Mio Shapley

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Mio Shapley loves to tell stories that celebrate the wonder, mystery, wisdom and magic of the natural world in all its many colours, enriching the tales with her Clarsach playing. Her ever expanding repertoire contains many traditional Japanese Folktales, humorously conveying a Zen philosophy, which as a teacher and Japanese Tea Ceremony performer she embodies in her own life. Her stories inspire peace, tranquillity and respect for all of creation.

Mio believes that once upon a time the oral tradition of storytelling was the strengthening bond of the community and sees it as the seed of life. As a poet and artist, Mio loves to enthusiastically share story creation games with her audiences. Children of eight to eighteen and adult groups are Mio’s favourite audience. She often performs wearing a traditional Kimono, which adds a touch of eastern magic.

Mio grew up in the Japanese Alps where the crescent moon bear, turtles, salamanders, eagles, fireflies, and 100 species of dragonflies and butterflies still dwell – there’s even a nine-headed dragon! Her father and grandfather are extraordinary storytellers and in her village of Shirotori (White Bird), ancient seasonal festivals are still celebrated, with the mountainous landscape a towering inspiration for her creative life. Here, she learned to play the piano and paint from an early age, giving performances and exhibitions from the age of 3.

Mio has told stories professionally in Canada, Japan, France and the UK for audiences of 10 to 500. She often works in partnership with her husband Ken Shapley, who is also a professional storyteller. She has a diverse menu of performances on offer which can be tailor made to suit schools needs, including residential programmes.

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