Word weaver, tradition bearer and educator

Shonaleigh is a dedicated and committed storyteller actively working to expand and share the Drut’syla tradition.

Brought up in the Drut’syla tradition by her Bubbe (Grandmother) 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.

Get in touch

For all enquiries, please use this form to send us a message.

New website coming soon

A new website is being knitted for Shonaleigh, and should be ready to keep us warm and cosy from January 2020.  In the meantime, we’ve included some key information below.  If you need anything else, please do get in touch ✨

2020 Diary

This weekend Shonaleigh tells The Emerald Sea.

In the next episode of Shonaleigh’s acclaimed Gem cycle, Prince Rahab’s kingdom is threatened.

The power which, from the beginning of time, has held destructive waters in check depends on the inscription of an unutterable name, and the name is being erased.

Rahab and his Queen must make a sacrifice to save the kingdom, but the prince has been imprisoned by a woman who has been done a terrible wrong, and the queen is on a quest to find him.

Not to be missed, it’s a world first!

Two week telling of The Cycle of Menasseh. More details to follow.

Jul 10 @ 5:30 pm – Jul 12 @ 2:00 pm

An Invitation from the Red Alachigh

In a remote castle a Makhshef – a sorcerer and bringer of chaos – lived alone. But it had not always been so; once upon a time he had an imprisoned girl and a city to torment and all power and mayhem and evil was his. And then one day, he was tricked. The woman had taken the silver threads of the moon and sewed images into a blue cloth, taking everything embroidered to a place of safety. One by one, all who he threatened disappeared until finally she had embroidered herself into the cloth and he was all alone. In a rage, the Makhshef took the cloth and would have destroyed it had his eye not caught the half-finished likeness of himself, glinting in the moonlight. He could not destroy the cloth without destroying himself. So he remained alone, with nothing to do and nothing to torment.

One chill night he came upon a dove, frozen and still at the edge of the road. Out of curiosity and boredom, the Makshef picked it up, curious, and took it back to his empty palace.

“I am the Dove of Heaven,” said the bird. “You have saved me. What can I give you in return?”

The Makhshef felt something strange – his face was wet.

“What is this?” he asked.

“Tears,” replied the Dove.

“I want a soul,” whispered the Makhshef.

“You can only have a soul if you wander – 7 years in each direction. And you must find a woman who can stitch the cloth.”

This is the story of a demon is search for a soul and for only woman in the world who can finish stitching his image into the Cloth of Hope and Sorrow.

More details to follow.

Jul 13 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Lichfield Storytellers: The Song of Lilleth @ The Kings Head
Shonaleigh is a renowned international storyteller – possibly the last drut’syla on the planet and carries thousands of oral stories from that Jewish Tradition. She unravels a fascinating lattice of interlocking tales with unexpected twists and compelling characters. She makes another welcome return to Lichfield.

At this event Shonaleigh tells The Song of Lilleth.

Tickets £6 on the door.

More details to follow.

​Jul 31 @ 7:30 pm – Aug 3 @ 1:00 pm

Take the sting out of storytelling with our weekend beginner’s course

Are you eager to start your storytelling journey, but not sure how to begin? Ever wanted to share a tale but found yourself lost of words? If so, this is the course for you!

Over the weekend you will learn some storytelling fundamentals as tradition bearer Shonaleigh leads you through the door, across the bridge and into the world of story. This is an opportunity to learn the ancient art of storytelling ‘story first’ – allowing the art of telling to develop through connection to the tale. And with Shonaleigh, you are able to meet this art form through a tradition that carries the wisdom of generations of storytellers.

So be brave! Breath in, reach out and grasp the nettle. You may just find it is the first step in a journey of discovery that lasts a lifetime.

Friday evening
The key to the door. A short story from Shonaleigh and some simple exercises to explore language and imagination

Saturday morning
Listening for the heartbeat. Finding the heartbeat of the story – its shape and purpose – so you can tell it with authenticity and integrity

Saturday afternoon
Finding your voice and your story. How to sense if the story wants to be told and finding your voice and place within it

Saturday evening
Ceilidh and shared meal. Bring your poems, songs and music to share

Sunday morning
Giving the story its feet. Sharing your story in small groups and put what you have learnt into practice.

If you wish to book for Grasping The Nettle then please Contact Us via email stating your name and your preferred method of contact (Email or Telephone). A member of the House of West Wind Admin Team will be in touch to discuss dates, locations, payment details and answer any questions that you may have.

Aug 10 – Aug 14 all-day

With growing popularity of literary festivals and spoken word events, writers are often required to TELL their work. Similarly, storytellers often want to develop their tales in a written form. But to write and to tell are two very different art forms.

As a writer, this course will show you what to adapt to be able to tell your tale.

As a storyteller, this course will show you how to adapt your oral story for the page.

This five-day course will introduce you to the Drut’syla midrash – the hereditary training of traditional Jewish women storytellers.

Shonaleigh and Simon Heywood will lead you through a range of practical exercises and creative explorations of narrative and story. We will explore ways in which the Drut’syla’s methods and approaches can be adapted practically to creative writing, storytelling and the contemporary arts. You will gain the tools to tell your story in whatever medium you choose.

This course is suitable for creatives from any discipline who use narrative or story as inspiration. It is suitable for story-lovers at any stage of their creative journey.

If you wish to book for Word Dancing (Creative Writing and Narrative Arts) then please Contact Us via email stating your name and your preferred method of contact (Email or Telephone). A member of the House of West Wind Admin Team will be in touch to discuss dates, locations, payment details and answer any questions that you may have.

Aug 14 @ 7:30 pm – Aug 16 @ 4:00 pm

More details to follow.

Aug 17 – Aug 21 all-day

Wildwoods is a three year part time course with four one week residential courses, which will introduce you to a new way of thinking about stories and your approach to them. We will walk with the Druts’yla tradition, identify key points of the midrash and learn how stories are held, unpeeled, understood and internalised on a practical and holistic level.

The course is by invitation or application ONLY.