In your city: Bengaluru

A festival that revives oral storytelling


A still from the meet organized by the Bangalore Storytelling Society.
A still from the meet organized by the Bangalore Storytelling Society.

“Humans are wired to relate to one another socially, and there is no better way than to tell a story,” says Aparna Athreya of the Bangalore Storytelling Society (BSS), a registered body dedicated to reviving, promoting and nurturing the art of oral storytelling and popularizing it as a performance medium.

The society’s first edition of the Bengaluru Storytelling Festival connects people in the city through stories. It also brings together storytellers from all over the world “to celebrate the city of Bengaluru though stories”, says Athreya.

Besides storytellers from the BSS, the others include Rosemarie Somaiah (Singapore), Jeff Gere (Hawaii), Chuck Menahem Kanafi ( US), Jeeva Raghunath (India and Malaysia), Geeta Ramanujam (Bengaluru) and Eric Miller (India and the US).

Storytelling performances interspersed with workshops will be held at a number of locations all across the city, “We have partnered with BMRCL (Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd) to do a storytelling session at the Cubbon (Park) Metro station, where there will be the best ever stories about Bengaluru for Bengalureans,” says Sowmya Srinivasan, a BSS member. Other highlights include a special show of storytelling and puppetry performance, an exclusive adult storytelling evening and a session of forgotten folktales and secret myths.

A still from the meet organized by the Bangalore Storytelling Society.
A still from the meet organized by the Bangalore Storytelling Society.

“I have a wonderful story about the founder of Bengaluru—Hiriya Kempegowda—that I may be telling at this session,” says Srinivasan, who along with other professional storytellers will be telling stories about Bengaluru on the morning of 27 November at the Cubbon Park Metro station.

The city itself has been encouraging to storytellers, says Jeeva Raghunath, a professional storyteller who has represented India at 17 storytelling festivals around the world. “I love the unity of the Bangalore storytellers as each one is unique and doing great to spread the oral art of storytelling,” says Raghunath, who will be performing as well as conducting a workshop on characterization in storytelling.

Athreya says a story is only as good as its audience. “I think the hero of a storytelling session is really the audience. In Bangalore, we have a highly enthused audience that will laugh, cry and hoot as they go along the story,” she says.

From 26-27 November, at multiple venues in the city. Tickets for all events are available on Bookmyshow.com and Eventshigh.com.

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