Love reading, listening to and telling stories? Good news: The Storytelling Centre Limited and The Arts House will be bringing back the fourth edition of StoryFest! But this time, instead of live performances held at The Arts House, StoryFest Online 2020 will be – as its name suggests – held wholly online. 

Between July 17 and 27, the fourth installment of the annual storytelling festival which is part of the #SGCultureAnywhere campaign, is themed “The Heart of Story”, and will be presented as a series of videos that will be released on the StoryFest Youtube channel and website (storyfestsg.com) over the ten-day festival period.

The audience will be taken on a (digital) odyssey by local storytellers and artists, into stories brought to life through the oral tradition, traditional art forms and spoken narratives.

Curious to know what you can expect in this upcoming festival? Watch the festival trailer video below.

Kamini Ramachandran, Master Storyteller and Creative Producer of StoryFest, shares: “I first came up with the theme “The Heart of Story” with the intention of excavating the spirit of storytelling. What is it about stories that thrill and captivate us, and is there room in this crowded world to engage in active and imaginative listening? While the theme was decided long before the circuit-breaker, it is more resonant than ever as we adapt StoryFest into an online festival.”

She adds: “StoryFest Online 2020 is an opportunity to question how traditional art forms can retain its timeless essence even as it adopts other mediums, and how the virtual sphere can also be a space to connect more intimately to others and, ultimately, ourselves.” 

Kamini Ramachandran, Master Storyteller and Creative Producer of StoryFest

Featuring a diverse lineup of local storytellers and artists, the festival features five stories – from the ancient annals of ‘The Sejarah Melayu’ to the archetype of the shapeshifting fox, these stories are drawn from mythologies, histories, and memories, to take audiences through the passages of time.

For those with young children, fret no more about how to keep your kids entertained this weekend. There’s a special programme catered for younger storytellers – The Story Tree brings fantastical stories such as children battling an invasion of swordfish, or Momotaro, a peach-sized boy, fighting against Japanese ogres. For added entertainment, join Teddy Bear’s annual Story Picnic to meet Peter Rabbit, Little Red Hen, and the Teddy Bears themselves, and listen to them share their stories. 

Teddy Bear’s Story Picnic

Various storytellers will also be leading presentations for those looking to learn the art of storytelling.

Dr Nazry Bahwari helms Tales with Tails – from the pigs and horses in George Orwell’s modern classic, Animal Farm, to majestic tigers that appear in Malay legends, learn about the use of animal figures in cultural lore and its relationship to the stories we tell today.

Dr Nazry Bahwari

Anna Ong teaches the fundamentals of a good narrative in How to Tell Personal Stories for a Story Slam.

Anna Ong

Chan Shu Yin demonstrates a meditative approach to personal narratives in Mandala Storytelling: Exploring Nature & Pyrography, which explores how the self, imagination, and introspection converge in the Mandala, a symbol of contemplation in many cultures around the world. 

Chan Shu Yin

Frankie Malachi uncovers the connection between puppets and storytelling in A Puppeteer’s Journey. The online video interview gives you a glimpse into his virtual puppet studio featuring many magical and delightful puppets on display, from string puppets, to marionettes and ventriloquist puppets.

Frankie Malachi

For the complete list of programmes for StoryFest Online, visit storyfestsg.com. Members of the public can also join the conversation at facebook.com/storyfestsg and instagram.com/storyfestsg