About StoryBeard and storytelling

"Once upon a time there was a storyteller....

....He strolled from town to village telling stories to anyone who would listen, stories from around the world and just around the corner. Minotaurs rubbed shoulders with toads in boats and tricksters laughed at the passing of gallant knights. Oft times the stories would change to match where the storyteller found himself, for as he gained experience he learnt how to shape old stories and create brand new tales to reflect the places he came to and the people he met."

Oh go on, you must admit it is not a bad way to start a section of this website. On to business...

I am an experienced storyteller and storywriter based in Brighton, East Sussex. I have told at all sorts of events from a three year old's birthday party through to an album launch for an up and coming band. I mix the traditional role of telling stories from various cultures with performances of my own work. I also adapt well established storylines and archetypes to suit more modern audiences or particular themes.

Frequently asked questions

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About storytelling in general

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of entertainment, learning and teaching. At its most fundamental level it helps address needs shared by all humans, to understand the world around us and to carve some solid idea of our part in that world. Human beings think in narrative, remember through stories and find identity through shared experience. No wonder then that storytelling still plays a major role in the modern world, be it through books, television or computer games. And perhaps it is no surprise that experiencing storytelling in its purest form, in a group, listening and engaging with the telling, strikes sparks from an ancient core deep inside us all.

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Is a storyteller right for my event?

Storytelling is flexible, it can play a part in most events. Storytellers can stroll and tell off the cuff, work in a designated space or to particular time requirements. Storytelling can be a performance in front of a seated audience or a more informal group event. It can be interwoven with other activities such as art or music and is often used to supply inspiration for other creative forms. Ultimately only you can decide if storytelling will work for you, but do bear in mind that the quality of the storyteller plays a large part in the success of the storytelling.

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I want stories that can match my event

That’s not a problem. There are thousands of stories out there and working storytelling to match a theme is a major part of a teller’s skill. Moving away slightly from the standard storyteller’s approach I can mould classic stories to meet the required themes for events, or create entirely new stories just for you. The breadth of experience that I have with story themes and telling ensures that customised and original stories have that air of classic tales and will meld nicely with the other stories used in a session.

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An outdoor event?

And then of course there is the Story Yurt. A 16-foot diameter round tent, based on a Mongolian design, that is ideal for storytelling at outdoor venues. About 20 people can be seated comfortably inside and it protects against the unpredictability of the weather. Have a look at the gallery for some images of the canvas goodness that is the story yurt.

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But isn’t storytelling just about sitting round listening to someone speak?

Storytelling is all about participation. That might mean listening and allowing your imagination to take you on a journey with the story, but it can also mean being involved with how the story unfolds or even creating your own stories to share around.

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Isn’t storytelling really just for kids?

It is true that many people think of it that way but really, storytelling is for all of us. If you like films, songs or books you like storytelling. If you laugh at comedy or cry at rom-coms then you are linking emotionally with stories and how they are told. A lot of storytellers’ work is with children, but when you consider the breadth of stories that abound in the world there is at least one there to be told for everyone, young or old.

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Well can’t anyone tell a story, why would I want to use a storyteller?

Anyone can tell a story, that idea is at the heart of storytelling. However anyone can also sing, but you would probably try to choose carefully who gets up in front of the microphone. As with all performances there are varying degrees of skill and aptitude to storytelling. A professional storyteller spends a lot of time researching stories, practicing their presentation and creating a whole storytelling experience. When you engage a storyteller they bring all the time they have spent working with stories along to your event. Does it really make a difference? Absolutely.

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Learning storytelling skills

One of the services offered by StoryBeard is a workshop that allows participants to work on and develop their storytelling skills whatever their age or experience. At the end of the workshop you will come away with at least one story you can tell with confidence and an understanding of how to apply what you have learnt to other stories. There are no limits to the stories you tell, they can be classic tales, something you have created yourself or real experiences from your life.

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Ickworth House Cambridge Folk Festival Icworth House