"The World Storytelling Institute,
a part of Chennai's Storytelling Scene"
The World Storytelling Institute, directed by Dr Eric Miller (PhD in Folklore, MSc in Psychology in process), has for the past ten years been conducting Storytelling Workshops for adults in Chennai. These workshops typically meet on Sundays, 10am-Noon, and go for 7 weeks.
One focus of this training is to encourage storytellers to at times psychologically and emotionally act-out story characters, letting the characters speak for themselves. We explore ways storytelling can help one to develop one's imaginative and creative, as well as logical, thinking and communication abilities. The next batch of this workshop is scheduled to begin on Sunday 30 October.
The approximately 350 people who have participated in editions of this workshop form the core of the Chennai Storytelling Association. Numerous graduates of this workshop have gone on to found and direct their own storytelling organisations, including: "Madras Story Works" (directed by Vasugi Ram Manohar), "Talespin" (directed by Asha Sampath), "Regina Pacis - Zone of Confidence" (directed by S.W. Alvin), "Katha Kamamishu" (directed by Lavanya Srinivas), "The Narrative" (directed by Indu Divya), "Fables N Tales" (directed by H. Banumathy), "Story Train" (directed by Srividya V.), "Pumpkin Chariot" (directed by Sai Pradeep Indhirran), and "Once Upon a Time ... Tells a Tale" (directed by Kavitha Thyagarajan).
Other organisations in Chennai that offer storytelling-related services include: "Eloquens" (directed by Dr Sandhya Ruban), "Virginia Academy of Training and Development" (directed by Daniel Joseph), "Artworkshop and Communications" (directed by K. Shanmugasundaram), "Genius Factory" and "Square Heads" (directed by Sheetal N), and "Thangam Talkies" (directed by Pooja Giri).
And then there is Jeeva Raghunath, the First Lady of Storytelling in Chennai. Jeeva has co-founded an organisation, Kathai Kalatta, which also presents an annual Storytelling Festival in Chennai (and elsewhere), titled "Under the Aalamaram". This year this Festival would occur in Chennai on Monday 17 October.
Approximately 25 people -- most of whom are graduates of the WSI's 7-session Storytelling Workshop for adults -- are members of "Chennai Storytellers", an active group of professional storytelling performers and instructors. Individual members -- and Chennai Storytellers as an organisation -- offer regular storytelling performances for children.
The World Storytelling Institute offers a "Storytelling-theatre Workshop for Children" (6 to 10 years old). Storytelling is a form of Public Speaking that also at times may involve Acting (when one speaks and moves as characters). We feel it is important for children to develop their Public Speaking skills even at a young age. This Workshop meets on Saturday afternoons, at an activity center in Gopalapuram. The current term goes from October to December -- seats are available!
Two member organisations of Chennai Storytellers offer regular "Storytelling for and by Adults" sessions, open to the public. One of these organisations is "The Narrative". The other is the World Storytelling Institute, which is entering its 4th year of presenting Storytelling for and by Adults sessions (usually) on the first Monday of the month, at the Cafe Coffee Day Square (on Khader Nawaz Khan Road).
The World Storytelling Institute, with support from Chennai Storytellers and other organisations, presents the Chennai Storytelling Festival each February. The 5th edition of the Chennai Storytelling Festival is coming up in February 2017.
The themes of CSF 2017 are 1) "Using Storytelling (and the other Arts) to Teach across the Curriculum, especially regarding Languages, and Reading and Writing", and 2) "Stories, and Storytelling Styles, from Many Lands".
This Festival goes for ten days -- the last three days feature a day of free Storytelling Workshops for college students, and two days of Storytelling Workshops for parents, educators, trainers, coaches, psychological counsellors, and other adults.
Numerous members of Chennai's storytelling community are dedicated to developing ways storytelling can be used to teach any academic subject -- especially languages, and reading and writing. We are working for and with numerous schools in these areas. We are also helping to develop ways storytelling can be used to assist people who have conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder (Hyperactivity), Autism, and Dyslexia.
Similar to Drama Therapy and Music Therapy, Storytelling Therapy (Therapeutic uses of Stories and Storytelling) is emerging as one of the Arts Therapies. Storytelling Therapy would be one of the therapeutic methods explained and demonstrated -- by Dr Eric Miller of the World Storytelling Institute -- at the 1st International Conference on Expressive Arts Therapy, presented by the Psychology Dept of Women's Christian College, and the East West Center for Counselling and Training, on 8-10 December 2016.
World Storytelling Institute