listening to them and telling them, have been part of my life
for as long I can remember."
When in mid-life he
became a teacher, the value of sharing these stories became obvious.
He became a professional storyteller almost to his surprise, as
if that's what he'd been training for all along. He also found
that stories were needed not just by children, but by adults,
and that there was a need for a storyteller to "shorten the
road" in an incredible variety of situations.
beautifully told folk tales, brought vividly to life by
Marcel O’Leary’s graphic illustrations, have been collected
by the author over his years of working as a greenkeeper,
gardener, teacher and storyteller in Hampshire. Many are
published here for the first time, and others have evolved
through countless retellings in Hampshire schools, festivals,
fêtes and events. (Book
launch December 15th 2011 at a fund-raiser for the Art
House Cafe in Southampton)
Featuring dark tales of murderous kings and commoners,
wild women, screaming skulls, galloping plague coaches,
dragons dancing themselves to death, giants, and wandering
corpses, combined with humorous stories and evocative tales
of love, lust and passion, this book takes the reader beyond
the written page and reveals the wonders that lie within
the Hampshire landscape. The future holds "Sussex
If you live in the Southampton area, tune in to Unity
101 to catchMike telling his two minute stories throughout
Mikes article in the Daily Mail describing storytelling in a Southampton
secondary school (storytelling definitely does not just
belong in primary schools)
"To the average parent, the news that a
'storyteller' is coming to the school won't exactly set the breakfast
table alight with expectancy. Such an event is usually seen as
a quaint optional extra, doubtless arranged to give the teachers
a chance to catch up with their marking. But at Chamberlayne Park
School, a 'challenging' inner-city comprehensive in Southampton,
the visit of storyteller Michael O'Leary is viewed very differently.
There, O'Leary's sessions play a pivotal role in the English department's
strategy to tackle children's literacy problems."
Daily Mail 13th February 2007
"Mike was brilliant on the PA... a great
story teller....Once again many thanks to everyone for making
it a success." Lisa Ward -Sponsorship & PR Manager
- Newbury Racecourse (May 2008)
Read about how Mike became a storyteller in his
here) in Familes - Solent East (they have a website too: www.familiessolenteast.co.uk)
O'Leary is an experienced storyteller and teacher based in the
and Portsmouth area, in the county of Hampshire in the UK.
He shares stories with children, teenagers and adults in homes,
(both special and mainstream), colleges, universities, prisons,
pubs, clubs, forests, fields, museums, libraries, hospitals and
is working with children from Mountpleasant School in Southampton,
so that they can tell their own stories on Unity
101 Community radio. Please see
their press release
Mike told stories in schools and playgrounds
to both children and adults as part of the 2008 "Bringing
Stories to Life" project: read
about his involvement here (PDF)
"My day with Michal O'Leary was a laugh.
He told us two funny stories that got everyone giggling. He especially
likes telling stories about dragons. I don't know how but he always
had a trick up his sleeve to make us jump......When it was time
to go, everyone was sad. We wanted one more story but that was
Circle play area opening ceremony Tuesday 3rd October [here]
fun was had by all, especially their special guest Michael
O'Leary - The Hagstone Story Teller who had the young (and
older!) people enthralled with his unique tales.
The new play area is really popular with local children
and is also attracting visitors from further afield, it
is in a peaceful location adjoining a green and even has
its own car park!
O'Leary has travelled the length and breadth of his own back garden,
and occasionally as far as the nearest pub, in his search for stories."
"Michael's storytelling style is informal, and he uses an
array of interesting sound devices and instruments to add dramatic effect
to the stories. Many of the tales he tells are ancient in origin. Spanning
the centuries to a distant and misty past, he brings the beliefs, fears,
and wishes of a people now gone back to life for a present-day audience."
Click on a link above to learn more!
Listen to him here
(choose open) using REALPlayer (download real player here)