I recently went to a free event at our local library...Players from Storytelling Australia presenting A Grimm Reminder- celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Grimms' Brothers Fairytales.
The storytellers were Matteo, Jackie Kerin and JJ- Retailer of Tales, and this was just a tidbit, a teaser for their show during the Pave Festival .

It was a great night. Not only did I hear fairytales that I hadn't heard before (these were for adults, so none of the 'tidied up' versions retold to children) but I was fascinated by the storytellers delivery.

Each of them had a different style, a different way of presentation. They were all confident, all spoke clearly and well, all used some kind of audience participation....whether waiting for our responses, for us to call out answers - 'the iron dwarf' - or whether through eye contact.


These were professional storytellers....but as a poet who sometimes performs, I learnt a lot about presentation. Not only is it about confidence, and being confident in your ability to memorise your work- I learnt about performing the work. Pacing your poem (or story), pausing for effect, controlling your voice, using body language, sound effects...the list goes on.

And the more I think back to their presentation, the more I can learn.
How to interact with the audience---how (if you do stumble) to continue as though nothing has happened.

Most importantly I learnt that the audience are there to hear you- they are there to be entertained, to be taken away for a minute or two.

Storytelling is definitely an art form, but there are aspects that as writers, we can all use when next we get to read to an audience.
Performance is about confidence, and didn't someone famous once say 'fake it till you make it?'


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