ENCHANTING STORYTELLERS

Published on 23 May 2017

Credit: The Arts House

Be prepared to be spellbound by a kaleidoscope of stories with the first-ever StoryFest: International Storytelling Festival Singapore from 2 – 4 June. Featuring 23 storytellers from Singapore and around the world, there are programes for all ages  – from magical folktales for the kids to a workshop on building emotional literacy through storytelling.

By MELANIE LEE

Find out more about this charming art form from our local storytellers involved with Storyfest 2017, with a sneak peek into the stories they are going to tell during this festival!

“Storytelling speaks to the hearts of people.” - David Bok

Credit: David Bok

Bok is part of the Storytelling Association (Singapore). He will be performing at “Singapore Showcase: Stories for Change” on Sat, 3 June 2017, 5-7pm.

I will be telling the story of “The Rabbi’s Gift”, which tackles the eternal problem of how to live peaceably in a community. Religions, languages, cultures, tribes and people often get divided by politics, but stories like this one can be a unifying, healing balm.

Reading, seeing or listening to well-told stories help me to appreciate the complexities of our world and the people that live in it. Telling stories helps me to connect to others and prevents me from being a boring old man.

“Storytelling is how we are wired to communicate as human beings.” - Kamini Ramachandran

Credit: Kamini Ramachandran

Ramachandran is the founder of The Storytelling Centre Ltd and the creative producer of Storyfest: International Storytelling Festival Singapore. She will be performing at “Journey Through Asia” on Sun, 4 June 2017, 8-9.30pm.

My story comes from “The Arabian Nights” and is a humorous tale of a foolish man and his capers with the Sultan. I will be closing the whole festival and I wish to take the audience on a wondrous and lighthearted journey that will be memorable.

A good storyteller must, first of all, be a good listener. I grew up listening to my grandfather’s storytelling. This had a profound impact on cultivating habits of patience and observation – both of which have helped me as a person and an artist.

“Storytelling is about connecting with human emotions through stories.” - Jurveen Kaur

Credit: The Storytelling Centre Ltd

Kaur is part of the Young Storytellers Mentorship Programme and will be featured in “A Tapestry of Tales” on Fri, 2 June 2017, 8-10pm.

I will be telling “The Curse of Mahsuri”, a folktale about a beautiful maiden accused of adultery. This story compels listeners to question their own interpretation of justice.

Storytelling has developed a sense of empathy in me as I delve deeper into human psyche. Listening to stories broadens my perspective of different cultures and beliefs. Above all, I relish being enchanted into a different world; one that I create for my listeners and co-create as a listener.

“Storytelling takes an audience on a journey through sincerity.” - Suharti Suhaimi

Credit: The Storytelling Centre Ltd

Suharti is part of the Young Storytellers Mentorship Programme and will be featured in “A Tapestry of Tales” on Fri, 2 June 2017, 8-10pm.

The story that I will be sharing is “Vis and Ramin”. This epic love story was originally a poem by the Persian poet Fakhruddin As’ad Gurgani in the 11th century. I was attracted to the story as it was the first major Persian romance ever told. I do enjoy telling tales of passionate love.

Storytelling has made me a better listener. I pick up little details during conversations these days and am much more aware of my surroundings and myself.

“Storytelling is a way of life.” - Sunita Chiu

Credit: Striking Pixels

Chiu is part of The Singapore Monologue Slam. She will be performing at “Singapore Showcase: Stories for Change” on Sat, 3 June 2017, 5-7pm.

I will be presenting a monologue from the play “People” by local playwright Joel Tan. In this monologue, I play a nurse who talks about her daily work struggles. This character is very real and down-to-earth, but in some ways, she is also larger than life. Her story shows what many people who work in the customer service sector experience, where the customer is always right.

Every story has a message no matter how mundane or crazy it may be. I love listening to stories because it gives me a sense of what the storyteller is feeling as a person and what it reveals about a certain situation. If I can relate to the story, it reassures me that I am not alone in this world. Stories bring faith and hope, especially when dealing with all the wrong things in the world.

Storyfest: International Storytelling Festival Singapore will be on from 2-4 June 2017 at The Arts House. Click here for more information on its programming.

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