The tale's already told of how some years ago John Sheills, a.k.a. JJ - Retailer of Tales, set out in the service of story to seek his fortune.


Since then, fortune has led JJ a merry dance.


Still the stuff of story lends courage, the stuff of story is addictive, and the stuff of story clamours to be shared abroad - so JJ stories on.


* Pupil [cheekily]: How old are you JJ?

JJ [modestly]: Not as old as most of the stories I tell
Stories are as old as humanity. Humanity is a storytelling animal.


* Pupil [in awed tones]: Is that story true JJ?

JJ [capriciously]: All stories are true
It's not the teller who speaks the story's truth, but rather the story bespeaks its truth for each listener.


* Pupil [pensively]: Where do stories come from?

JJ [cryptically]: From listening

First comes the story, then someone gives voice to the story, but, above all, there are those who attend to the story. Our stories are gifts for others; so let's not be parsimonious.


Harnee Selvarajoo

JJ's C.V.

John Sheills, later celebrated as JJ, was first captivated by puppetry's magic and the thrall of stories well told, as a boy in Orbost. John has been variously involved in education and the performing arts for over twenty five years.

Earlier on John toured extensively with the Marionette Theatre of Australia, worked with Polyglot Puppets during that Company's inaugural production year, and was also contacted for a season with the Tasmanian Puppet Theatre. His many and varied engagements of more recent times include storytelling sessions at Moomba, as Artie Mouse's guest at the NGV, for Melbourne Zoo, Vict' n Playgroup Ass'n., City of Casey School Holiday programs, plus workshops for the Victorian Storytelling Guild.

JJ regards opportunities for creative self-expression an intrinsic to personal growth, especially in the early childhood years.

His sessional teaching for East Gippsland College of TAFE has encouraged child-care students to value the place of story in children's development. Studies in comparative education have also given JJ an appreciation for the Montessori Method, as well as practical experience in Steiner's story-centred approach to teaching.

An inveterate 'bard of the broadcasting band', JJ's regard for language has too found creative outlet per medium of radio presentation.

JJ's talents have been employed to enliven approaches to religious education, as co-facilitator for a series of workshops for intellectually challenged adults as means for developing self-esteem and communication skills, and , to ease the lot of kids battling cancer


JJ's Mission


It's Showtime

While stories are essentially portable, JJ also often cannily employs appealing props & visual aids plus differing modes of presentation, just enough to enliven his story sessions, yet still allow the story to speak for itself. JJ likewise avoids outlandish costume, face make-up and the like, which also tend to get in the way of a good story

In short, JJ's sessions are stylistically distinctive presented with panache.

Storytelling is an intimate performance medium, so generally works best "Unplugged" in a dedicated story space with manageable audience numbers. Confer with JJ for his recommendations on group sizes.

For Younger Audiences

JJ has ample story material to delight little ones. He gives a new twist to favourite traditional and nursery tales, and, imbues stories about the everyday with a touch of romance, Some surprises along the way, a song or two, & lots of opportunities to join in.

For Older Children

JJ provides a varied story mix, comprising traditional, contemporary & original tales to encourage an appreciation for story types story shapes, styles of presentation, and respect for the oral tradition.

Stories for Adults too

JJ welcomes opportunities to dispel the popular notion that storytelling's just for kids. He offers stories for community events anniversaries~senior citizens' functions ~restaurants exhibition openings~ book launches... wherever


1 Hour Session - $215
40 Min. (plus) Session - $165
Per-capita sessional average: $2.50 - $3.00
(based on X2 standard school classes)

Discounts available for:
<> Preschools
<> Birthday Parties
<> First term & introductory bookings
<> Multiple sessions - same day /venue

Story sessions may be extended to allow for associated craft activity and /or workshop elements. rates for workshops, PD sessions for teachers & parents, in-residency appointments and consultancy services, by negotiation


John Sheills, a.k.a. JJ - Retailer of Tales

PO Box 100

VIC     3782
Phone number: (03) 5968 2492