At FEST, the network meeting for storytellers in Greece, I had a talk about what we do at the studies in storytelling in Oslo.

Here is a brief summary of this. First, some premises:

– At the university college the students can take the course storytelling as part of their bachelor’s degree in drama and theater.

– The students usually take storytelling as a part of their third year and this will say that they already have some training in how to work and perform in a group.

– We teach only in traditional and autobiographical narratives.

The principles underlying for how we teach are the following:.

  1. the principle of training

A distinction is made between training and rehearsal, rehearsal is something that is aimed directly at a performance. Training is to train the skills a storyteller need such as movement – and voice training and the like.

  1. the principle of community

We or I do not view oral storytelling as a solo performance, but closer to the community art. We often get stories from a community and we give stories back to the community. Moreover, the students are experienced in ensemble work when they start at the storytelling study and this we continues with.

  1. The principle of being critical of sources and having an overview of interpretation

I teach only in Norwegian and Nordic material, students often seek the exotic of other cultures. The students should be aware of written texts and look out for a cultural colonization. If they want stories from other cultures, the ideal is if they can collect stories orally, but as this often is difficult, they need training in studying written texts and interpretations of these.

  1. the principle of intertextuality

Students must read constantly new stories, often from the same collection, or theme. In this way, they have an increased repertoire of words and story structures, and it will be easier for them to put a story in context with others.

  1. the principle of creativity

Oral storytelling is not just a performative expression. One must work creatively with the stories one finds, to make the stories their own. It is not «allowed» to take a text, memorize this and then perform it. They have to work on the text. This principle also leads to the next principle.

  1. the principle of being contemporary

A tale told must have an echo in the present. This despite the fact that we often work with traditional stories, we must be able to put them into a context of contemporary life.

  1. the principle of «there are no limits in the performance as long as I as a listener belive that you are telling me the truth.»

The last principle wants to make the students aware of the opportunities within the performative expression. The truth we are talking about is not an objective size of what actually happened, but about trusting the storyteller in the context of the moment of telling.

These principles do not cover the entire program, but gives an idea of ​​how we work.