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10 things you might not know about storytelling


With the aim of promoting awareness of the art and history of storytelling and to highlight the significant knowledge of its storytelling authors, The History Press continues to publish new content in support of this ancient artform. 

Here professional storyteller Cath Little shares ten things that you might not know about storytelling:

1. Albert Einstein was a big fan of fairy tales

Einstein said, ‘If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.’

2. 2017 was the Year of Legends in Wales 

If you visited Wales in 2017 you may have been inspired by Welsh myths, legends and folktales. The ‘Year of Legends’ was a chance to find out more about the legends that have come out of the land. You can learn more about Wales, the Land of Legends here.

3. Our Neolithic ancestors knew the story of Beauty and the Beast

By analysing population histories and cultural phenomena such as language, Sara Graça da Silva and Jamshid J.Tehrani have found that many folk tales that are still told today, such as Beauty and the Beast, would have been known and told by our ancestors thousands of years ago.

4. Patron Saint of Storytellers?

National Storytelling Week is always held in the week of 3rd February, the feast day of St Blaise. St Blaise lived in Armenia in the fourth century. He was a healer of throats and a physician of souls.

5. There is a Professor of Storytelling

The George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling is a U.K academic research centre devoted to the study of storytelling and all its applications. Based at the University for South Wales, the centre believes that storytelling creates better understanding between individuals and communities across society.

6. Every culture in the world has a Cinderella story

There are thousands of variants of the Cinderella story found throughout the world. Anna Rooth wrote about this in her book The Cinderella Cycle. The oldest written version, Ye Xian, comes from China in 860. Ye Xian is kind and hardworking and helped by the spirit of her murdered mother who comes to her in the form of a fish.

7. Festival at the Edge is the oldest storytelling festival in England

Festival at the Edge has given some of our best loved professional storytellers their first chance to tell and their first big breaks. In 2017 the festival moved to a beautiful new site near Whitchurch at Dearnford Lake.

8. Shonaleigh is the last Drut’syla

Shonaleigh Cumbers learned her craft from her Bubbe (grandmother). Her Bubbe was a storyteller in the drut’syla tradition, who held a body of twelve interlinked cycles of stories each with hundreds of tales.

9. Anyone can enjoy stories

Storytelling is one of the most accessible art forms that resonates with all cultures, generations and communities. 

Given recent events, however, storytellers and organisations which support the storytelling arts have had to adapt and innovate in order to ensure that people can still find ways to come together and share and connect with stories. Stories feel more important than ever! 

Beyond the Border, Wales’ International Storytelling Festival, brings stories and people together through an inspirational biennial festival and projects which deepen connection through the power of stories. In addition to the Festival weekend itself, Beyond the Border also promotes a year-round programme of performance storytelling events, as well as a wide range of innovative education and outreach projects. Even in lockdown, they have been running projects so that they can continue to keep working with isolated and at risk groups, such as trialling new ways of connecting with older people by sharing and exchanging stories over the phone.

10. There’s a storytelling club near you!

Find your local storytelling club or storytelling event at The Society for Storytelling.

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