Mio Shapley loves to tell stories that celebrate the wonder, mystery, wisdom and magic of the natural world in all its many colours. These she enriches with her playing of the Clarsach. Her repertoire is ever expanding and contains many traditional Japanese Folktales humorously conveying a Zen philosophy of life, which as a teacher and performer of The Japanese Tea Ceremony she embodies in her own life. Her stories inspire peace, tranquillity and respect for all of creation. As a poet and artist Mio loves to enthusiastically share story creation games with her audiences.
Children of eight to eighteen and also adults are Mio’s favourite audience. She often performs in the Kimono that adds a touch of eastern magic to her tales.
Mio grew up in the high Japanese Alps where the crescent moon bear, turtles, salamanders, eagles, fireflies, and 100 different kinds of dragonflies and butterflies, (even a nine headed dragon!) still dwell. She was blessed with a father and grandfather who are extraordinary storytellers. In her village of Shirotori, which means White Bird, ancient seasonal festivals are still celebrated, and the mountainous landscape acted as a towering inspiration for her creative life. Here she learned to play the piano and paint from an early age, giving performances and exhibitions from age of 3.
Mio has told stories professionally over the past 8 years in Canada, Japan, France and the UK for audiences of 10 to 500 at a time. She often works in partnership with her husband Ken Shapley, who is also a professional storyteller. Venues have varied greatly from the forested grounds of Falkland Palace to schools, community centres and gardens, university lecture halls, museums and peace festivals. In 2002 Mio was given a grant from The Scottish Arts Council to attend The Craft of The Storyteller, a three-month residential course at Emerson College. Following this she received a Millennium Award through Communities Foundation Scotland to provide three months of stories and Japanese Tea Ceremonies in schools and museums in Edinburgh, reaching over 1500 people. She has a diverse menu of performances on offer which can be tailor made to suit schools needs, including residential programmes.
Mio believes that once upon a time the oral tradition of storytelling was the strengthening bond of the community and sees it as the seed of life.
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Everyone is a storyteller! Find out how you can learn a few tales to share with friends or how you can become a professional.