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If you are wondering what a professional storyteller does, please take a look at my CV to get a sense of the fascinating diversity of events, audiences and projects I have been privileged to work on.
I returned to Singapore in 1978 as a drama teacher at UWC. I joined STARS Community Theatre in 1986 as Artistic Director, running it in partnership with the wonder Christina Sergeant. STARS closed in 1991 and I then set up DRAMAPLUS, which morphed into DRAMAPLS ARTS LTD (1996 - 2007).
I discovered storytelling by accident in 1998, when the Ministry of Education asked me to run an in-service course on using it as a classroom strategy. Learn more about my journey to becoming a storyteller at my blog, (click on About). In my blog I usually link what I’ve been doing to a story, so it’s great way to discover stories to add to your repertoire too!
16th Kanoon International Storytelling Festival,
held in Tabriz, Iran, February 2013
Participating in the Festival was a wonderful experience, making friends with some wonderful tellers from Australia, Colombia, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia (the ever cheerful Mama Tok), Peru, Portugal and Russia. The international competition ran alongside that for the winners of the regional competitions in Iran, and so we saw some powerful tellers demonstrating their craft (many in exquisite traditional clothing) including the charming Zoha Mahzoon. Although their style is relatively formal, it is clear that there’s a growing and appreciative audience for storytelling in Iran, especially as the State has given storytelling a ringing endorsement. (My hosts told me that over 50% of the Koran is told in story form.)
I hose to tell The Wooden Sword, a story I found in Heather Forest’s excellent Tales of Wisdom. To make it more accessible to the largely Farsi-speaking audience, I used a scarf to represent many things, as well as sign language for the recurring elements, which reduced the amount of translation required from my outstanding interpreter (who deserved an award himself!)
have all conducted public storytelling sessions in Libraries and national Festivals (Beware of those who just read aloud!)
Since setting up the company to focus on storytelling, I have been blessed to find a group of experienced trainers who combine classroom acumen with an enthusiasm for storytelling. They have all conducted solo and/or tandem storytelling sessions in libraries in 2014, as well as for the Little Lit! programme of the Singapore Writer’s Festival.
Chuah Ai Lin
Gemia Foo & Abby L Kahei
HOPE & JADE
Kong Yit Sim