Book Susanna Orr Holland
Susanna tells stories from the stage to the community and to all ages and abilities. Her stories educate, entertain, inspire and give a window to escape into another world. She tells a wide variety of stories, from folk tales to mythic epics and family anecdotes across many landscapes but one theme that emerges is mystery and strength.
Her journey to storytelling came initially through ballads and through her family’s tradition of storytelling around the kitchen table. Her mother a nurse and grandfather an Irish farmer and lay preacher were great storytellers and their influence planted a seed in her to tell stories to others. Through this family link she has an oral heritage that belongs to rural Australia and Ireland. Thus, her stories reflect upon this influence of our relationship to the land and our relationships to each other.
Susanna has worked in the NHS on hospital wards telling stories to patients with dementia and mental health problems. She has experience of telling to people of different cognitive abilities using props, instruments and playful interaction to support engagement. As a private psychotherapist, she is interested in how stories and our personal narratives support to process and affirm our mental health.
She has also worked with children in schools and has run children’s workshops in the local woods. She is interested in any opportunities to share stories in further community settings.
She has a passion for mythology and history but not only to tell his story but also her story, stories of women or forgotten stories. In 2016/17 she researched stories about Brìde, the goddess and saint, and created a performance and workshop which also shed light on forgotten Highland culture and traditions.
Connection to the earth, gardening and wild places is important to Susanna, she is inspired to tell stories that enliven our connection to the land and give us pause for thought on how we live and have lived in relationship with it. She recently put together a performance around this theme called Re-Member-ing our Earth.
Susanna is a singer of songs and traditional ballads and has a wide repertoire from across the British Isles and Ireland, mostly in English but her repertoire also includes Gaelic songs. Within her stories she often gives space to sing the spirit of the story and with her body and movements she paints the narrative to the voice, within the song. She has a beautiful dynamic voice and she plays the Indian harmonium, guitar and bodhran and at times employs these in her telling.
She also has a degree in Creative Arts and loves to use poetry, movement and image in her stories.
‘Susanna is multi-talented and she uses her talents to good effect, with stories supporting songs and vice versa…she brings a high degree of professionalism to her work as well as demonstrating her skills at storytelling itself.’ Alette Willis