I am a Singaporean storyteller – a member of the Merdeka generation (!), I was born here to Welsh parents, grew up in UK but returned in 1978 and have lived here ever since.
After 23 years of drama teaching, theatre production and written storytelling as a poet and playwright, I discovered storytelling in 1998 and started telling professionally soon after.
I love telling stories and also helping others - adults - and kids - discover or develop the teller in themselves.
My strengths as a storyteller
I am light-hearted, frequently interactive, very visual - either through by incorporating slides, gestures or sign language. I am able to pitch the style of telling to suit the age of my audience.
As a former English/drama teacher, I am aware of how to use a story as an effective teaching strategy.
At international festivals, organisers often ask me to open or close a performance, as they are confident I will grab and hold their audience, providing a strong ending (that warms the audience up) or a closing with a memorable take-away.
Thanks to my theatre background, I am confident when performing for large audiences in excess of 300 - I have on three occasions successfully delivered an interactive story to corporate audiences of more than 600 pax (for A-STAR, SUSS and Gardens by the Bay).
MY CV 2019 - 2022
Kolkata ISF, Gawuhati
Vishakapatnam Junior Literary Festival
Bangalore Story Festival
CV Highlights 2008 – 2018
Bangkok International Folk Festival
KL Story Festival@ Genius Aulad
Bangkok International Storytelling Festiva
Kuching Storytelling Festival
Kolkota Story Residency
Sigana In’l Storytelling Festival (Nairobi)
Penang Int'l Kids Storytelling (PINKS)
Under the Alamaraam Festival, Chennai
Borneo Education Festival, Sandakan - Sabah
Kanoon Int’l Storytelling Fest (Tabriz, Iran)
Chang’an University summer camp, Xi'an,
Hong Kong Storytelling Conference
SIS Residency, HK
2008 - 2010
Longmans Storytelling Festival, Hong Kong (every year)
Bahrain Arts Festival (2008)
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
My pre-storytelling CV
2022 - present: Roger Jenkins Storyteller
2018 - present Founding director, FEAST
2008 - 2021 Director, Roger Jenkins Pte Ltd
1995 - 2007 Director, Dramaplus Arts Ltd
1992 - 1994 Dramaplus Arts (Sole Prop)
1988-1991 Artistic Director, Stars Community Theatre
1985 - 1988 co-Director, STARS Community Theatre with Christina Sergeant
1978-84 Drama Teacher UWCSEA with a year off in the middle, backpacking in Asia
1975 -78 Head Drama, Deanes School, Essex
1971 - 75 Liverpool University followed by my PGCE at Bretton Hall (Leeds University)
Story Organisations / Festivals / Activities that I am passionate about:
The Federation of Asian Storytellers
is an exciting community of people passionate about storytelling. Predominantly Asian - though not exclusively so, for we welcome Non Resident in Asia members - we are focused on Learning and Development. FEAST runs 8 - 10 monthly Learning Capsules a year (90 minute online sessions facilitated by a highly experienced teller). We offer two or three mentorships annually catering to 4-5 people - Eco- and Adult Performance Storytelling are the themes for 2023. There are special interest groups in improvisation, eco-telling and podcasting. We also host regular Story Swaps (free even for non-members!) Learn more
It's the Dewey classification for what I consider the best shelf in the library - traditional stories! I founded the 398.2 in 2015 upon the demise of the previous storytelling festival, as I wanted to give our local storytelling community the opportunity to continue sharing and showcasing its talent and diversity.
The Festival was managed from 2017 – 2020 by Story Connection Limited, a non-profit company I created for the purpose with Sheila Wee. However the spectacular growth of FEAST meant Sheila and I were unable to give 398.2 the attention it deserved. We are delighted that the Storytelling Association Singapore agreed to take over the ownership of the Festival and has run two highly successful iterations in 2021 & 2022.
Thanks to the support of the National Library Board, our venue partner from the very beginning, and funding from the National Arts Council, the 398.2 has been a largely free festival from Day 1.
I am a trained audio-describer for live theatre performance and I am proud to be part of Singapore's push to maker the arts more accessible.
I applaud both Singapore Repertory Theatre and Wild Rice for their exceptional commitment to promoting access to all of their performances through audio description, sign language interpretation and/or close captioning, and offering relaxed performances.
Bi-Lingual Telling & Tandem telling with a partner
In 2022, I told stories with actors speaking in Mandarin (with Abby Lai), Malay (with Gene Sha Rudyn) and Tamil (with Grace Kalaiselvi). The project was made possible thanks to a Self-Employed Person's Grant from the NAC. view the stories for free on the Story Stream
Tandem-telling with a hearing-impaired partner:
GOPHI NATHAN and I have worked together on a variety of projects since 2010 and examples of our work are available on the Story Stream. I have been blessed to work with three talented and generous deaf actors who have taught me so much about non-verbal communication - Dennis Tan, Ramesh Meyappan and then Gophi .
Gecko Can't Sleep in 7 languages!
I play the harassed Balinese village chief and I am joined by Rona Mentari (Indonesia) Ang Sook Kim (South Korea), Alla Lebedeva (Russia), Rituparna Ghosh (India), Cem Alfar (Turkey) and Simone Sales (Philippines) each speaking in their own Mother Tongue as gecko, fireflies, woodpecker, frog, dung beetle and water buffalo.
A dramatic re-telling of the version of the folktale found in Anne Pellowski's book. The recording was made as part of a celebration by the NSN for Earth Day 2021.
Here's a bi-lingual version in Bahasa Melayu and English with my good friend Gene Sha Ru Dyn (and subtitles)