What is Storytelling?

Storytelling is the art of sharing imagination, of bringing people with you to witness events, real or imaginary, as close to first hand as possible.

Why Storytelling?

The Moment: Every storytelling event is unique. The story, the audience, and the teller all play their part in making it real. For me, storytelling is about the moment when, for everyone, the story is the only thing that matters.

The lasting effects: When I first came across the story 'Hans in Luck' from the Grimm collection I decided it was too odd to tell and discarded it. Or so I thought. Six months later, It began dancing around in my head. Suddenly the story spoke to me. Now I take a great delight in that story. I doubt I understand the story fully, but that doesn't matter. 'Hans in Luck' is part of me forever.

The safe distance: Sometimes it is a lot easier to process difficult emotions when they aren't our own. Stories allow us a safe distance to do that. For creator, teller, and audience alike.

The freedom: No-one owns traditional stories. They change and grow with each telling. They are always re-imagined, so everone is free to play with them.

Where do the stories come from?

Traditional: Every culture has a tradition of story telling, from the most ancient peoples right up to today. The stories I tell can come from any of these.

Anansi's spider stories come from Africa and later Jamaica, the Grimm collection from Germany, Chaucer recorded known stories and put his own frame on them in Middle Age England. Aesop lived in Ancient Greece. I tell some of his fables and also his own life story.

Original: It is hard to spend so much time around all these stories, and not find yourself creating your own original or highly mashed up stories.

It is also fun to take a traditional story everyone knows well, and twist it significantly. For example how did the Emporer outwit two curious tailors who tried to sell him invisible wares.

Historical: The stories of real people matter, simply because they lived. But we are also able to see the results and consequences of thier choices, both in their own lives and the world at large, and this can change how we live today.

You: One of my favourite activities with a group is to compose a story together.

What do I offer?

Story Time:

Quite simply, I come and tell stories for about an hour per group. I can happily accomodate any theme you would like to work with or just follow the mood.

Show Story List

Hide Story List

Here is a list of some stories I like to tell. I can tell each of these at short notice. If you know in advance that you would like to hear a specific one, let me know and I can re-polish it before coming.

  • Abu Kaseem's Boots

    A rich merchant is given a new pair of boots. Now he needs to get rid of the old pair. It turns out to be harder than he expected.

  • The Aesop Romance

    Born a mute slave, Aesop eventually gains his voice, and, by his wit and wisdom in storytelling, gains not only his freedom, but many riches. As a result, he becomes advisor to many kings. But when he visits Delphi, everything goes wrong.

  • Anansi and the Box of stories

    Anansi loves to hear the stories told by Nyame, the sky God, but Nyame, keeps them in a secret box. Only if Anansi can bring him three great and fearsome animals, will he allow Anansi access to the box.

  • Anansi's Good Day

    Anansi, the trickster, wakes up one morning feeling like he can do good. Everyone doubts him. Can he do good for a whole day?

  • Anne Frank

    Historical: The story of Anne Frank's life from the day she receives her diary. Her life in hiding in Holland, and her eventual capture. This is the story of one of 'them' that proves, that 'they' are always real people, with real hopes and failures, but a real reason to live.

  • Big Song

    Everyone except the hunter has a song. Everyone calls him "No-song" until one day, the Coyote gives him "Big-song".

  • Bill The Angry Porter

    Paid to be angry, Bill must keep up his anger for the sake of his good wages, but how long can he keep it up?

  • Dead Man's Boots

    Walking on a cold night through a forest, a traveller comes across a corpse wearing a pair of boots in much better condition to his own.

  • Donkey to Market

    A father and son try to take their donkey to market, but meet with disapproval every step of the way.

  • Fluffy Sheets

    Abriella, the oft neglected of two sisters. Falls down a well into a new world, where she finds a job as a cleaner where she must make sure to fluff the bed sheets properly.

  • Generous to the Bones

    A king is too generous to all the wrong people. People take advantage of him, and eventually exile him from his own kingdom. When found he is brought before the king of his new country, who makes him a curious proposition.

  • Get out of my Way

    Original: Sam has a problem; everyone keeps getting in his way. One day he comes up with a solution.

  • Hans in Luck

    Having worked hard for seven years, and been paid well. Hans makes his way home to his mother. On the way he makes a series of rather fortunate trades.

  • Job

    Biblical: Why do bad things happen to good people? When Job is struck by immense suffering, Job's friends come to visit him, and to let him know what they think on the subject.

