StoryFest 2022: Promoting the Art of Storytelling and Tips on Creating More Compelling Narratives – The A-List

StoryFest 2022: Promoting the Art of Storytelling and Tips on Creating More Compelling Narratives – The A-List

Everyone enjoys a good story. They transport us to other worlds and help us imagine experiences we have never lived through. They tickle our minds and transcend time (and timezones, as you will discover shortly). They captivate us and have been told throughout human history.

What better way to indulge in the beauty of storytelling than with StoryFest? An annual event that promotes the art and power of storytelling locally and globally, StoryFest has made an impact on Singapore’s literary arts community for the past five years.

The A List delves into this year’s theme Story Threads, the programme revealed so far (Bedtime Stories), and creative producer Kamini Ramachandran’s top storytelling tips.

What is StoryFest?

Storyfest 2022

Presented by The Storytelling Centre Limited and The Arts House, StoryFest is an annual festival that celebrates and pays homage to great stories told through a variety of styles, repertoire, and cultural arts presentations in Singapore and across the globe. Every year since 2017, StoryFest introduces a new theme that encapsulates the event and its programmes.

The theme: Story Threads

This year, the theme is Story Threads and it aims to let audiences experience the true oral tradition and practice of storytelling. The belief is that storytelling isn’t just about speaking to people. Instead, invisible, incorporeal threads connect the narrative to the storyteller, and the storyteller to the listener, creating a deeper understanding of the story for all.

How StoryFest 2022 brings out this notion is by having its storytellers understand and connect deeply with their stories, so much so that they do not require scripts. This also results in every retelling never being the same.

Programme spotlight

Bedtime Stories

Following the theme of Story Threads is StoryFest 2022’s first programme: Bedtime Stories, which features the use of different time zones. The idea is simple yet ingenious: to remind people what it’s like to have a bedtime story told to them, one-to-one video calls are arranged and children from one side of the world will tell bedtime stories to adults on the other side of the world.

The programme will begin with children in Montréal (Canada) telling stories to adults in Norfolk (U.K). Following this, children in Singapore will tell stories to those in Montréal. To complete the nocturnal cycle, the children of Norwich (UK) will then tell their stories to adults in Singapore.

Childhood Memory Bedtime Stories

For those who desire to relive a childhood memory, the sessions are held from 28-30 Jun. This is a nostalgic experience not to be missed!

Get tickets to Bedtime Stories here.

Top storytelling tips

Kamini Ramachandran, Creative Producer of StoryFest 2022.
Kamini Ramachandran, Creative Producer of StoryFest 2022.

Feeling the urge to put pen to paper and write your own stories? Here’s some advice on how to create compelling narratives from StoryFest’s very own Creative Producer, Kamini Ramachandran.

1. What do you think makes a good story?

A good story needs to be able to resonate with your target audience. The definition of a good story is only good for your target audience. A good story for children, may not necessarily be good for adults. So as a storyteller you are always catering to your audience.

2. What techniques do you use when crafting your stories?

I verbally tell the story aloud to nobody in particular because I need to hear what I sound like. And that’s when I make adjustments and tweak them here and there. And when I’m happy with it, I can tell it to the wall or I can tell it to a mirror so I can see myself reflected. And more often than not, I create a story map, which is visual. There are no words, no texts, no digits, no numbers, only stick figures and simple line drawings. I can elaborate on it later with colours. All my stories, regardless of whether it’s a fairy tale for a child, or whether it’s a one-hour epic, I will break it down into eight sections. This is a technique that I teach all my storytelling students and mentees.

Kamini heading up a storytelling session for the Children’s Biennale at National Gallery Singapore.
Kamini heading up a storytelling session for the Children’s Biennale at National Gallery Singapore.

3. What is your one tip for new storytellers?

You must start listening to other storytellers. You must be in the presence of other oral storytellers, so you can understand how the craft is performed. And you also get to listen to oral stories, which are very different to contemporary writing, which is very different to fiction. Oral tradition is from the universal cannon, and everything comes from a specific culture or heritage. Storytelling and folklore are linked to a very different repertoire and backgrounds, and there’s a lot of reading that needs to go into it to understand because you cannot only know one version. It’s your responsibility to do your research, to know multiple versions of that story and then to find an opportunity to tell it to someone.

Learn more about StoryFest here.

(Photos: StoryFest, Kamini Ramachandran)

Follow The A List on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to get updates on local arts and culture happenings on the go.

We can’t wait to share more awesome content with you. This is going to be so much fun.

Give us a heads up on the topics that interest you: