Iris Curteis: Oral Storyteller

I am an oral storyteller. 

Story is a living encounter, something to behold, not a fossil pressed into the bedrock of a culture forever unchanging. Its a meeting between souls – yours and the inhabitants of the tale– human and other-than-human. Story is about learning a language of bark-skinned words that won’t quite settle on the tongue and leave rock-grit between your teeth. It demands attention; listening and learning the language of water-flow over stones, wind-breath through treetops and the ayres of stars that have sung you and your body into existence over lifetimes. Story is word-magic that unseals heart-thinking.

Stoytelling is the act of stepping across a threshold into liminal space and being prepared to follow a numinous path of un-certainty. Nothing is guaranteed; anything can happen.Once you deliberately untie the neat knot that binds ‘logic’ and ‘reality’, you’ll meet the old woman, gnarled as an ancient yew tree, with her large, noisy, fierce flock of white geese. Un-certainty will take you to the edge of the forest where she’ll gather wild berries, apples, mushrooms. Un-certainty will entice you to make your way deep into the wood where bears, wolves and wild things without names lived, and side-by-side, you’ll gather all manner of herbs, barks, leaves and roots. Stand with her listening to the whispered talk amongst the trees, stone-word-scatterings and moss murmurings, soil secrets and wisdom shared between ant and eagle.  

We earn heart thinking through Story; we learn that nothing exists alone and diversity is cherished and endlessly created. We learn Eucatastrophe, The Shattering Joy – and in casting aside certainty we think folktales in new ways and find a powerful ally through which we can creatively meet environmental, social and technological challenges with our full humanity, our striving to build healthy communities, and our desire to honour this Earth. 

Once we really experience this, we overcome the cycles of slow repetitive reductions imposed by so-called civilising processes. Stepping across this threshold, tending to our capacity for shapeshifting, our dying and becoming, in every moment anew, we find the devotion and the free-space in which we can gather and care for the crystalline bones of our spiritual lineage, and, through story rites of passage, rebirth ourselves.

Telling a story means: I am willing to take risks, lose my way. Even though I set out to tell, I might have to surrender, follow the tale’s path as it ducks, weaves and drifts from mouth to ear, and leads me to sights it’s never revealed before. Story is always new. It is fair to ask: who is telling who? This act of telling is a malleable living encounter that draws me as teller and you as listener into liminal space, beyond the reach of the clock; time stands; still; intervals between notes, windowsinto Otherworld, gaps in the woven fabric of words appear, inviting or compelling us to step, fly, squeeze or fall through …  

Storytelling is the narrative version of mycelium, cradling our soul-world in a web of interconnected images. As mycelium moves nourishment between different trees, Story moves nourishment between people. 

StoryVision is about this encounter – the in-sight we gain when we perceive life through the aether, tone and ayre of Story. What we discover are new ways of knowing, cunning-compassion that creates sustainable futures, and wisdom that creates thriving communities because we understand: every individual life is a work of art. 

What I can offer:

I offer storytellings, rewilding and restoring workshops, courses and intensives. 

My tellings are generally intended for communities with mixed age groups, unless otherwise indicated. My workshops, courses, intensives are created to address particular themes and topics, open and accessible to all. 

Some are designed to meet more particular needs, like those of professional and special interest groups, educators, community -, aged- and palliative care, youth work and organisations working with or interested in cultural-social change.

All workshops, seminars and courses are available on request Australia wide. 

Whether I work alone or in collaboration with others, my approach is always interactive. All sessions are designed to grow participants’ confidence, skills and enjoyment, to fully integrate the themes and to present the creative power of storytelling and stories. Integrated conversations are a great way to share and build knowledge, create openings though which we can explore and unpack imagery and discover what this might mean for ourselves.

Sessions range from two-hour storytelling and conversation to multi-day seminars. Group sizes vary; in an open workshop places are usually limited to 25 people to ensure time to interact and converse in ways that benefit all participants. 


A Storyteller and Speech Artist with 40 years of artistic experience, Iris’ background includes studies in Visual Arts, Speechformation/Creative Speech & Dramatic Arts (Europe), BA & BA hon. (Creative Writing) and a PhD on Storytelling and Community Building [Australia]. Anthroposophy has been her source of inspiration for 50 years.