Telling stories and celebrating the oral tradition
National Storytelling Week runs from January 26th-February 2nd and was created by Storyteller and Folklorist Del Reid. He is a founding member of the Society for Storytelling and began National Storytelling Week 19 years ago! It is a fantastic celebration of the Oral Tradition with storytelling events being held all over the UK.
For National Storytelling Week this year I took part in an event at The Rich Mix London. ‘Everyone a Maker – Everyone a Storyteller’ was part of their diverse programme with the theme ‘Power to Change’. My stories were tales from East and West Africa which challenge us to think about how we look after our earth and the environment. From babies to adults, everyone listened, reacted and some shared what the stories reminded them of. With one mum capturing a moment and sharing the photos on instagram below:
View this post on Instagram
Well the weather outside was frightful! But inside #Richmix was delightful! What a lovely afternoon filled with interactive story telling by the lovely @wendycshearer! #power2change #storytelling #anansistories #Africanstories #storytellers #feedtheirimagination #nationalstorytellingweek
Throughout the year, I visit schools across the UK (mostly London). I’m asked to perform storytelling for their events. These range from World Book Week, Multicultrual Week, International Events, Black History Month to name a few. For National Storytelling Week I’m visiting 3 schools. Today the first school visit was Edward Wilson School. Some of the pupils met me last year in 2018 at one of the National Literacy Trust’s Young Reader’s Programme events. The teachers were so pleased with our storytelling session that they got in touch and asked me to visit and celebrate National Storytelling Week with their entire school.
Fear behind the eyes…
My eldest child gave me a bit of advice before I headed out of the door this morning: “Don’t worry if the Year 6 kids laugh or don’t join in mum. We just tend to do things like that even if we’re listening”. She knows that I’m very passionate about my storytelling and put 150% into reaching everyone who is listening to my story, but we can all get a bit daunted at times and perhaps she saw a hint of fear in my eyes about the impending whole school assembly. I was pleased to let her know that Year 6 pupils were very engaged. They had their hands up with ideas which I added to the story. They came up to the front to try out my props and create effects. I absolutely love telling stories, creating images and moments in time. There is nothing quite like the energy of an entire school, pupils and teachers, being silent during a dark, dangerous moment, laughing loudly at a joke or sponateously performing actions with you to a tale. Just magic!
If you’d like to know what storytelling events are happening for National Storytelling Week or any other time, visit the Society for Storytelling‘s website which has a listing of many events and a directory of Storytellers all over the UK.