Sophie Snell storyteller
Sophie Snell, professional storyteller for adults and children

Hosting a Storytelling Event

dewsbury storytelling tent

Contact Sophie:

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.

Fun, incisive, 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!

Indoors you 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 atmosphere.

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 eyes.

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!


"Your flexible approach and team spirit were hugely appreciated and an asset to the event as a whole, as was your good organisation and professionalism throughout. Thank you!"

...Neo Heny, Arts Project Co-ordinator, Amber Valley Borough Council.




"Those gifted with storytelling weave an invisible web that draws the listener into the tale without you realizing what’s happening. Sophie Snell is one of those storytellers whose voice mesmerizes you while images form in your mind as the tale unfolds." writes Cindy Vallar, reviewer and website editor - see

© 2009-2013 Sophie Snell