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The Creative Storyteller, Issue #001 -- Exploding the Myth!
April 01, 2004
Hello there,


This is the first of a periodic e-mailing sent out exclusively to those who have subscribed.

From time to time we receive emails asking for advice on presentation techniques and on publicity and promotion.

“The Creative Storyteller” is designed to address some of these problems. We do not claim to be omniscient – no one knows everything. But we do have some experience (performing professionally for over fifty years!), and may be able to pass on helpful and informed advice. This is our aim.


Many times have I been told that, “It’s impossible to earn a living as a storyteller!”

For those who believe that – alas, it is probably true!

But if you have a reasonable repertoire of decent stories and a pleasant personality, then I can assure you that earning a GOOD living from storytelling is more than possible!

There is no doubt that in the last fifteen years, opportunities for the professional storyteller have increased enormously. SCHOOLS have always welcomed visitors who are able to entertain and stimulate the minds of children. The National Curriculum DEMANDS the encouragement in schools of ‘Speaking and Listening’ skills. Storytellers are perfectly placed to address this topic.

LIBRARIES & ART GALLERIES also, are constantly looking for opportunities to promote their services’. PARKS, FORESTS & WOODLANDS often provide nature & conservation related activities. HISTORIC SITES are frequently looking for people who can ‘Tell a tale or two’ HOTELS are constantly searching for different ways to attract business – ‘MURDER MYSTERY WEEKENDS’ abound. A good teller of GHOST STORIES at Hallowe’en could be just as attractive and considerably less expensive!

There are many, many more, less obvious locations where a good storyteller can ply his/her trade and we shall be talking about them in detail in subsequent issues.

So be of good heart! The opportunities have never been better! I shall be telling you EXACTLY what I do to generate business. We will discuss FEES! (Have you noticed how NOBODY wants you to know how much they earn? They will imply that it’s a lot more than it really is, but precise NUMBERS are never mentioned!).


Here is a storytelling game that you can use when you need to fill a twenty minute break during a Ceilidh:


This is a wonderful, riotous game, given to me in 1981 by a passenger on the M.S. ‘Mikhail Kalinin’, A Russian cruise ship upon which I sailed for three seasons as a member of the entertainments team.

It is presented as a relay race between two teams of eleven players (although the numbers can be adjusted to accommodate more or fewer participants). You do need space so outdoors is fine or if indoors, a dance floor or other large room would be required.

Begin by inviting two (or more) teams of eleven players to come forward: Boys v Girls works if the teams are made up of children – but adults also enjoy playing this game.

You stand at one end of the playing area and the teams line up, one person in each team behind the other, facing you and in a ‘train’ formation. You ask them to sit down, leaving a little space between each player (If there are a lot more people wishing to take part, you may wish to increase the number of teams).

You then announce that each person in both teams is to represent one of the characters or objects featured in a well-known story.

The person at the front of each team represents ‘Daddy Bear’. Behind Daddy Bear sits ‘Mummy Bear’ and behind Mummy Bear is ‘Baby Bear’. Then comes ‘Goldilocks’. Behind Goldilocks is ‘The Wood’, followed by ‘The Woodman’. Then come ‘The Birds’, ‘The Cottage’, ‘The Chairs’, and 'The Porridge’. Finally at the rear is ‘The Beds’.

Make sure that each player knows whom he or she represents.

It is then explained that you are about to read (or tell) aloud the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. Each time you mention the name of a designated character, the person representing that character must get up and run quickly right around his/her own team and return to their place, where they sit down. Instruct them in which direction they must run (“Around the front first then down to the back and up the other side until you get to your own place”). You tell them that on each occasion, the person getting back and sitting down will receive a point for their team! (Try to get a helper to stand in front of each team to check the winner each time – in practice, you will soon see that the race becomes so chaotic that this will be impossible! – it doesn’t matter, it all adds to the excitement!).

You further explain that in the telling of the story, you will occasionally have several characters on the move at the same time! For instance, you will sometimes refer to “The Three Bears” – this will mean that all three players in each team must set off together! Make sure that the players understand this.

When reading/telling the story, use the pacing and timing as indicated by the dotted lines in the text, allowing the players to get back to their places before carry on with the story. Particularly when players have to immediately start running again – let them sit down first!

Here then is the story, as it should be delivered (the names in capital letter indicate that the characters must immediately set off running):

“You all know the story of THE THREE BEARS……….(let all three get back before you say)…. DADDY BEAR, MUMMY BEAR and BABY BEAR…and how they came to meet GOLDILOCKS in THE COTTAGE in THE WOOD.

It so happened that when strolling in THE WOOD, GOLDILOCKS met THE WOODMAN, just leaving. THE BIRDS were singing merrily…….as BIRDS often do, when GOLDILOCKS saw a beautiful COTTAGE ahead….”What a lovely COTTAGE”, said GOLDILOCKS. Never dreaming that it belonged to THE THREE BEARS……..She opened the door of THE COTTAGE and entered to find three CHAIRS…and three bowls of PORRIDGE on the table. “Ooh! PORRIDGE!”, said GOLDILOCKS. She ate from each bowl and sat on each CHAIR in turn. “PORRIDGE is good!” thought GOLDILOCKS. Soon she became tired. Going upstairs, she could hear THE BIRDS singing to THE WOODMAN in THE WOOD.

She found three BEDS….”Ooh! BEDS!” she exclaimed, and tried each BED in turn. GOLDILOCKS finally fell fast asleep in BABY BEAR’S BED!

The door of the COTTAGE opened and in came, no, not THE WOODMAN, but DADDY BEAR, MUMMY BEAR and BABY BEAR, all very tired, especially BABY BEAR! “Who’s been eating my PORRIDGE?” said THE THREE BEARS in turn….. “And sitting in our CHAIRS too!…….. THE BIRDS were still singing in THE WOOD around THE COTTAGE.

Now all were very tired and went upstairs. DADDY BEAR said, ”Who’s been sleeping in my BED?”….. “And my BED too! asked MUMMY BEAR. And who was this, sleeping in BABY BEAR’S BED?

GOLDILOCKS awoke and was just as surprised to see THE THREE BEARS……… THE THREE BEARS were to see GOLDILOCKS! ………GOLDILOCKS ran downstairs, tripped over a CHAIR, knocking a bowl of PORRIDGE from the table. She opened the door of THE COTTAGE and ran outside, bumping into THE WOODMAN who had heard the commotion.

GOLDILOCKS ran off into THE WOOD, away from THE THREE BEARS’ COTTAGE, startling THE BIRDS. As she ran, GOLDILOCKS continued thinking about the PORRIDGE, and THE CHAIRS, and THE BEDS, and the THREE BEARS, and the sound of THE WOODMAN shouting at THE BIRDS. She continued running, until GOLDILOCKS had left the THREE BEARS’ COTTAGE far out of sight!”

Further notes:

With children, try to match the teams with members of a similar age. Between eight years old and twelve is good. Do not allow very small children to mix in with the older ones. They will be slow to respond and may get knocked down! If there are sufficient small children wishing to take part, put them all in their own team and set them some distance from the older ones.

You will often find that adult want to take part. Again, be mindful of age. This is a VERY energetic game and you don’t want a heart attack on your hands!

Your response would be welcome!
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