Storytellers of Ireland
Storytellers of Ireland / Aos Scéal Éireann is an All-Ireland voluntary organisation with Charitable Status.
Our aim is to promote the practice, study and knowledge of oral storytelling in Ireland through the preservation and perpetuation of traditional storytelling and the development of storytelling as a contemporary art.
We aim to foster storytelling skills among all age groups, from all cultural backgrounds. We also aim to explore new contexts for storytelling in public places – in schools, community centres and libraries, in care centres and prisons, in theatres, arts centres and at festivals throughout the entire island of Ireland. Storytelling is an intimate and interactive art.
A storyteller tells from memory rather than reading from a book.
A tale is not just the spoken equivalent of a literary short story. It has no set text, but is endlessly re-create in the telling. The listener is an essential part of the storytelling process.
For stories to live, they need the hearts, minds and ears of listeners.
Without the listener there is no story.
Storytelling is an intimate and often interactive art. A storyteller tells from memory rather than reading from a book. The listener is very important in the storytelling process. For stories to live, they need the hearts, minds and ears of listeners. Without the listener, there is no story.
Choosing a storyteller
Storytellers of Ireland do not recommend one storyteller over another. The entries for individual storytellers in our Directory describe repertoire, experience, availability to travel, favoured age group and contact information. It is up to the person or organisation making the booking to consider which storyteller is best matched to their particular needs.
Fees and expenses should be negotiated with each individual storyteller.
Storytelling in Education
In engaging a storyteller to work in schools and libraries it is worth remembering that storytelling for young people is a specialized skill. Not all storytellers work in schools. Find out from the Directory whether the teller being considered has experience working with the age group in your care. Many storytellersvisit schools through the Heritage in Schools and Writers in Schools schemes, which may pay part or the storytellers' fees.
Some things to consider if you are inviting a storyteller to your school
- Decide what you would like from the storytelling session and discuss it with the storyteller.
- What age group would you like the storyteller to work with?
- It is important to remember that a group of young listeners should not ideally contain a wide age range. Very young children will not understand stories pitched at the older ones. Similarily older children may find stories offered to the younger ones too ‘babyish’.
What size should the group be?
Remember, the intimate nature of storytelling . Ideally there should be no more than two classes per session.
How should the space be organised?
Because of the importance of eye contact in storytelling, comfort and visibility are the essentials here. If possible, the ideal would be for listeners to sit in a semi circle. Tell the children that they can look forward to the visit of the storyteller to their school. Let the storyteller know if any of the children have special needs. Once you have booked a storyteller, confirm in writing, the date, time and place and if necessary give directions.
On the day
Have someone organized to meet the storyteller and to show him/ her around.
An offer of tea or coffee would be appreciated. Make sure that the storyteller is provided with a glass of water during the session. Due to insurance requirments and the SOI/AOS Child Protection Policy, a responsible adult must be present at the storytelling.
It is, of course, important that this person is supportive and not a distraction to the listeners or to the teller.
Feedback is welcomed by a storyteller. Last but not least, if you have agreed to pay on the day make sure that there is cash or a cheque waiting.