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Stories for Change - Inaugural StoryFest to take place at The Arts House

Singapore, 5 May 2017 – Presented by The Arts House and The Storytelling Centre Limited, the inaugural StoryFest: International Storytelling Festival Singapore will showcase a total of 23 international and Singapore storytellers from 2nd till 4th June. With the theme “Stories for Change”, the festival celebrates both the artistic tradition of storytelling and its relevance in daily life with shows, workshops and local commissions suitable for all audiences and families.

“In a rapidly evolving world, storytelling is one of the ancient traditions that bridges cultures and connects us to our inner child. It is timeless and manifests in various aspects of our lives. How apt it is then to celebrate the inaugural StoryFest at The Arts House, the centre of the literary arts and a national monument that is a treasury of stories from pre to post independence,” says Sarah Martin, CEO of Arts House Limited.

Celebration of myths, folktales and wisdom tales

With a line up of six performances, a plethora of myths and legends celebrate oral traditions and cultural diversity awaits every listener. From the international scene, Australia’s Jackie Kerin as well as British storytellers Steve Killick and Xanthe Gresham-Knight will make their Asian debut at the festival.

Employing the almost 100-year-old Japanese visual storytelling technique of kamishibai, Kerin will present her native stories in Tales from Down Under. Designed for family audiences, she combines kamishibai with other classic storytelling techniques of string games and paper-folding stories that will fascinate the young ones. In Enchanted Tales, spoken word storyteller Gresham-Knight will bring young audiences on a magical journey with folk and fairy tales from Africa, France and Russia.

Audiences age 16 and above are invited to unplug from the humdrum of the digital world to reconnect with their imagination through The Shahnameh: The Epic Book of Kings. Written over 1,000 years ago by Iranian poet Ferdowsi, Gresham-Knight will tell stories that take place from the beginning of time till the fall of the Persian Empire in the seventh century. After touring extensively in Europe and USA, this Asian premiere will take audiences on a journey from the otherworldly to the most basic human desires as they question the meaning of truth, integrity and loyalty. This melding of storytelling and music will enhance the experience for audiences.

Singapore storytellers from key storytelling and spoken word organisations take the stage in Singapore Showcase: Stories for Change. Audiences can look forward to narratives of love, personal struggles and loss told by members of The Singapore Monologue Slam, Storytelling Association (Singapore), Story Slam SG and Telling Stories Live.

Highlighting the importance of nurturing young storytellers to continue the practice are eight graduates from The Storytelling Centre Limited’s Young Storytellers Mentorship Project. They will share their passion for the art form with their graduation showcase, A Tapestry of Tales.

The festival will culminate in a triple-bill performance by Kerin, Killick and Kamini Ramachandran in Journey Through Asia featuring enchanting fables and folktales from Asia such as Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand.

Harnessing the limitless potential of storytelling through workshops

In addition to the performances, the festival will provide the public with opportunities to learn from and interact with master storytellers in a series of professional development workshops. These will help illustrate the vital role storytelling can play in daily life and how it can be used as a professional tool. Targeted at educators, aspiring storytellers and social workers, participants can learn from Kerin how to create a personal set of visual story cards based on the tradition of kamishibai, or explore ways to encourage audience participation through found objects with Gresham-Knight.

Killick, who is also a clinical psychologist, will share how stories can build social and emotional skills in children and teens. Singapore drama practitioner Michael Cheng will employ the improvisation processes in playback theatre to allow participants to experience and reflect on personal stories, and observe how it can lead to personal and even social change.

Ramachandran, the creative producer of StoryFest says, “Stories when told well can etch themselves in the minds of the listener or even evoke memories. It is my hope that every member of the audience will be touched by a story and in turn, touches someone else’s life. In getting some of the very best in Singapore and international realm of storytelling to be part of this festival, it will definitely challenge the conventions of this art form via the various techniques used. We are glad to be presenting this festival with The Arts House, a patron of this well-loved and accessible art form.”

Please refer to Annex A(page 4) for the StoryFest Programme and Annex B (page 15)for Artists’ bios.


For more details: Download media release and bios

For more information, please contact:

Willy Beh
Asst Manager,
Marketing & Communications Arts House Limited
T: +65 6435 0113
M: +65 9841 9794

Elizabeth Wong
Senior Manager,
Marketing & Communications Arts House Limited
T: +65 6435 0109
M: +65 9326 1219



T: +65 6332 6900 / F: +65 6336 3021 / E:
1 Old Parliament Lane Singapore 179429