CHENNAI: The fourth edition of the Chennai Story Telling festival, organised by World Storytelling Institute and Chennai story tellers kick started at the Andhra Mahila Sabha, Mylapore. Inaugurated by Ruth Stotter from California, who is also a research scholar and a professor, this year’s festival focuses on themes such as the ‘big rain in November and December 2015’, and ‘Communication between cultures, between people and within people’.
The festival saw the presence of storytellers from cities like Pune and Bengaluru. Eric Miller, director of the World Storytelling Institute, said “Each year, we have a guest co-host for the 10 days. This year having Ruth with us is amazing. She will be mentoring all of us through.”
The first storytelling session of the festival was filled with interactive, action packed, fun and innovative stories. Sheetal Rayathatha, a storyteller, said, “I have been associated with storytelling for 12 years. Earlier, it was not very famous but now once people started understanding how it helps in building your communication skills, it has progressed.”
Ruth concurs, and adds: “Storytelling binds people together in a way that even we are not aware of it. Stories bring us together and respecting a story makes all the difference.” With over 30 storytellers participating in this edition, Eric said that the festival catered to everyone. “Our focus is not only on children. Adults, college students and anyone who is interested in sharing a story can come and join us,” he said.
A new addition to the festival was the regional edition of storytelling concept (in Telugu) through a musical narrative of Thayagaraja’s Nadopasana or the worship of music. Lavanya a storyteller said, “It’s a spiritual journey called Nadopasana by Thyagaraja. The classical part, such as harikathas are oral narratives of south Indian tradition and we are happy to bring this into the storytelling festival.”
The story of the life of Thayagaraja has been scripted by Mullapudi Sridevi with creative inputs from Bhanumathi. Said Sridevi, “Language is not a barrier when it comes to storytelling. I wanted the story of one of the greatest composers of classical music to be retold in such a way that, it is understandable by people of all ages.”
A musical narration with dialogues along with lyrics from Thayagaraja keerthanas impressed Ruth. “Though I don’t understand the language, I was somehow able to relate to the characters. That is the beauty of storytelling. This was such a brilliant experience,” she explained.
The other highlights of the festival include the workshops on February 12 for college students and workshops on February 13 and 14 for adults at Dr MGR-Janaki College. “We are concentrating on college students so as to enhance their public speaking and communication skills,” added Eric.
For details and to register for workshops call, 98403 94282.