Jan opened ‘A Body Of Words’ Storytelling School Oslo in April 2003.

As well as being an associate and trainer with Threshold Communication & Training and tradesecrets, Jan is a regular contributor to the BBC Radio 4 as a storyteller and commentator on African & Caribbean folklore and has recently worked with presenter & broadcaster Adrian Chiles, on developing his storytelling skills for his Monday morning programme. She is sometimes an actress and, as Jan Alphonse has worked extensively in both theatre and TV over the past 20 years, working with Victoria Wood, Michelle Collins & Dawn French in BBC television dramas. In November 2004, Jan was privileged to be asked to perform stories in the presence of HRH Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall (then Camilla Parker Bowles).

At present Jan is working on her long term schools project Bedtime Stories, devised to help children develop storytelling, embroidery and communication skills. Westminster Council has funded this innovative and inspirational project.

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