What is storytelling – in a nutshell

Storytelling is the smallest form of theatre

Storytellers are authors, directors and actors all in one. Unlike in the theatre or in literary readings, the storytellers are not bound by a written text or stage directions, but interact freely with their audience. Storytellers get by without technology and stage sets: The focus of storytelling is on the human being who can be experienced through the senses.

Storytelling is the oldest performative art

Human beings are storytellers. In all cultures and for more than 4000 years, people have kept their common cultural identity alive through storytelling. Modern storytellers also draw on the ancient oral traditions of humankind: they develop their stories from fairy tales, myths and legends from all over the world. This intangible cultural heritage, recognised by UNESCO, deals with basic questions of human existence such as greed, betrayal, love and death. Contemporary storytelling brings the traditional material into the present and makes it productive for the questions of today. Free oral storytelling is entertaining and humorous anyway!

Storytelling is socially and transculturally connecting

Free oral storytelling has been proven to promote transcultural education, the transmission of values and language competence. Storytelling connects people from different social and cultural backgrounds. Because storytelling reaches everyone: no matter what age, level of education or cultural background – stories connect all participants in a common creative process. Thanks to facial expressions and gestures, storytellers overcome language barriers and create imaginary worlds that arise in the imagination of each individual listener.

Storytelling is highly topical

Today, in the digital age, it is above all the sensual presence in the here and now that constitutes the special magic of artistic storytelling: with language, body, heart and wit, storytellers enter into direct contact with the audience. Storytelling is pure presence, without technology, and thus a radical antithesis to digitalisation. The current renaissance of storytelling worldwide shows that there is a longing for this living immediacy. In the face of global migration and growing social division, storytelling is also gaining political significance – as a participatory, democratic and transcultural art form.