Jackie has lived in nearly all the States and Territories of Australia but currently calls cosmopolitan Melbourne ‘home’.
Although having trained in theatre and film, she has long been attracted to the independence afforded to her as an oral storyteller.
Jackie is fifth generation born of colonial/settler stock, coming from Ireland, Scotland and Wales – places rich with oral storytelling traditions. Although delving freely into the vast body of folk material, that is her heritage, her relationship with the landscapes and mindscapes that nurtured these tales has been fractured.
Jackie acknowledges Aboriginal Australians as the continent’s First Peoples and that she lives on Country long mapped by story, song and dance. Mindful of her heritage, she is respectful of the cultural property of Aboriginal Australians and does not tell their stories.
Jackie is a lifelong student of human expression. Over the years she has practiced interweaving body percussion, singing, simple paper folding and tearing and story modes like Japanese kamishibai (paper drama) and the crankie (winding picture scroll).
Her recent work includes collaborations with violinist Sarah Depasquale who shares her passion for nature and belief that good art can be showcased anywhere – including the outdoors. Together, they have performed in theatres, parks and gardens, museums, galleries and in tents.
Jackie’s storytelling led her to writing and she has a reputation for beautiful award-winning, nonfiction picture books for children.
With a keen sense of the connections between Australia and South East Asia, Jackie values her story colleagues to the north, enjoying festivals and conferences when possible.