Hosting a Storytelling Event
Tel: 07796 296387
Storytelling is a
performance art still new to many people, but is amazingly engrossing, fun
and engaging for all ages. It is not reading from a book, neither is it a
piece of scripted drama. This is the oral presentation of folk tales,
myths and legends, some of which go back thousands of years but have been
passed on from generation to generation precisely because they are such
good stories. Long before books, cinema and TV, this was, along with
music, our main form of entertainment.
observational, absorbing - the art of the storyteller is creating magic
with words, literally telling the tale from remembered images in your
head. Every teller is unique and it is their individual personality,
charisma and warmth, shared with the audience and colouring each tale
told, that makes storytelling such an engaging, live performance
experience - for all ages.
Hosting a storytelling event is the
simplest thing in the world - any space will do - whether outside or
indoors. The main thing is to ensure your audience is comfortable, and the
space quiet and distraction free.
Outdoors, if it is not a
storywalk (where I guide the group round a park or country setting,
pausing to tell stories), consider seating. Chairs for older listeners,
parents etc, rugs and sheeting or dry grass and picnic blankets for
younger ones, make a big difference to people's comfort and enjoyment of
the event - and with cushions and drapes can look very inviting too.
Consider shade for protection against the sun - trees or a gazebo /
marquee. If you think it might rain, this is crucial - however good the
storyteller, an audience won't linger if their backs are aching, it's wet,
windy and cold! (Though last Halloween when I did an evening storywalk, it
was icy cold, and a lot of people in not very warm costumes, but we still
had a lot of fun, picking our way with lanterns and hooping it up with
scary or gruesome stories!).
I have performed at mud stricken music
festivals - a few straw bales or just straw spread over the ground is
enough, but consider how close the venue is to loudspeakers, busy queues
and music. One private school booked me to storytell at their bonfire
night and tried to place me in a small gazebo with the bar - a queue of
merry adults shouting out their orders and very excited children running
in all directions was pretty distracting - for me as well as the audience!
Please also be aware I do not have the facility to bring my own gazebo or
marquee - I do the entertainment - you do the venue!
still need to consider the above comments about seating and noise /
distractions. Ideally I recommend a separate room, with seating at least
for adults. You can have fun with colourful rugs, drapes on the wall,
coloured lighting, candles on tables (check safety regs first), anything
that adds to the intimacy and comfort of your setting. If I run an event
myself I always aim for comfort, warmth, bit of fresh air, lowered
lighting and a sense of a friendly, inviting
Professional lighting is not at all necessary, but if
you do have access to theatrical lighting, choose "warm" colours and set
the light so that it is not too bright, with some (low) background
lighting on the audience. This is really important - if I can't see the
audience, it is really hard work, as I need to see how they are responding
as the story progresses and to facilitate my interaction with them. For
the same reason turn off any bright lights that would shine right in my
Whether indoors or outdoors, I always need a chair for
myself and enough space for me to move around in and to access the
audience - even to around the back - some tellers just sit or stand and
tell, but my style is a bit more physical - I do jump about, and launch
into the audience if the story demands!
But don't get too worried
about all this - storytelling is designed to be flexible and fun, and I
try to be the same - if in doubt, just ask!