Native of Perigord, South-West France, where she currently lives, she has been a storyteller since 1996, in French and Occitan* (a Romance language spoken in Southern France)
She also works as an actor for theatre and radio, and does dubbing for films and cartoons in both her languages.
Her repertoire is comprised of traditional tales and her personal creations, as well as traditional Occitan songs which she sings unaccompanied. She is used to telling for all audiences from the craddle to the grave.
She has been featured in various festivals in Estonia, Latvia, Romania and in Ireland at Dublin Yarnspinners, National Leprechaun Museum, Galway Scéalaíocht...Storia...Contes, Moth & Butterfly Festival, Connemara Carrying the Songs, Belfast Storytelling in Eight Languages Festival.
From her rural origins, where telling a good story was as important as ploughing straight, she has kept the taste for listening and sharing questions such as:
How was the fish hare born?
Why are these hunters flying and crying across the sky?
How could a father hire out his child?
* Occitan is a Romance language spoken in southern France, Val d’Aran in Spain, and 12 valleys in Italy. It does not have official status in France and Italy but it is an official language in Catalunya. Occitan and Catalan are related and as Romance languages, they are also related to French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian.
Maria is a storyteller from Cork. She is a dramatherapist who is very interested in the wisdoms that old myths and legends can give us and their ability to be a healing influence. She has a strong interest in the Bean Feasa (Wise Woman) model of storytelling from her Native Ireland and comes from a long line of storytellers (Anne Gillen, Ellen Cahalane, Ann Conroy - mother, grandmother and great- grandmother).
She is an award winning Storyteller, having won The Sean McCarthy Storytelling Cup twice and the Butter Roads Storytelling Competition. In 2021 Maria won the Bealtaine Hero Award for building resilience stories through harvesting the wisdoms of yesteryear.
She is a well known Bean An Tí (Irish Session Host) on the Irish Storytelling Circuit. She loves listening to stories and will tell a story at the drop of a hat. She loves co-creating stories with anyone ‘from the cradle to the grave’. She believes deeply in the power of stories to build communities, heal prejudice and to build resilience. She is a member of IACAT (Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapists). She is an award winning storyteller having won the longest running Story Competition in Ireland - Finuge - twice and the Butter Roads Storytelling Competition.