Asian Congress of Storytellers


Story Genre:
Understanding folk tale, fairy tale, wisdom tale & myth

Facilitator:Diane Wolkstein
Target:Teachers & Educators, Librarians, Storytellers, Performance Artistes
Level:General, suitable for all levels
Preparation:Please bring your own stationery to take note

This workshop is about the exploration of the genres of Folk Tale, Fairy Tale, Wisdom Tale, and Myth. Diane will tell a story from each of these four genres, and there will be discussions on the different aspects of wisdom that these genres embody. There will be exercises dealing with voice, gesture, and character development to help enhance your delivery of the different genres. Diane encourages questions and discussion.

Highlights: Lively participation

Learning: Participants will have a better understanding of the main story genres, new ways to enhance delivery of the different genres and techniques for effective storytelling in general.

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Music & Storytelling:
Exploring sound and music to enhance the spoken word

Facilitator:Jeff Greene
Target:Teachers & Educators, Librarians, Storytellers, Performance Artistes & Musicians
Level:General, suitable for all levels. No prior musical training is required.
Preparation:Participants are invited to bring a sound device of their choice (for example, a wind chime, a drum, or a musical instrument).

This workshop is for everyone who has an interest in enhancing their stories with music. The workshop will explore the world of sound and various musical principles, as they relate to the craft of storytelling. Topics covered will include:

  • how to enhance the spoken word with sound
  • the rhythmic interplay of music and language
  • three musical elements: interludes, accompaniments, and silence
  • exploring soundscapes, tone and musical color
  • volume, sensitivity, and the dynamics of musical accompaniment
  • how to develop characters and scenes through sound
  • how to transport the audience by creating sonic ambience and a sense of place
  • sounds and music that storytellers can make by themselves

Highlights: The participants will be able to discover for themselves how to enhance the storytelling experience with the subtle interplays of sound. Jeff will bring the instruments he uses for Monkey King: Journey to the West, and the audience will have numerous opportunities to participate in creating sounds through experimentation and group exercises.

Learning: A deeper understanding of the ways through which sound can enhance storytelling, and a greater level of confidence to utilize sound devices and musical instruments in one’s telling, whether one is a musician or not.

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Comic storytelling and the art of creating a picture in the mind’s eye

Facilitator:Shinoharu Tatekawa
Target:Parents & Caregivers, Teachers & Educators, Counselling & Therapy, Librarians, Storytellers, Performance Artistes, Corporate Sector
Level:General, suitable for all levels.

Rakugo is an ancient storytelling art form dating over 200 years from the Edo era. In this workshop, Shinoharu will perform Rakugo as a demonstration of the traditional art form. The session will provide background information on the history, method of training, and the various techniques of Rakugo. This workshop will also focus on comedy in storytelling.

Highlights: Expect humour and comedy in this session! Participants will also discover through demonstration, the skill of sharing an image between the performer and the audience.

Learning: In Rakugo, the story is told completely through the use of dialogues. Participants will understand how to use this technique to create a strong image in the minds of the audience.

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Seeing Is Believing:
Visualizing the Landscape of your Story

Facilitator:Peter Chand
Target:Teachers & Educators, Special Needs (Dyslexia), Librarians, Storytellers, Performance Artistes
Level:Intermediate, some prior experience in working with stories
Preparation:Please bring your own stationery to take notes.
Please come prepared with a five minute story that you know as we may be using it or sections of it in the workshop.

We will explore visualizing your story, and the role of imagination and memory in bringing a story to life. This workshop will focus on exploring memory and placement for a powerful image is worth a thousand words! There will also be other exercises to help participants enhance their storytelling skills via imagination

Highlights: Fun and practical exercises that help add clarity to your Storytelling performances. There will also be some group work through pairing up of participants.

Learning: Participants will have a greater understanding of visualizing a story and how to give it greater impact in the telling.

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The Shades We Speak:
Using more than one language to tell a story

Facilitator:Peter Chand
Target:Parents & Caregivers, Teachers & Educators, Librarians, Storytellers, Performance Artistes and Bilingual/Multilingual Groups
Level:Intermediate, some prior experience in working with stories
Preparation:Please bring your own stationery to take notes.
Please come prepared with a five minute story that you know as we may be using it or sections of it in the workshop.

