The Wizardry of Nick Duval-Smith: Story Teller

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I’m intrigued by the notice on the Tauranga City Library wall. An invitation to acknowledge the 100th Birthday of the author Roald Dahl.

Just one of the cool things at the Tauranga City LIbrary

Just one of the cool things at the Tauranga City LIbrary

When I ring to book a place, the voice on the other end of the phone asks if I understand it’s an event for children? Of course; as a persistent and perennial child and ARTbop contributor I want to see what’s going on.

It's all on upstairs!

It’s all on upstairs!

The birthday event is going to happen in the Tauranga City Council staff cafeteria/cafe. I sign in. I’m early and as a result I get to meet the Master of Birthday Ceremonies, the Teller of Tales, contemporary Wizard: Nick Duval-Smith. It transpires that even tellers of tales and contemporary wizards have to comply with Council requirements. I let Nick fill in his forms before I talk with him.

Even the Wizard must fill in the forms!

Even the Wizard must fill in the forms!

Nick is superbly gowned, shod and hatted for his role.

The beautiful hand-dyed silk gown

The beautiful hand-dyed silk gown

His outer coat is hand dyed silk with a reversible star-studded lining – the divine creative work of Jan Blythe. The traditional wizard-style curved toe shoes are from The Last Footwear Company. And topping it all off is the kennedyesque pillbox with appropriate symbolism. It is clear this is no ordinary storyteller.

The stars at night

The stars at night

From the South Island Nick has a background in child education. He’s also a sculptor. Today he is a storyteller, information sharer and the host of a Tauranga Library event.

The young guests assemble (later there’s more of a crowd than in my image) and they move towards the teller of tales drawn as much by the theatrical performance (hands flutter and the voice rises and falls) as the Dahl focused information (the birthday boy was Norwegian but grew up in Wales) and audience participation.

A fraction of the eventual crowd

A fraction of the eventual crowd

I’m more than impressed by the level of questions asked by the young audience and their detailed knowledge of Roald Dahl. I love the fact Duval-Smith shares about Dahl during his time with the then Shell Oil Company and Dahl’s time spent in East Africa and the obvious impact on his future writings.

Was it worth it – you bet. Duval-Smith was an admirable teller of tales. My only concern is that the requirement to book (it was free) may have deterred some from attending and participating in a unique educational experience. Was it fun – you bet. Did I learn anything – you bet. And what was that – the Tauranga City Library is more than books and newspapers – it’s a source of delight for all ages.

Ironically this week I’m taking advantage of the magazines you can borrow “for free” from the Tauranga Library and there in one of the English glossies is an article about one of Dahl’s creative grandchildren.

ARTbop READER COMPETITION

Vintage Dahl!

Vintage Dahl!

ARTbop has a vintage copy of Danny Champion of the World as the prize in our Roald Dahl competition.

Tell ARTbop:

What kind of dwelling did Danny and his father live in?

Email your answer to info@artbop.co.nz by 5pm on 31st August 2016 with your name and telephone number. If we get more than one correct entry we’ll draw a winner. If you win and you live around Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty we may be able to deliver the prize to you and take a photo for ARTbop. If you don’t live in Tauranga or the Bay of Plenty region, we’ll post the book to you. If you are a young person ARTbop would like you to tell your Mum, your Dad or whomever looks after you, that you’d like to enter ARTbop’s Roald Dahl competition. Good luck and keep reading ARTbop! (ARTbop does not enter into any correspondence about its competitions and ARTbop’s decisions are final)

IMG_3650tincanatBarkesCornerRosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current editor of ARTbop. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

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