The Art of Storytelling and The Biggest Storytelling Festivals of the World
Storytelling—an olden art form known to have persisted throughout the ages and preserved through generations—has evolved over the course of many centuries to take contemporary forms of narratives as practised across the globe today. From the old and ancient cultural norms and mythological legends to perception-altering narratives, the art of storytelling is not only a distinctive form of artistic expression, but is also a bringer of change, as has been observed all along. With a perfect blend of gestures, expressions, and visual cues to compliment oral narratives, storytellers are great at planting seeds of inspiration in the minds of their audience.
While the advent of print media seems to have pushed afar the oral traditions, the most remarkable of all stories have been kept alive by being told over and over again. It is, however, a known fact that time changes everything, and the author’s original idea is often perceived differently by other storytellers, which is why we are today left with multiple adaptations of the same stories. What was once considered an individual’s work of art eventually morphs into works independent of any authorship in particular.
With a perfect blend of gestures, expressions, and visual cues to compliment oral narratives, storytellers are great at planting seeds of inspiration in the minds of their audience.
In the late ‘60s, a renowned French literary critic named Roland Barthes wrote an essay titled Death of the Author, implying that a story and its writer are potentially unrelated when it comes to absorbing the essence of the art form. Today, storytelling is considered an outcome of a collective effort. Anyone who is fairly acquainted with the art of storytelling can tell you about professional storytelling associations like the National Storytelling Network (NSN) or the International Storytelling Center (ISC), which were founded in the ‘70s and have since been recognized as sincere preservers of this precious art. Organizations as such have been helping storytellers gather funds and resources required to organize many national and international level storytelling festivals.
Storytelling Festivals from Around the World
The ISC organized its most recent storytelling festival – the National Storytelling Festival, in Tennessee, USA, in October 2014. An annual cultural event that began in the early ‘70s, this has been considered a first of its kind. Its origin can be traced back to a local school teacher’s custom of wheeling a farm cart to the town hall and reciting stories to a gathering of people from the neighborhood. You can expect another one this year about the same time of the year.
Time changes everything, and the author’s original idea is often perceived differently by other storytellers, which is why we are today left with multiple adaptations of the same stories.Another one-of-a-kind event held around August each year is the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival – being held since the since the last 25 years or more, in the town of Orem in Utah. This one is more of an art festival, with several musicians and storytellers putting on a compelling show alongside pottery workshops.
The Scottish International Storytelling Festival is yet another annual fest organized in Edinburg, Scotland. This one has a different theme every year, with complementing theatrical plays and dance performances to add to the flavor. It was last held around the time of Halloween in 2014 and enlivened the imaginations of many famous bards and poets.
Now, here’s something for you to anticipate in 2015 – the Federation for European Storytelling Annual Conference (FEST), one that is scheduled to be held between July 19 and 22 2015. From the old and ancient cultural norms and mythological legends to perception-altering narratives, the art of storytelling is not only a distinctive form of artistic expression, but is also a bringer of change.This storytelling fest has gained so much in popularity and support from the many international storytellers and organizers that it has managed to expand to numerous countries in the last few years, including Spain, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. This year’s fest is to be held in Greece. We’re sure in the coming years, FEST will expand its reach to many other European countries, considering the pace at which it has been expanding all along.
There is also a series of storytelling fests lined up at the Ancient Technology Centre (ATC), in Cranborne, England, in April, June, and August 2015, with the story titles The King and the Corpse, Tricksters, and Grim Grimms, respectively. Go get enthralled!
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