Participants will explore dual/multi language storytelling, and how they can incorporate at least two languages within their storytelling practice. Exercises will help participants to gain confidence in using other languages in their storytelling. How to use the right words at the right time. When to translate and when to allow the audience to work it out! It’s not what you say it’s the way that you say it — using tone in dual-language storytelling is important. Exploring the power of native language when telling stories from your own culture

Video: Video of Peter telling a story for children in Dublin, Ireland, where he incorporated a simple Punjabi refrain for them to join in. Even though most of the children were not familiar with the language, there was an added element to the story by including the native language. The children who did know the language suddenly felt a sense of ‘ownership’ over the story and their reaction can be viewed in this video link.

Highlights: A lively and fun session with practical skills being shared (working in pairs) where participants will experiment and play with combining different languages to create diverse segments of a story.

Learning: The joy and satisfaction of utilising more than one language to enhance your storytelling in particular settings or with specific audiences.

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A celebration of Story Songs, Folk Dances and Traditional Musical Accompaniment

Facilitator:Rajashree Tope
Target:Parents & Caregivers, Teachers & Educators, Librarians, Storytellers, Performance Artistes
Level: General, Introductory & Beginner

This workshop will explore keertan in the form of live demonstration by Rajashree. There will be an introduction to the background and history of keertan as stories in the form of songs and Rajashree will also share her personal journey as a revered keertanker’s grand-daughter practicing this art form in today’s modern world. Look forward to some folk dance sequences and exposure to a variety of traditional musical instruments.

Highlights: Participants can expect to explore a variety of traditional musical instruments to accompany their storytelling. Participants are encouraged to try weaving simple, short songs with their narration as a form of storytelling.

Learning: Participants will be exposed to the genre of singing stories. They will be guided on how to bring stories alive using simple dance steps and traditional musical instruments.

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Let’s Get Physical:
Harnessing body movements to tell a story

Facilitator:Joe Harawira
Target:Parents & Caregivers, Librarians, Teachers & Educators, Storytellers & Spoken Word Practitioners, Performance Artistes.
Level:General, suitable for all levels

This workshop will explore the use of the body in the performance of the story. It will explore Maori dimensions and values as a basis for a relationship between the teller and the story. The Maori world view is one of connectedness and interconnectivity. It is based on the premise that we are inextricably linked to the Natural World as seen, felt, heard and understood in the following saying from the people of the Whanganui region:

‘Rere kau mai i nga maunga ki te moana
Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au’

(As the rivers flow from the mountains to the sea
I am the river, the river is me)

Highlights: This workshop will begin by the telling of a well-known Maori story. After the telling of the whole story, we will then concentrate on one particular part of the whole story and learn a short chant to which we will create some actions. The actions will portray the meaning of the words of the chant. The session will be about sharing the attributes of a particular traditional art form called haka or posture dance.

Learning: The workshop will look at audience participation, language pronunciation (Maori concepts) and be of educative value for those not familiar with the Maori culture and its people. The participants will come away from this workshop with knowledge and appreciation of the Maori culture and how the idea of performance is connected to the mind, the heart and the spirit of the culture it purports.

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Stories Alive:
Techniques and skills to enhance the telling of a story

Facilitator:Joe Harawira
Target:Parents & Caregivers, Teachers & Educators, Librarians, Storytellers & Spoken Word Practitioners, Performance Artistes
Level:General, suitable for all levels

Storytellers, no matter what form of story they tell, employ different techniques and strategies to embellish the spoken and unspoken word. Intonation and body language can enhance a character or make a point. Nonverbal expression is an important part of the Maori way of telling. This workshop will look at how to bring alive stories using different techniques that are particular to Maori tradition including body language, humour and music.

I AM the story, the story is ME, the story is US, the story is WE

Highlights: Participants will learn simple songs that have a story attached to them about the unique bio-diversity of New Zealand.

Learning: Participants will develop listening skills for tune and pronunciation of Maori words.

