What is storytelling?

Storytelling is a uniquely human act, aiming to create and share a social world. It occurs when a storyteller, a narrative and an audience come together in person, to re-tell and co-create a story. Storytelling exists in the world since the time making sense and new meaning out of our existence and experiences, became essential to our survival and prosperity.

Storytelling is the way we interact to visit new and old ideas together, remember, learn, dream, communicate and imagine our future. It is the way we learn about who we are, where we come from, pass on values, examine those values, question what we are doing and see new possibilities.

Parallel to storytelling being a communal act and a co-creative process by design, the stories co-created happen only in the mind of each listener and are personal and interpretive.

The Core Model of Storytelling

The core model of storytelling is a dynamic partnership in an exchange between three: a messenger (storyteller), a witness (listener/audience) and an utterance (a spoken narrative-text). In order for storytelling to happen, all three partners have to be in the same physical space, at the same time, communicating with each other. Each act of telling is dependent on the ongoing influence of listener on teller on narrative-text and so on again and again from the first beat to the last beat of a storytelling event.

Contrary to what many are made to believe – the listener isn’t passive, the story isn’t fixed and the storyteller does not own the situation. It is a partnership that practices mutual influence, constantly.

Who is a Storyteller?

A storyteller is a community messenger who has the skill to combine text, voice and gesture expression in order to elicit a response in the imagination of the listener – which is the only place where the story actually exists. At the same time the storyteller is also the protagonist of the storytelling event, whose ultimate objective is for the storytelling event to succeed – by temporarily restoring a sense of order and balance, through opening the possibility of visiting new and old ideas – to find understanding, to self-learn, to remember, to be entertained – as individuals and members of various identity circles. A storyteller is a person who can commit, perform and serve this event to its fullest.

More about the core model of storytelling here.