Pop Culture

Celebrating 5 Years of Oral Storytelling with StoryFest

June 8, 2021

In celebration of its fifth anniversary, StoryFest will be enchanting audiences with a variety of storytelling programmes by local and international artists.

StoryFest 2021, the fifth edition of the annual storytelling festival, is co-presented by The Storytelling Centre Limited and The Arts House, online from 20 June – 11 July. This year’s theme, ‘ReStory’, encourages audiences to appreciate the familiar and moving moments of their lives and surroundings, and reimagine their new stories for the future.

StoryFest returns with a three-week-long virtual line-up featuring a series of evocative talks and performances hosted across Zoom, VOD, and the StoryFest YouTube channel. To commemorate its fifth year, a specially commissioned digital picture book was produced by international storytellers and local visual artists. StoryFest 2021 brings the focus back to the way stories are told and how they have evolved across time and space. By reconnecting with these rituals in storytelling, audiences are invited to dive deep into the words and transform with these stories together.

Kamini Ramachandran, Master Storyteller and Creative Producer of StoryFest shares, “it gives me a great sense of achievement to be celebrating this milestone and how far the Festival has come in these past five years. With this year’s theme, ‘ReStory’, I want to reacquaint audiences with the transformative role of storytelling in our lives and the rituals involved in doing so. I’m really looking forward to ‘The Book of Tales’ as one of the highlights of this year’s celebrations. This digital book is a testament to StoryFest providing opportunities for international storytellers and local visual artists to create collaborative works while being distanced.”

Stories that spring from the screens and stay in your hearts

Awesome Adventures takes children on five different adventures with exciting tales, featuring humans and animals on their quests of boisterous mischief. Suitable for children aged 4 – 8 years old, this could be a fun activity for families to engage in. Be prepared to travel far and wide from the comfort of your homes. Journey with these tales and celebrate curiosity from the depths of the thick African jungles in ‘The First Music’, and learn humility in ‘Ganesha & Kubera’ with an Indian feast fit for the gods.

The Book of Tales brings together five of our previous Asian premiere storytellers and local artists to create five illustrated stories in a digital picture book. These stories cater to all audiences, whether you are looking for a light-hearted tale on unexpected friendships in ‘Edith’s Lyrebird’ or a fantastical story like ‘Shela’s Journey’, that traces the heroine’s roots as she guides her ancestors back home. Through this digital commission, audiences can revisit these stories for time to come and be inspired to chart their next chapter.

Stories of Adventurous, Bold, and Courageous Heroes and Heroines

Uncover the legends of majestic Singapura against a backdrop of storytelling, percussive instruments, and vibrant illustrations in Stories From Our Shores as you hear how two heroes demonstrated resilience in trying times. Discover how Badang, a struggling orphan who was tricked into slavery, breaks free and rises to become Badang the Magnificent. Learn more about Sang Nila Utama’s roots and join Raja Suran as he embarks on an epic adventure, in search of an elusive land.

Experience extraordinary stories of women in ReStory: Celebrating the Feminine in Folklore. In Vengeance is Mine, hear this chilling story of how a lovelorn pregnant village girl transforms into a Pontianak, after dying during childbirth, to exact revenge on the young Datuk who abandoned her. Follow a princess in Savitri: The Woman Who Walked with Death as she accompanies Yama, the God of Death in a ruse to revive her beloved husband. Celebrate sisterhood and empathy through toilet confessions in the supernatural tale of The Toilet Goddess.

Get in touch with your deepest emotions through the power of storytelling

Learn to apply the qualities of mindfulness when telling stories and become more self-aware in Mindfulness as a Tool for Effective Storytelling. Other benefits of practising mindfulness include being calmer and more connected, improving your listening skills and memory.

Laughter is the best medicine for the soul and the best way to connect with your audience, especially when you’re making a persuasive pitch. In Pitching for Laughs, learn how you can add humour to boost your presentations and speaking engagements.

Are you curious about the different forms of puppetry and how you can include them in your storytelling? Discover more and how you can use recycled materials to create your own puppets in Puppets and Narratives.

For those looking to soothe their souls and calm the mind, follow Susan Perrow, an Australian educator and storyteller in The Healing Power of Stories and be introduced to the art of therapeutic storytelling. Drawing upon more than fifteen years of experience of working with children, teachers, and therapists, Susan will show participants how they can gain hope and build resilience through the restorative benefits of storytelling.

Engage your senses with Joanna Grace in Introduction to Sensory Stories and explore how stories can be harnessed to create a more inclusive space to engage children with different educational needs. These techniques can also be used by the individual to support their daily lives such as preparing for a good night’s rest.

Channelling Confidence and Resolving Crises

Whether you are an aspiring performer or working professional, being able to tell well-crafted stories will help in bringing our ideas alive and engaging audiences. Learn more about the craft of storytelling in Telling Stories with Confidence. The key to managing organisational crises lies in identifying and shaping the different types of narratives that could go a long way in recovering a company’s reputation. Managers and executive leaders can learn more about this in Organisational Crisis and Storytelling.

If audiences are interested in learning more about the rituals behind storytelling, join StoryFest’s Creative Producer, Kamini Ramachandran in Story Talk, a series of short conversations with storytellers where they share more about their practice. Some of the topics include gender and mythology, storytelling and wellbeing, as well as producing festivals during this pandemic.

Dive deep into the insidious underbelly of Malaysia’s capital with KL Noir: Magic – Storytelling Seriespresented through seven storytelling video adaptations of the bestselling KL Noir series. Unravel the truth behind a mysterious mask-wearing cult as a mute soldier enters its highest ranks in ‘War Dogs’, or even witness how a conman’s victims engage the help of a Chinese shaman to exact their revenge. Be prepared to experience some heart-stopping moments as you immerse yourselves in the quiet stories with unexpected turns that will haunt you in new ways.

“Putting together a festival is rarely easy, even if festivals are inherently joyful experiences. That is especially true in these pandemic-affected times, and so we at Arts House Limited are hugely proud of the work Kamini and her team have done to pull together another remarkable festival for the benefit of Singapore audiences, and of our association with and support for the event. We are very much looking forward to experiencing another potful of glorious stories, from playful childhood tales to sinister imaginings,” says Rupert Thomson, Director, Programming and Producing (Venues) at Arts House Limited.

If you are keen to find out more about the programmes, please visit storyfestsg.com. Members of the public can also join in the conversation at the StoryFest 2021 website, Facebook, and Instagram as well as The Arts House’s website, Facebook and Instagram.

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