Chennai Storytelling Festival 2014,

February 7-9 (Friday-Sunday)


The theme of the Festival this year is

Storytelling and Healing,

Storytelling as a Healing Art





3 days of FREE Workshops

for Adults and Teenagers!




3 evenings of ticketed

Storytelling Performances

for People of All Ages!



When:  10am-5pm daily (India time), 7-9 Feb 2014.


Where:  Goethe Institute, Rutland Gate 5th Street, Nungambakkam, Chennai.

Directions: From Nungambakkam High Road, go to the end of Khader Nawaz Khan Road (after it curves rightward). Then go right onto Rutland Gate 5th Street.



To Register to participate --

either In-Person or via Videoconference --

in some or all of the daytime Workshops,

please send an e-mail to .


People could attend

most of the daytime Workshops

via Videoconference and Webcast.

For information about these options,

please click here.



For details about the 3 evenings of

ticketed Storytelling Performances.

5:30-7pm daily,

for Children, Teenagers, and Adults.

(advance reservations not needed),

please click here.



Contact: 98403 94282,


The Festival Poster is here.


Information about, and a link to a

recording of, a videoconference on

"Storytelling and Healing" is here. 

This conversation, which occurred

on Mon 6 Jan 2014, is a good

introduction to this year's

Chennai Storytelling Festival.


An article (in French) on Chennai Storytelling Festival 2014, "Storytelling and Healing", in Le Petit Chennai, January 2014, pp 8-9, is here.  An English translation of this article is here.





1) Festival Schedule: Six Workshop Sessions

2) Festival Concept Note

3) Festival Venue and People

4) Links




1) Festival Schedule: Six Workshop Sessions



Friday 7 Feb --


10am-1pm, Workshop Session 1.

"Keynote Session".

What is Storytelling?  What is Healing?  What is Storytelling and Healing?  Including consideration of healing within individuals, between individuals, between groups of people, and between humans and the rest of nature. 

10 -10:15am__"Opening Words".

10:15-10:30am__"Storytelling and Healing in Sangam Literature", Dr Premeela Gurumurthy, Professor and HOD, Dept of Indian Music, University of Madras.

10:30-11:30am__"Keynote Talk on Storytelling and Healing", with small-group activities, and discussion, Susan Perrow.


11:45am-1pm__"Workshop on Storytelling and Healing", with small-group activities, and discussion, Geeta Ramanujam.


2-5pm, Workshop Session 2.

2-3:15pm__"Using the Arts for Healing", Magdalene Jeyarathnam.

3:15-5pm__"Dance/Movement in Storytelling and Healing", Preetha Ramasubramanian.





Saturday 8 Feb --


10am-1pm, Workshop Session 3.

"Using Metaphors to Compose Stories Relating to People's Challenging Behaviours and Situations", Susan Perrow.

Why make metaphors?  Answers may include: metaphors can express from the unconscious; and metaphors can help one to feel related to and supported by nature, and one's culture and society, and the divine.


2-5pm, Workshop Session 4.

"The Healing Touch of Tamil and Other Indian Folk Tales: Telling Grandmother Stories (Paatti Kathai) and Raja-Rani Stories to give Comfort and Guidance", in Tamil, with English translation, Alli and Kala from Thanjavur.





Sunday 9 Feb --


10am-1pm, Workshop Session 5.

"The Visual Arts in Storytelling and Healing", Susan Anand.


2-5pm, Workshop Session 6.

2-2:30pm__"Building a Web of Trust in Storytelling Events", Deepa Kiran.

2:30-4:30pm__"Creating and Telling Transformative, Inspirational, and Healing Stories", Eric Miller.

4:30-5pm__"Closing Words".





2) Festival Concept Note


Chennai Storytelling Festival especially facilitates adults teaching-and-learning about Storytelling.  Last year -- our first year -- the topic was Storytelling in general.  This year, the topic is "Storytelling and Healing".


"Storytelling and Healing", "Storytelling as a Healing Art", "Therapeutic Uses of Storytelling", "Storytelling Therapy", "Narrative Therapy", and "Narrative Medicine", are all terms referring to the use of story and storytelling to help people feel better and get better.


In some cases ("Narrative Medicine", "Narrative Therapy"), the emphasis is on the client telling autobiographical stories -- such as the story of her life, and the story of her illness. 


In other cases ("Storytelling and Healing", "Therapeutic Uses of Storytelling"), the stories may be told by the client or the care-giver, and may be autobiographical, from folklore, original created stories, or other types of stories.


Chennai Storytelling Festival (CSF) 2014, "Storytelling and Healing", is dedicated to the idea that the time has come for "Storytelling Therapy" ("Therapeutic Uses of Storytelling", etc) to take its place alongside Dance Therapy, Music Therapy, Drama Therapy, Art Therapy, Play Therapy, etc. 


