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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
CeltArctic Story selection - storytelling to adults (55* d) RE: Story selection - storytelling to adults 11 Jul 06

I consider myself a storyteller as well as a balladeer, but I rarely perform stories. My problem is, most of the gigs I get locally are 15 minute slots in variety show type events. To tell a story to an untried audience, I need to build a rapport and 'train' my audience to listen to me. I find it very difficult to do that with a 15 minute story. Besides, I don't know any traditional stories shorter than 15 minutes.

I am often frustrated by the perception people have about storytelling. Either they think writers are storytellers, or they think storytelling is just for kids. Another problem I have is that I feel isolated in the type of stories I tell. These days, many storytellers have become theatrical in their telling, making the performance more like a short play than a story. Other tellers tell anectodal stories. I don't have a problem with these types of performances per se, but I always feel like a throwback or something out of a time warp.

I prefer telling to adults. And if I can get a long enough set, or if I am telling at a storytelling festival or club (where the audience is already primed to listen to storytelling) I find whatever I tell will work, simply because I am so involved with the story as I tell it. When I am telling, the story is absolutely current and real in my own mind - I'm feeling and experiencing everything as though it were happening at that moment. As a result, my audiences (I hope) are equally into it.

It helps, too, that in these longer performances, I can mix things up by including ballads, recitations and what-not.

Northerner - have you hooked up with anyone in the Toronto Storytelling scene? There's a storytelling club there called 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling. Also, there is a national storytelling organization called Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada (SC/CC). You would get lots of support and suggestions from these avenues. The SC/CC produces a quarterly magazine called The Appleseed Quarterly which often references storytelling books, albums and other resources. Their website is:

Good luck, Moira

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