  • Jonah, and the Ninevites

    Biblical: Jonah has a message to take to Ninevah, which might just save their lives. But Jonah hates the Ninevites. Why should he go?

  • Little Frost

    Young Frost wants to take over his father's job of chilling people to the bone. His father sets him an easy challenge, then a much harder one.

  • May whatever you do next...

    "Continue until dawn." After helping a stranger, a seamstress is left with a curious blessing. But when she sees him again, How will she treat him?

  • One Rotten Apple

    Thrown out from his job at the greengrocers, a drunken gambler, discovers a noble girl penniless in town. He tries to use her information to get revenge on the greengrocers.

  • Ostrich in Love

    An Ostrich falls in love with a woman. Every day, he goes to approach her, but every day his nerves get the better of him.

  • Returning the Pancake Pan

    Candice borrows a pancake pan from a scary neighbour. She promises to bring it back with a pancake in, but the pancake looks delicious.

  • Sahrazad - An intro to storytelling

    Originally the frame story for the 'One Thousand and One Arabian Nights' collection. Sahrazad, is a young woman, who had to tell new stories, every night to save both her life and the lives of many young women in her city.

  • Stone Soup

    A weary traveller enters a town, looking for some lodgings for the night. When no-one is willing to take him in, he pulls a magic stone from his bag and begins to play music to it.

  • The Clerk's Tale

    The rich marquis takes a common wife. But once they have been married some years, he decides to test her faithfulness.

  • The Story Sack

    When someone refuses to tell stories, his bride's sister overhears the spirits of the stories angrily planning to kill him.

  • Tears For a Troll

    A king decides to risk crossing a Troll Bridge to get home quicker. The Troll agrees to spare the king's life on one condition. The king must send whoever or whatever comes out to greet him first when he returns home.

  • The Chief's Dilemma

    Upon discovering his son is guilty of a great crime, the chief, as judge of the town, has to decide whether to act justly, or spare his son the punishment.

  • The Emperor's New Clothes

    What if the emperor was a bit smarter? How would he react to the two scoundrel tailors?

  • The Eviction of Misery

    A couple have a lodger who causes them no end of trouble. His name is Misery. Finally they hatch a plan to get rid of him.

  • The Fen Brotherhood's End

    Pseudo-History:King Charles I is on the run, and in order to save his life gives money to a member of the Fen Brotherhood of the Grey Goose Feather.

  • The King's Seed Heir

    A wise king with no heir, calls all the local children together and gives each of them a seed, the one who tends it best, will be his heir, and they will be known by how it grows.

  • The Knight's Tale

    Two knights, both in prison, are struck by the beauty of a fair maiden who walks through the grounds they can see. It doesn't matter as neither will ever get to talk to her. But what happens when one of them is released?

  • The Lie and The Desert

    Biblical:Jesus is fasting in the desert and waiting for direction from God, when the Devil comes with his ancient lie to try to stop him.

  • The Ox's Eyes

    Two brothers share an ox and work the land together. One day that ox trips, and goes blind. They call for a vet to help him. He does. When the brothers face the same problem again they think they can avoid the vet's fees.

  • The Smell of Bread

    A man is caught stealing the smell of bread from outside of a bakery.

  • The Surgeon's Limbs

    Three great surgeons brag about their abilities. When they are challenged to prove themselves, they each remove a limb, promising to re-attach it the following morning.

  • The Thief and the Apple Tree

    Caught stealing to feed her family, and sentenced to hang, a woman resorts to telling everyone she has an important secret which will die with her.

  • The Worrier King

    A king who worries about everything, seeks to find someone who does not worry. When he finds him, he decides to prove to him that he should be worried.

  • Unlucky Asks the Creator

    The most unlucky man in the world, sets out on a journey to ask the creator why he is so unlucky.

  • Wuhan's Garlics

    Wuhan wakes up one morning to discover his garlics all stolen. He sets off to the magistrate to report the crime. The magistrate orders he bring his shed in for questioning.

Story Workshops:

Along side the story time, I can run a workshop, teaching how to tell traditional stories.

In the workshops we look at:

  • Imagining a story, vs remembering a script
  • Breaking apart a story structure, and building a new story
  • At the scene. Looking around
  • Becoming a character
  • Practicing and refining a story

The workshops can be either one or two hours, and can be repeated throughout the day to multiple classes.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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