On paper, it should never have happened.
The girl whose school reports said she needed “to speak up in class” and “share her ideas more” should never have become a spoken word performer. But she did…
Julie Wilkinson became a storyteller in 2002, during a Gap Year volunteering for schoolswork charity the Zephaniah Trust, after completing her English degree. The charity specialised in using music to lead assemblies; a non-musician, she was told, “You’ll just have to tell the story then.” So she did. And everything clicked into place.
Performing initially in schools and with children’s or youth groups in the community, her stripped back performance style quickly became treasured by her audience and repeat visits were eagerly anticipated. Over the years, she began writing and performing stories for adults. Her repertoire includes traditional folk tales, reimagined faith stories, true anecdotes from her own experience, and original “modern-day parables”.
Always performing with a light touch, Julie never becomes bigger than the story. Instead, her warmth and authenticity create an instant connection with her listeners, inviting them to inhabit the intimate space of the story alongside her. Her ability to draw out the touchpoints of shared humanity in any tale make listening a powerful, participatory experience.
With a gift for finding the magic in the mundane and shining a light on beauty in brokenness, hers are stories which soothe and stir the soul, “reconnecting us to the better part of ourselves and in so doing, giving us hope.” (Stewart Henderson, poet/lyricist/broadcaster)
She has extensive experience in working with children and young people, giving performances and leading workshops/lessons, running events and holiday clubs, enabling them to write and tell their own stories. She has performed at festivals and community fun days, indoors and outdoors, to small groups and audiences of hundreds. She performs original storytelling shows to audiences of adults – including Sparks of Hope and Kintsugi Tales – and has provided training/workshops to all ages. She created and continues to run Refugee Voices, a pioneering drama/storytelling project working with school students to prepare and perform the true stories of refugees in their own words. As a storyteller of faith, she supports others to explore the Christian faith story and renew their understanding of the call it makes on us to create a better world.
At the heart of all her storytelling is the core function of building empathy – that’s how we change the world…