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Story Play:
Telling Stories and Playing Games

Facilitator:Made Taro
Target:Parents & Caregivers, Teachers & Educators, Librarians, Storytellers & Spoken Word Practitioners
Level:General, suitable for all levels

In this workshop, traditional cultural preserver Made Taro will demonstrate the incorporation of games while telling stories. A passionate promoter of the importance of play for children, Made will share a variety of traditional bamboo and wooden play instruments with participants. Hand-carved Balinese figurines will also be used as storytelling props for familiar and well-loved folktales.

Highlights: Participants get a chance to be up close with Indonesian Cultural Medallion awardee Made Taro and explore playing games!

Learning: Participants will learn techniques for audience participation and interaction through using games as a part of their storytelling. For those working with children, this workshop will demonstrate the added element of play during story time.

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Learn By Heart:
Bringing storytelling into the core of education

Facilitator:Rosemarie Somaiah
Target:Parents & Caregivers, Teachers & Educators, Special Needs, Librarians
Level:General, suitable for all levels

At this hands-on workshop participants will use stories to get back to the basics for a sound foundation. This is to inspire them to address a fundamental question in education. Through experiential activities, they will be encouraged to think easily, but deeply, to put the heart back into their practice. This workshop is relevant to anyone interested in education at any level

Highlights: There will be a range of activities shaped around stories to encourage engagement of the whole person in teaching and learning. These can be adapted to address both explicit and implicit areas of education, such as content, skills, creativity, attitudes and values to provide a more fulfilling experience for children and adults, in the school, the home and the community.

Learning: Through demonstration and practice of simple stories, they will begin to understand how to use stories effectively to address their specific pedagogical needs in education. A printed handout will be provided to allow them to seek and use a wealth of other available resources.

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The Multi-Purpose Prop:
Incorporating objects in your telling

Facilitator:Verena Tay
Target:Parents & Caregivers, Teachers & Educators (curriculum), Counselling & Therapy, Librarians, Storytellers, Performance Artistes, Corporate Sector
Level: General, suitable for all levels

Just as how we use words to stimulate the imagination of our audiences, let us storytellers use props in a discerning and resourceful manner to support our storytelling. In this workshop, bring a story that you would like to work on and let experienced storytelling coach and theatre practitioner Verena Tay guide you in expanding the possibilities of using a chosen prop and integrating these new options within your telling of a story, thereby further wowing your audience with your creativity.

Highlights: Participants can expect a fun, hands-on, exploratory experience.

Learning: Participants will explore the use of generic props (fabric, sticks, balls etc.) within storytelling and expand their storytelling capacity and ingenuity.

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The Power of Folktales:
Using folktales for language development in children

Facilitator:Kiran Shah
Target:Parents & Caregivers, Teachers & Educators, Librarians
Level:General, suitable for all levels

Participants will hear a folktale being told and then learn to tell one story with the help of some simple techniques that will get them up and telling, quickly and easily. Demonstrations and practical activities will take place to introduce participants to using folktales as a springboard for follow-up educational activities to enhance children’s language and literacy development.

Participants will work in small groups to produce extension activities that are stimulating and engaging.

Highlights: Participants will hear stories told, learn some basic storytelling techniques and explore ideas for fun extension activities that foster language learning.

Learning: Participants will go through the process of learning to tell a story, and work cooperatively to extend the use of a folktale to enhance children’s language and literacy skills. Participants will contribute and gain ideas as well as share their knowledge in planning engaging educational activities.

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The Door to the Twelve Eye Spots (Talk)

Facilitator:Eddin Khoo
Target:Parents & Educators, Librarians, Storytellers, Performance Artistes
Level:General, suitable for all levels

Following the keynote address, The Door to the Twelve Eye Spots, this presentation provides an animated look, through the use of photographs, audio and visual material and readings from the chants, incantations and stories of ritual storytelling traditions of Southeast Asia, a survey of storytelling as it is performed and animated in the region. The presentation will explore several specific traditions such as the shadow play (wayang kulit) and other dramatic traditions to illustrate the central role of stories and their evolution within their traditional settings.

Highlights: First hand insights from a cultural preserver .

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