VIRTUAL EVENT: St. Louis Storytelling Festival
*The event has already taken place on this date: Sat, 05/02/2020
See the full schedule of online events(opens in new window). Join us via a Zoom link, or watch live from our Facebook page(opens in new window).
For more than 40 years, the St. Louis Storytelling Festival has brought local, regional and nationally recognized storytellers to St. Louis for a week of workshops, presentations and free storytelling events.
Though this year’s festival was originally scheduled for April 23-May 2, when public health measures ruled out holding the event as planned, organizers saw a way to keep the festival alive and relevant in a time when much of life seems to have been put on hold.
“With schools suddenly closed and people stuck at home, we moved up the timeline to address an emergent need,” said Lisa Overholser, festival director and University of Missouri Extension community arts specialist.
The first virtual Storytelling Festival began March 24 and continues through May 1 with weekly and twice-weekly online storytelling events, including a Friday night “open mic” event for adults. These virtual storytelling events are free and feature talented local and regional storytellers, Overholser said.
People can join via Zoom videoconferencing (go to muextension.zoom.us/j/519027333(opens in new window)), watch the livestreams on the festival’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/STLStorytellingFestival(opens in new window) or call in by phone to 312-626-6799 and listen. Participants can ask questions or submit comments as text through the Zoom chatbox or as comments on the Facebook livestream.
St. Louis storyteller Sherry Norfolk led off the festival with kid-friendly stories about tricksters from myths and folktales, including Anansi, a character from West African folklore who often takes the shape of a spider.
“It’s never as satisfying as really, truly being face-to-face with a live audience, but Zoom makes it pretty good,” Norfolk said.
Unlike webinars she’s conducted, Zoom lets her see her audience, or at least some of the audience. She set her screen to show only five participants at a time. “Otherwise they were so tiny.” That allowed her to gauge how they were reacting to the story. “They were intensely listening, laughing, responding when I wanted them to respond,” she said.
Her advice to storytellers new to the virtual format: “It’s helpful to tell stories you’ve told many, many times,” she said. That will give the speaker a better idea of how the audience will react and respond to different parts of a story.
“School's Out Storytime,” for elementary-age kids and their families, happens Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.
“Way Back Wednesdays,” Wednesdays at 10 a.m., focuses on history and is designed for kids elementary-age and older as well as adults.
“Thursday Later Tales for Adults” happens Thursdays at 7 p.m. and, as the name suggests, is aimed at adults.
*Times, dates, and prices of any activity posted to our calendars are subject to change. Please be sure to click through directly to the organization’s website to verify.