The Writers of Wales Database
Lenny has been a professional storyteller, educator and consultant – in this country and abroad – for more than twenty years. His motivation comes from a lifelong love of the speaking voice, with its mysterious potential to nourish our human growth and link us deeply, one with another.
He was born in West Yorkshire, of an English mother, Irene and a Jamaican father, George. He went to school in Saltaire (near to the famous Salt’s Mill) and, after living and working in London and Cornwall, as a school teacher, drama lecturer and theatre director, he settled in rural Herefordshire. He is married and has four children.
He trained and studied the voice at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, receiving from the University of London additional diplomas in Dramatic Art, Voice, Speech and Education (gaining a mark of credit in education).
Lenny’s storytelling performances are unique. They are described as participative, animated, playful and dramatic, tending to follow a certain pattern. First, he creates a genuinely friendly atmosphere, in which everyone is encouraged to relax. Then, after establishing the maxim that in the storytelling space all voices are equal – and all have an equal right to be heard - he floats the idea that the art of storytelling is ‘the art of talk’ – that the simple phenomenon of talk is the true raw material of storytelling. In this way, he encourages a feeling of shared responsibility for the event, with the typical result that the floor soon takes on the likeness of an open forum.
Finally, out of the ensuing banter and discourse, the story is molded. A silence descends, and a dynamic engagement with the collectively imagined world of the emerging tale begins.
Lenny’s repertoire comes from worldwide sources, both ancient and modern. He tells folk tales, legends, fairytales, myths, urban myths, fables, nursery tales, jokes, anecdotes, rhymes, riddles, and includes poems, music, songs and chants in his repertoire. Sometimes he might introduce the live music of a bowed psaltery, a fiddle, a drum, a jaw’s harp, a recorder… to augment the atmosphere.
Lenny also delivers workshop sessions and creates learning activities, based on oral storytelling and drama techniques, which aid the development of verbal and oral literacy, the cultivation of empathy, the building of confidence and an increase in the skills associated with communication, co-operation and collaborative problem solving.
Lenny works in any setting and with all age groups, towards mutually agreed goals. Special community and educational projects are available together with talks and insets. He has released two casette tapes: 3 Celtic Tales and Iain Diriach and the Blue Falcon.