This year marks the 20th anniversary for the annual national week of storytelling created by The Society for Storytelling that seeks to promote that a story doesn’t have to come in the form of a book but instead can be an oral experience, including performances as well as other forms of visual communication. They believe that the most important thing is that audiences are captivated by the storyteller regardless of age, genre or delivery and over the course of the week (1st – 8th February 2020) there are events happening across the country in schools, care homes, clubs and museums to celebrate the beauty of storytelling.
Organisations such as World Book Day have helped to publicise the importance of storytelling particularly for children, as an integral part of children’s learning comes through their ability to connect to each other and different cultures due to an innate interest in stories. Through reading, listening and watching stories children gain insight into new experiences and cultures, while gaining valuable listening skills as well as encouraging imagination in their own stories. Furthermore, the tradition of storytelling dates back to the beginnings of human history as evident in ancient cave paintings, demonstrating that storytelling is by no means tied to the invention of books.
Events such as #NationalStorytellingWeek emphasise the importance of storytelling in children and why it should be encouraged. The popular initiative #ShareAStory by World Book Day seeks to encourage children to use their imagination and read and write their own stories, with the goal this year to share a million stories in World Book Day month.
At HandMade Theatre we support the initiative as we know the importance of encouraging storytelling in young children to aid their development. This is evident in our show Too Many Cooks which we have been performing since 2018 and seeks to engage audiences with quick costumes changes, witty puns and catchy songs that cause audiences to become fully immersed in the show and by the end of it children have learnt about food health and safety, as well as the importance of teamwork without even realising it. And that is the true magic of storytelling, a good storyteller holds the ability to captivate audiences of all ages while also imparting valuable knowledge and skills in a way that is going to stick with them as they were not bored when they learnt it.
Therefore, while it may be #NationalStorytellingWeek this week it is important to remember the importance of a good storyteller all year round as the magic they can impart is invaluable and something we at HandMade Theatre strive to achieve in all of our performances.