Professional Storyteller

Share a Story - Change the World

The BBC recently ran a program called "Imagine: Art Is Child's Play" for those that didn't see it put simply they referred to the importance of the spirit of child's play in art - looking at people like Tracy Emin.

The reason this struck a chord with me is because I had just returned from a week long storytelling course at Marley Bank (Ben Haggerty's School of Performance Storytelling) which was totally devoted to the theme of exploration and play.

Apocalypse the course was called and we used the idea that if the end of the world was coming - have we explored all ways to tell stories?

We told in character, with mask, props, costumes, music, objects, pictures, hats! We simply explored and it gave me a new experience - something I hadn't yet discovered about storytelling and was delighted to find - the sense of Play!

Until now I could be accused of taking learning the art of storytelling a little too seriously (we all know there is a great power in story that should be respected) I've been desperately trying to improve and learn and grow as a teller, and I've been hitting the wall of my own ego.

Through play I found a wonderful way to grow and enoy at the same time.

So I plan to keep playing - and I urge you to do the same.

But how? What other ways are there to play with story? With performance? What else is there to explore? What is out there that we can add to our toolboxes? What can stretch us and help us and improve our stories?

These are the questions I'll be pondering over the next few months... Any ideas I'd love to hear them.

Views: 15


You need to be a member of Professional Storyteller to add comments!

Join Professional Storyteller

Comment by Vicky Parsons on July 2, 2010 at 7:30am
Oh guys, I like I like. Thanks for the links Tim. Playing virally is definitely something I'm keen to explore, and I hadn't throught of collaboration but that could work brilliantly through the internet... I shall muse and work out a way to do it!
Storytellers unplugged sounds great. I've always wanted to just make up stories on the spot with kids... but not yet had the opportunity - another one to go in the hat. Hope it goes well.
Claire - I shall go and learn a foriegn language and get back to you on that one ;0) Keep ranting. xx
Comment by Clare Muireann Murphy on July 2, 2010 at 7:09am
Hey Vicky and Tim

great topic.
New form of playing that is sprouting up in Europe is through language, how to have more fun on stage using multiple languages. and also the idea that not everything need be translated, it can also be revealed through the playfulness of a foreign language and the audience will understand the story.

As for what Tim says, yes and thank you for the links!
We are slow to use other mediums, and I think in part Vicky it is what you say about the seriousness with which we take the art. But without play there is no joy and therefore storytelling can become lost up its own sacred arse, as it were.

must muse on this more....
just ranted off the top of my head!
Comment by Tim E on July 1, 2010 at 6:27pm
I've been watching YouTube for five years now. It propelled me to start Story Lab X, to note the ways in which storytelling performance translates (or doesn't) to video. And after reading your post-- I think that storytellers are by and large five years behind (if not more) the possibilities of internet video in terms of 'play.'

YouTube is filled with aspiring musicians-- some are singer/songwriters, others just amateurs who use the Web as a playground and to share with others-- and there are two aspects that stand out for me of how musicians 'play' on Youtube. One is technical (most videos are just turn the camera on and record the performance BUT a few creative types are exploring what you can do with editing) and the second is collaboration.
Here's a recent video of Sophie Madeleine, a songwriter and ukulele player who 'plays' with both:

Tools like Skype can make instant collaboration possible but even the limits of asychronous collaboration (as in the song, above) can spur creativity and play.


Here's a storytelling video made by John Liu which captures some accidental play (i.e. the director is playing with story, I don't think the storytellers themselves are). I could imagine that intentionally getting some storytellers to try this would yield some fascinating results.

The folks at Forced Entertainment aren't storytellers so much as they are conceptual theatre artists, but I love the way they play with story (be sure to click on "gallery"):


At the National Storytelling Conference coming up at the end of this month in Los Angeles, I'll be presenting a Fringe performance called "Storytellers Unplugged." Storyteller Ruth Halpern and I get up to perform with really only one rule: we can't tell any stories from our repertoire. We have to improvise. Who knows what will happen?



© 2020   Created by Don 'Buck P' Creacy.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service