I’ve just spent a lovely week telling stories at the Bridge Chapel Centre, Garston. I feel really blessed to have a job that I’m passionate about and that I love!
Storytelling is a wonderful thing for all ages. It’s the oldest form of entertainment and has existed for thousands and thousands of years. The tradition of oral storytelling despite the technically advanced world we live in is still enjoyed by many.
Some people are often a little surprised when I arrive with no books to refer to. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE books! But reading a story and telling a story are two very different things. Storytelling is a craft that takes practise. It requires an excellent memory (which by the way does not transfer to other elements of my life!), expression, pitch, accents, voices, and a touch of drama. Personally, I like to use props too, nothing too huge or fancy just something to hook the audience in.
What’s really interesting about storytelling is that many cultures have similar stories. There are many cultures both ancient and still existing that have Sun gods, gods of war, gods of fertility and gods of love to name but a few. The tales of how these gods acquire their gifts or deal with their foes are strikingly similar. There are also many stories around the world that have a very similar theme to the Porridge Pot, Stone Soup, Gingerbread Man, Cinderella and the list goes on.
I love nothing better than being given a new theme by a setting or client and starting my research. I have discovered some little gems from places such as Liberia, Costa Rica and Italy. But what’s also been nice is re-discovering or finding lots of folklore from the UK. There really is a wealth of tales, legends, myths and adventures waiting to be discovered. What’s really nice is a lot of the tales are linked to real places and real people which makes them all the more powerful.
Anyway, back to this week. It’s always a pleasure storytelling for children. They have a thirst for tales, characters and plots. And this week was no exception. From the little girl who recited The Three Little Pigs with me word for word to the babies who sat captivated during the story of Can’t You Sleep Little Bear, the power of the story was clear. And let’s not forget the grown ups: Parents, Aunty’s and Grandparents alike all sat listening intently. As one grandparent put it “I enjoyed that as much as my grandson did”.
Our themes this week have included Animals, Fairy Tales, Around the World and Journeys. It’s always hard to pick a favourite but I think this week the Chinese New Year Story and Little Red Riding Hood would take some beating.
Do I have a favourite story to tell? It’s hard because there are so many but I think it’s a story that was told to me by Taffy Thomas and it’s called Man’s Best Friend. Here’s the link if you fancy watching it for yourself. So put your feet up and enjoy. Thanks for reading.