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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Dan Keding Storytelling at folk clubs (36) RE: Storytelling at folk clubs 18 Dec 07


If you are trying to tell stories in folk clubs then my advice is to start with short, humorous material. This will introduce the audience to both you as a performer and storytelling as a performance art. After you have told at a particular club for a while you will have built up an audience that will want to hear stories as well as you telling them. Then you can begin to introduce longer more serious or thoughtful tales.

There are two books that come to mind by Margaret Read MacDonald called "Three Minute Tales" and "Five Minute Tales." Forty or more stories per book and all time tested and true.

As you learn your art expand and challenge both yourself and your audience. If you always give them short and funny eventually they'll tire of it. If you treat an audience like five year olds they'll respond like five year olds - I know I do!!

Gain your local audiences confidence and then begin to introduce them to the beauty of longer more intricate stories. Learn tales from your own area - folks like to hear about the ghost that haunts a house down the street more than the one in London.

Attend as many storytelling events as you can and listen to other tellers - Hugh Lupton, Taffy Thomas, Amy Douglas, Helen East, Shonaleigh, Ben Haggerty, Mike Rust, etc. Study their styles and watch as they work with the audience to create the story in each person's imagination. Go to festivals and sign up for the open mike session. Tell at every opportunity. Volunteer at a local school to tell stories two or three times a year for a particular class - this way you can try out your new stories and the children can give you feed back.

Listen as people talk and hear their words, their inflections, their accents, their rhythm, their vocabulary. Don't copy but integrate.

Once you get it all together you can hold any audience of any size in any venue with a story.

Take care,


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