What do you mean by 'traditional storytelling'?
We are talking about the oral tradition: stories being passed down, by word of mouth, for thousands of years. These stories are often called folk tales or sometimes even fairy tales or old wives' tales. The practice of traditional storytelling is the relaying of these tales, without a script, to an audience. The telling might happen informally with friends or family or in performance (some people have started calling this type of traditional storytelling 'performance storytelling').
How is it different from 'storytelling theatre'?
The word 'storytelling' comes up a lot in the making of theatre. We are encouraged as actors to 'tell the story' and many scripts make use of a 'storytelling style' - assigning characters lines which directly address the audience and use phrases such as 'once upon a time'. There are also many theatrical adaptations of folk tales. None of these is the same thing as traditional storytelling. In traditional telling there is no script and each teller will tell primarily as themselves (although they will take on a number of characters within the story as it requires). Each teller will tell in their own words and will vary their telling and interact with their audience as they see fit. No performance is ever the same and storytelling is therefore uniquely flexible, as the teller is free to respond to their listeners.
Where does it happen?
Storytelling can happen informally amongst friends and family (think about times when you told each other ghost stories when you were young, or your parents or grandparents told you a story from memory). Performance storytelling happens more formally at festivals, in museums, in schools and libraries, at storytelling club nights (like a spoken word or open mic night), at story circles (where tellers will swap stories and/or practice their material) and with community groups.
Who is it for? Is it just for children?
Stories and storytelling are for everyone. While storytellers work in schools and with young people in the community, they also perform for and work with adults. Storytelling club nights and storytelling festivals are primarily adult events and many folk stories contain adult content. The range of stories an experienced storyteller can relate can be as broad as the range of DVDs at HMV. Some of them are for children and some of them aren't. Some of them are horrifying, others are romantic, zany, sexy or funny. A good storyteller will adjust a story for their audience and make it right for them.
Where do you get your stories from?
Storytellers share tales and pass them on to one another. But nowadays there are many, many books of folk tales to be found in charity shops, on line and at high street sellers. There are also, increasingly, on line collections of stories from all over the world. Some storytellers are lucky enough to be descended from a long line of tellers and can relate tales that their great-great-great grandparents told: Others steep themselves in the stories of the land in which they grew up: Still others tell tales which resonate with them from all over the world.
Why do you want to combine storytelling with theatre? What do you mean by this?
Rambling Heart was founded to explore how storytelling could work within a theatre context. By this we don't just mean putting traditional storytelling performances into theatre spaces (although this is great too!) - we mean experimenting with how the form of storytelling (unscripted, direct audience address, outside of any character) can happen within a piece of theatre. Can it coexist alongside scripted scenes? How do co-tellings work between casts of actors? How can storytelling better connect performers with their audiences and make more a more equal, open and accessible audience experience? These are some of the questions we are interested in answering.
How do you become a storyteller?
Start telling. Visit your local story circle. Read some folk tales, pick a favourite and have a go at recounting it, without writing it down. Go on a storytelling course. Book tickets for a storytelling festival. Get in touch with us.