A key aspect of CSF 2014 might involve the juxtaposing of

1) A modern "Therapeutic Uses of Storytelling" approach -- such as would be presented by Susan Perrow; and

2) The traditional approach of telling Tamil folk tales (grandmother stories) to give comfort, solace, and guidance -- such as would be presented by Alli B and other women members of a family with a very active storytelling practice, from the Tamil countryside near Thanjavur (in Tamil, with English translation).


CSF 2014 participants could experience both of these approaches (one modern, one traditional), and could perhaps find ways of combining aspects of them.


Studying and practicing "Storytelling and Healing" might enable one --

*** To help oneself and others become increasingly grounded and centered.

*** To bring one's consciousness from one's mind, into one's entire body.

*** To facilitate personal development, growth, transformation, fulfillment, and self-improvement.

*** To find one's self, voice, place, and role in the universe.

*** To coach one's self and others.

*** To give comfort, solace, guidance, and inspiration.

*** To heal self, family, community, and nature.

*** To see situations from various different points of view, and as a result further develop 1) compassion for others, and 2) problem-solving ways of thinking.






3) Festival Venue and People


Admission to the six Workshop Sessions listed above is free.  Advance Registration is requested.  (To register, please e-mail to .)


These Workshops would occur at the Goethe Institute (Rutland Gate 5th St, Nungambakkam, Chennai; near Apollo Children's Hospital, and Kader Nawaz Khan Road.  If directions might be needed, please call 98403 94282).


There would be Storytelling Performances -- for Children and Adults -- on the evenings of Friday 7, Saturday 8, and Sunday 9 February.   Details regarding these performances are here.


The "Visiting Co-Host" of CSF 2014 is Susan Perrow from Australia, author of Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour (2008), and Therapeutic Storytelling: 101 Healing Stories for Children (2012).


The "Festival Coordinators and Advisory Board Members" are (in alphabetical order),

1) Asha Sampath.

2) Debjani Bhaduri.

3) Karpagam Vinoth.

4) Kavitha Thyagarajan.

5) Lavanya Srinivas.

6) Magdalene Jeyarathnam.

7) Mohana Priya (Bangalore).

8) Sandhya Ruban.

9) Sheetal Rayathatha

10) Sudha Umashanker.

11) Uma Balu.

12) Vasugi Ram Manohar.


The Festival Director is Eric Miller (PhD in Folklore, Director of the World Storytelling Institute, 98403 94282).





4) Links


Here are some links relating to "Storytelling and Healing", "Therapeutic Uses of Storytelling", "Storytelling Therapy", "Narrative Therapy", and "Narrative Medicine":




Healing Story Alliance (a special interest group of the USA's National Storytelling Network).


Online audio recordings of talks regarding Storytelling and Healing, made by the HSA.




Program in Narrative Medicine, Columbia University (New York City, New York, USA).

In the School of Continuing Education.

In the Columbia University Medical Center.


An article containing an interview with Dr Rita Charon, founder of this Program: "Narratives for Clearings", The Hindu (New Delhi), 28 Feb 2013.


TED Talk by Dr Rita Charon, "Honoring the Stories of Illness" (video).




Healing Arts Program (including therapeutic uses of storytelling), at Rady Children's Hospital, in San Diego, California, USA.




Susan Perrow


Interview with Susan Perrow , by Jude Treder-Wolff, New York psychotherapist (May 2013).


"The Power of a Story", relating to Susan Perrow's presentation at The Examined Life Conference: Writing, The Humanities and The Art of Medicine at the University of Iowa (February 2013).


"The Healing Power of Story", by Susan Perrow, Juno Magazine, 9 April 2012.




"Notes on Using Storytelling for Therapy", by Eric Miller.




"Narrative Medicine", wiki page.


"Narrative Therapy", wiki page.


"Introducing Therapeutic Storytelling".


"How Stories Help Sick Kids Get Better", Minnesota Star Tribune.


"Therapeutic Storytelling Intervention (TSI) and Psychotherapy with Multi-problem Children, Adolescents and Their Families".


"Narrative Medicine: Learning to Listen", New York Times.


"Narrative Medicine: A Model for Empathy, Reflection, Profession, and Trust", Journal of the American Medical Association.


"Narrative-based Medicine: Why Study Narrative?", British Medical Journal.


"The Power of Narrative Medicine", Huffington Post.


"Narrative Medicine: Patient-Centered, Touchy-Feely Health Care", Huffington Post.


"Narrative Medicine", on a website dedicated to Stories about Science (with online audio).


"Stories in Medicine: Doctors-in-Training Record a Different Type of Patient History", National Public Radio, USA (with online audio).


Narrative Therapy Papers and Information.






Regarding the previous Chennai Storytelling Festival (held in February 2013) --


The Poster (including the Workshop schedule) for Chennai Storytelling Festival 2013 is here. 


Links to additional info about CSF 2013 (including numerous articles), are here.