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Interview With OpenStoryTellers

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OpenStoryTellers are a community arts charity based in Frome that run groups and projects to support people with learning disabilities and autism. You can find out more about the charity and how to get involved on their website: openstorytellers.org.uk


Why do you think Storytelling is important?

Clemma: Because it helps people survive through stories and helps them tell their own and it brings out all the boo-hoos out of you

Robin: if we didn’t have stories there would be no audience, no TV or radio to tell stories, books, in person or on the internet

Tim: everybody needs to know and hear stories.

Lesley: makes connections and making sense of what’s happening to us, and its fun!

Paula: meeting people and listening to their stories

Charlotte: Helps people come out of their shell and they like to listen and play instruments and dancing, if someone’s shy they might be nervous- stories can help you

Angie: You can be transported, see the world through a different view and fire the imagination

Katie: Gets people to interact with others. Gets us out into the community and learning new skills, sharing stories also gets things off the chest, helps anxiety.

What do you think makes a great storyteller?

Clemma: knowing how to tell it from your heart and believe in the story you’re telling

R: we tell a story to people that desperately need a story about things that happen in life and dreams, it helps them to understand how to tell a story. If they are new we teach them narrative.

T: how they tell- I’ve always loved watching Bernard Crivens Jackanory – you hung on every word he said

L: someone who knows their story really well and knows their audiences and that  the story is more important than themselves.

P: music can make stories better, watching films is like storytelling – James Bond and Titantic are my favourites

A: transport to a different world, language and body language can help you get lost in a story

K: We learn from each other, we project our voices in various ways

Charlotte: Someone that makes you feel happy and excited through the story

Why do you think Storytelling is still popular?

Clemma: because if it wasn’t we wouldn’t be in our storytelling group and OpenStoryTellers wouldn’t exist and it’s so important to us

K:  Because it gets people with learning disabilities to use their skills and to show them off

How can newcomers to Storytelling get involved?

Clemma: send Openstorytellers a letter or email and we will help you to. I got involved from meeting a storyteller called Nicola Grove years ago.

Could you name a favourite moment/act that you have seen during Storytelling?

Clemma: I love Simon Blakeman and his Christmas story- it was funny. He told it to us at our Bardic Chair competition that we do each year. And I loved telling my own story of the seagull who tried to steal my muffins – it was a real story and it was funny.

R: an C18th story about a girl called Fanny Fust – she was from Bristol and got abducted and taken to France – it reminded me of my trip to France where I bought a china dog and a gramophone and recreated the HMV image.

T: Festival at the Edge in Staffordshire – we had never doen anything like that. Being able to do it was my favourite moment, we saw loads of great storytellers.

L: I was supporting Fiona tell a magic garden story in our real garden at OpenStoryTellers, there was a moment when the character spots a bird and Fiona saw a real bird – she improvised and added it into the story

C: working on our ‘Peter the Wild Boy’ story and making costumes behind the scenes with my team was my favourite moment in Storytelling

K: the abduction scene in Fanny Fust!

What encouraged you to take the plunge to storytelling in public?

Katie: My friends and fellow storytellers helped build my confidence and to be able to show my emotions

Which types of stories do you prefer to tell?

Katie: I like to tell tradional stories like Fanny Fust and Peter the Wild Boy

How has storytelling adapted during lockdown?

Katie: Doing stories on laptops or ipads on Zoom

What is the future of storytelling?

Katie: For us, its taking Peter the Wild Boy and Fanny Fust to theatres and schools


Watch the trailer for Peter The Wild boy!


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