My name is Mark Roberts, and I represent world-renowned storyteller and author, Diane Wolkstein. Diane will be in Singapore in September 2012 as a featured teller for the Singapore International Storytelling Festival.
Thank you very much for showing an interest in Diane’s work and helping us get the word out about her visit to Singapore next year. Diane is looking forward to it! 🙂
— Joseph Campbell, author and mythologist
“Diane Wolkstein’s Monkey King takes us on a spectacular journey! It’s funny, human and transcendent.”
— Buddhist Nun, Fo Guang University
Diane Wolkstein is one of the world’s most acclaimed master storytellers and mythologists. She is the award-winning author of 23 award-winning books of folklore and has performed to sold-out crowds on six continents. Whether recounting folk or fairy tales to rapt children and families at parks, libraries, and schools, or wisdom stories and epics at some of the world’s most prestigious museums, festivals, and performance venues, Diane enters and speaks from the heart of each story she tells. Her unwavering belief in story and its potential to transform people’s lives have led her to occupy the forefront of the modern storytelling movement since 1967, with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently naming June 22nd of 2007 “Diane Wolkstein Day” in honor of her 40 years of storytelling for the people of New York City.
Journey to the West, China’s most famous epic, is a fun and adventurous tale of the impetuous Monkey King who sets out in search of immortality and learns such extraordinary skills that no one: not the Sun, the Moon, nor the 28 Constellations, can defeat him. After Buddha places a five hundred year “pause” on him, Monkey King agrees to accompany and protect the pure-hearted, determined Tang Priest on his 10,000 mile pilgrimage from China to India. Together they struggle not only with demons, ogres and lusty women, but also with one another, as they seek to bring back the sacred Buddhist scriptures to relieve the suffering of their people.
Wolkstein’s chi gong inspired movements and Greene’s extraordinary soundscape of 25 instruments offers the audience the most vivid reality. “They blend story and music perfectly,” writes Emilee Whitehurst, director of the Rothko Chapel, “masterly conveying the humor and wisdom of one of the world’s great epics. It’s a rare experience of the best of ritual theatre.” For more info: www.monkeykingepic.com
Diane’s passion and commitment to Journey to the West have led her on numerous research trips and tours across China, Taiwan, India, Australia, and North America. Recent highlights include performances of Journey to the West at the American Museum of Natural History, Australia’s National Galleries in Canberra and Melbourne, the Asia Society in New York, the Fulbright Foundation in Taipei, the Rothko Chapel in Texas, New York University, the National Taipei University, America’s National Storytelling Festival, the Clearwater Festival, as well as countless libraries and schools throughout the world.
2012 bookings already include the Singapore International Storytelling Festival in September, San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum in May, and a tour of Southeast Asia in February and March. A book publication of Wolkstein’s re-telling of Journey to the West in English is also in the works.
The performance of Monkey King requires minimal logistics: An auditorium with a stage or a suitable gallery-style floor space, a basic speaker system, two microphones, lighting, a handful of stage props (a rug, a stool, a gong) is all that is needed to bring this inspiring journey to life. The telling is aimed at adults, but can also be tailored to suit a family audience with children, if the occasion calls for it.
In addition to Journey to the West, her storytelling repertoire includes folk and fairy tales, wisdom stories, and epics. Her participatory Haitian stories from her classic book The Magic Orange Tree are always in high demand for family and adult programs, as are her programs of European, Australian, Hasidic, and Biblical stories. To view her current storytelling and workshops programs visit www.dianewolkstein.com/about/storyteller/#repertoire
What truly sets Diane apart are her spellbinding performing gifts, as well as the depth of knowledge and research she devotes to the stories she tells. Not only does she tell her signature Haitian stories with infectious tenderness and bravado, she spent seven years visiting the Haitian countryside and recording the stories of the people. When she tells Aboriginal stories it is because she has visited their land, met the Australian Aboriginal storytellers, and has been granted special permission to tell these stories. Not only has Wolkstein told the great Sumerian epic of Inanna at the British Museum and The United Nations, she spent years working with one of the world’s most pre-eminent archeologists, Samuel Noah Kramer, to create the definitive telling of this great story.
Diane is also considered one of the premier teachers of storytelling. Having pioneered New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation year-round storytelling program, Diane initiated America’s first graduate storytelling program at Bank St. College and went on to teach mythology at New York University for eighteen years. She is a founding member of both America’s National Storytelling Conference and New York City’s Storytelling Center, and has held hundreds of workshops on the art of storytelling throughout her long career. For more information on her workshops visit www.dianewolkstein.com/about/workshops
Please find attached an information sheet about Journey to the West, including a story summary, review quotes, bio, recent performance highlights, and website links, as well as a recent press photo and article on Monkey King.
For more information visit these online resources:
Diane’s website: www.dianewolkstein.com
About Journey to the West: www.monkeykingepic.com
PBS Special: http://www.learner.org/courses/worldlit/journey-to-the-west/watch/