Chris has worked as a professional Storyteller for 22 years. He is a founder member of A Bit Crack - Storytelling, based in the Newcastle upon Tyne. He started work in teaching in a secondary school in South London, but moved on to work in Theatre. He was a founder member of the Pip Simmons Theatre Company, worked in repertory theatres as an actor and director, then became Director of Theatre in Education Companies in the North East for twenty years before becoming a full time story teller
As a storyteller, Chris works with listeners of all ages and ability to share his love of stories and joy of language and works in partnership with musicians, textile artists, sculptors and other storytellers. He is currently touring his show SALT with music and live art for village halls.
I’ve worked as a professional storyteller for 22 years and the stories I tell are friends that I’ve picked up along the way. So telling stories to me is sitting down with the best companions you could find. They show themselves in different lights on different days, which makes the whole process even more enjoyable.
Having worked with writers in theatre before becoming a storyteller, I really appreciate the challenge of letting individual stories find their own voice through me. I think of storytelling events as conversations, that way you can never cease to be surprised by what may come back to you from listeners or even the stories themselves. I also really enjoy the company of good listeners.
What makes a good story, and why?
You tell traditional tales from many cultures. Do you find common elements amongst these tales, if so what are they?
One of the sessions you are co-hosting at the festival this year is ‘Ghost Stories’. What makes for a good ghost story?
A storyteller usually needs at least one listener. What can the listener(s) gain from the process?
How do you develop your storytelling repertoire and skills?
Listen, read, listen, reflect, listen, practice, listen, talk, listen, tell.
Yes, you have to do more listening than telling! No one can give you a repertoire, just as no one can give you a circle of friends - you have to gather them yourself. Keep a record of when and where you’ve told different stories and make a note somewhere of which stories suit different circumstances, audiences, ages or topics. Get selected listeners to tell you truthfully everything they thought about the stories and the way you told them. Oh! And keep on listening!
Who are your favourite storytellers, and why?
What are your three tips for aspiring storytellers?
- Listen, Practice, Listen, Practice, Listen, Practice, Tell.
- Remember that the story is more important than the teller, the story has to be remembered, not the teller.
- Enjoy - no, really enjoy, and make sure that you can be heard!
What questions would your grandchildren ask you if they were here now?
If you were me and I was you, what would you think and what would you do?
Where would you start to store a store of stories ? Would it be in a head case?