The Secrets of the Storytellers

When most people think of storytelling, they usually think of children.  But storytelling is an art form as old as mankind. And we’re all storytellers, young and old.

A story can be about anything – an event personal or worldly, real or mythological, trivial or epic, true or false, linear or not. And they don’t all have a happy ending. There is a magical  thing that happens when a person tells a story to others, because storytelling is about listening as much as telling.

I suspect that storytelling lies at the heart of every artistic discipline.

The Peterborough Storytellers are one of 18 groups of storytellers in Ontario alone. Since 1992 they have met once a month to “listen, learn and tell.” A core group of members share their storytelling skills and perform, but all are invited to listen or participate if the spirit moves them. I was spellbound by Rita Grimaldi who told A Duppy Tale in mask and gripped by Hermione Rivison’s family ghost story. Live storytelling is a fascinating study in language, as each storyteller shares the music of their own unique voice. I only wish this inclusive circle could happen in a location with a bit more ambiance. Although some of their events are child-oriented, many are only suitable for adults or children 12 and older.

If you’ve ever heard Stewart McLean on CBC, tuned into The Moth, attended a Digital Storytelling Workshop , been captivated by Native American stories of Coyote, listened to David Byrne and Brian Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, delighted in the rhythm of Jamaican patois with Miss Lou or sat around a campfire telling ghost stories, you’ll know how many styles of storytelling there are and how deep our connection with oral literature can be.

Dare to suspend belief for an evening and engage your sense of wonder, fear, imagination and magic.


Next event:
A Babe is Born – The Infant in Story and Myth
November 21st, 2012, 7-9pm
Peterborough Public Library

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