Shonaleigh is a storyteller who was brought up in the Drut’syla tradition by her Bubbe (Grandmother).
“You hear people talking about the storytelling revival, but in Jewish culture it never died. From the age of four I lived and breathed the tales of my childhood, unaware that there was anything unusual. I thought this was quite normal and that all storytellers had this background … It was quite routine for me to fall asleep at night listening to songs and stories in English, Yiddish, Hebrew, Dutch and Turkish – a wonderful colourful mix,” she says.
A dedicated and committed storyteller, who has actively worked to expand and share her tradition, she has a repertoire of over three thousand stories which can be adapted as appropriate for the theme and audience with whom she is working.
She has performed in venues from church halls to London’s Albert Hall, from forests to the Barbican, and at festivals in the U.K., on the Continent, USA and New Zealand. She also does a great deal of work in schools and among community groups, helping people, particularly teenagers and the immigrant community, find their voice.
Shonaleigh was the UK’s Deputy National Storytelling Laureate from 2010-12, has completed commissions for the British Library, the British Museum and Hay-on-Wye Literature Festival, and is a regular contributor to BBC arts programs.
Her 2012 appointment as Artistic Director of Phrase Arts, where she helped promote storytelling within communities, has led to her work with the European Court of Human Rights.
She was Teller In Residence at the International Storytelling Center in Tennessee.
Shonaleigh is now based at the International School of Storytelling in East Sussex, UK.