Wow – what a World Storytelling Day that was!
World Storytelling Day has been going in a truly International way since about 2004 and I have usually celebrated it by telling stories from around the world in a school. This has been a great way to celebrate different countries, cultures and storytelling with young people and raise awareness of storytelling. However, this year was entirely different! All over the world people have cancelled gatherings and are maintaining social distancing. While that sounds like it should have been the end of this year’s World Storytelling Day, it led to the most vibrant celebration of our global storytelling community I’ve yet encountered!
In these uncertain times we need stories more than ever. Storytellers flocked in droves to their computers and phones, posting videos on facetime and twitch. A week ago, I had never heard of Zoom, but suddenly lots of storytellers were using it to organise concerts and storyrounds. I took part in two – one organised by Liz Weir in Ireland and one by Sheila Arnold in America. Both concerts included English speaking storytellers from all over the world, both were free and open to all. This year was a real sharing of cultures and voices, a coming together of storytellers. More than that, it was open to anyone living anywhere in the world with an internet connection, meaning that it was welcoming to many people who would not normally be able to attend live storytelling events for all sorts of reasons – financial, health, caring for others, location…the list goes on. Nobody would wish for the situation we are in, but I am proud of how people are responding, coming together and supporting each other.
Although World Storytelling Day was on Friday March 20th, celebrations are continuing all week. Online storyrounds and concerts are going to be continuing monthly, weekly and in some cases daily! I think most will be free, but particularly concerts with professional storytellers will have a tip jar, so that those who still have a regular income and can afford it can contribute. As I hear about concerts and storyrounds, I’ll share them on my FB page. The Society for Storytelling group is also an excellent hub to find out what’s going on. Personally, I’m very excited to be talking with ‘Get A Word in Edgeways Festival’ and I’m going to be hosting some spoken word concerts on zoom starting in April – watch this space!
@artscouncilofengland, @ace_midlands, @ace_national, @artyaml, @sfs_uk @scotstoryfourm @EU_SSSA @Stories4Society @BTBStorytelling @GEECStweets @TadHargrave