Arts Preview Singapore

Preview: Storyfest 2021

As 2020 has shown, even a pandemic can’t keep a good storyteller down. Now in its 5th edition, StoryFest returns this year once again as a virtual festival, with a series of evocative talks and performances hosted across Zoom, VOD and the StoryFest YouTube channel.

Co-presented by The Storytelling Centre Limited and The Arts House, the festival will take place across three weeks from 20th June to 11th July. This year’s theme, ‘ReStory’, encourages audiences to appreciate the familiar and moving moments of their lives and surroundings, and reimagine their new stories for the future.

StoryFest 2021 brings the focus back to the way stories are told and how they have evolved across time and space. By reconnecting with these rituals in storytelling, audiences are invited to dive deep into the words and transform with these stories together.

Kamini Ramachandran, Master Storyteller and Creative Producer of StoryFest says: “It gives me a great sense of achievement to be celebrating this milestone and how far the Festival has come in these past five years. With this year’s theme, ‘ReStory’, I want to reacquaint audiences with the transformative role of storytelling in our lives and the rituals involved in doing so.

“I’m really looking forward to ‘The Book of Tales’ as one of the highlights of this year’s celebrations. This digital book is a testament to StoryFest providing opportunities for international storytellers and local visual artists to create collaborative works while being distanced.”

– Kamini Ramachandran, Creative Producer of StoryFest

StoryFest will be split across several segments this year. Awesome Adventures takes children on five different adventures with exciting tales, featuring humans and animals on their quests of boisterous mischief. This family-friendly programme will take you far and wide from the comfort of your homes, going from Journey with these tales and celebrate curiosity from the depths of the thick African jungles in ‘The First Music’, and learn humility in ‘Ganesha & Kubera’ with an Indian feast fit for the gods.

The Book of Tales brings together five of our previous Asian premiere storytellers and local artists to create five illustrated stories in a digital picture book. These stories cater to all audiences, whether you are looking for a light-hearted tale on unexpected friendships in ‘Edith’s Lyrebird’ or a fantastical story like ‘Shela’s Journey’, that traces the heroine’s roots as she guides her ancestors back home. Through this digital commission, audiences can revisit these stories for time to come and be inspired to chart their next chapter.

Uncover the legends of majestic Singapura against a backdrop of storytelling, percussive instruments and vibrant illustrations in Stories From Our Shores as you hear how two heroes demonstrated resilience in trying times. Discover how Badang, a struggling orphan who was tricked into slavery, breaks free and rises to become Badang the Magnificent. Learn more about Sang Nila Utama’s roots and join Raja Suran as he embarks on an epic adventure, in search of an elusive land.

Experience extraordinary stories of women in ReStory: Celebrating the Feminine in Folklore. In Vengeance is Mine, hear the chilling story of how a lovelorn pregnant village girl transforms into a Pontianak, after dying during childbirth, to exact revenge on the young Datuk who abandoned her. Follow a princess in Savitri: The Woman Who Walked with Death as she accompanies Yama, the God of Death in a ruse to revive her beloved husband. Celebrate sisterhood and empathy through toilet confessions in the supernatural tale of The Toilet Goddess.

Learn to apply the qualities of mindfulness when telling stories and become more self-aware in Mindfulness as a Tool for Effective Storytelling. Other benefits of practising mindfulness include being calmer and more connected, improving your listening skills and memory.

Laughter is the best medicine for the soul and best way to connect with your audience, especially when you’re making a persuasive pitch. In Pitching for Laughs, learn how you can add humour to boost your presentations and speaking engagements.

Need something fun to do during the school holidays? Discover the art of puppetry and how you can use recycled materials to create your own puppets in Puppets and Narratives.

For those looking to soothe their souls and calm the mind, follow Australian storyteller Susan Perrow in The Healing Power of Stories and be introduced to the art of therapeutic storytelling. Drawing upon more than fifteen years of experience of working with children, teachers and therapists, Susan will show participants how they can gain hope and build resilience through the restorative benefits of storytelling.

In Introduction to Sensory Storiesengage your senses with Joanna Grace and explore how stories can be harnessed to create a more inclusive space to engage children with different educational needs. These techniques can also be used by the individual to support their daily lives such as preparing for a good night’s rest.

Whether you are an aspiring performer or working professional, being able to tell well-crafted stories will help in bringing our ideas alive and engaging audiences. Learn more about the craft of storytelling in Telling Stories with Confidence.

The key to managing organisational crises lies in identifying and shaping the different types of narratives which could go a long way in recovering a company’s reputation. Managers and executive leaders can learn more about this in Organisational Crisis and Storytelling.

If audiences are interested in learning more about the rituals behind storytelling, join StoryFest’s Creative Producer, Kamini Ramachandran in Story Talk, a series of short conversations with storytellers where they share more about their practice. Some of the topics include gender and mythology, storytelling and well-being, as well as producing festivals during this pandemic.

Dive deep into the insidious underbelly of Malaysia’s capital with KL Noir: Magic – Storytelling Seriespresented through seven storytelling video adaptations of the bestselling KL Noir series. Unravel the truth behind a mysterious mask-wearing cult as a mute soldier enters its highest ranks in ‘War Dogs’, or even witness how a conman’s victims engage the help of a Chinese shaman to exact their revenge. Be prepared to experience some heart-stopping moments as you immerse yourselves in the quiet stories with unexpected turns that will haunt you in new ways.

“Putting together a festival is rarely easy, even if festivals are inherently joyful experiences. That is especially true in these pandemic-affected times, and so we at Arts House Limited are hugely proud of the work Kamini and her team have done to pull together another remarkable festival for the benefit of Singapore audiences, and of our association with and support for the event,” says Rupert Thomson, Director, Programming and Producing (Venues) at Arts House Limited. “We are very much looking forward to experiencing another potful of glorious stories, from playful childhood tales to sinister imaginings.”

Storyfest 2021 runs online from 20th June to 11th July 2021. For more information, visit their website here

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