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Stories We Tell Ourselves

Language: English

Year: 2021, 31 mins
Code: RJ-Second11

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This 30-minute programme focuses on positive thinking. We often tell stories to ourselves - negative stories that affect our mood, our behaviour, our social interactions and our future possibilities, such as:

• I am not good enough.

• I can’t sing/do maths/play football . . .

• What if I make a mistake like last time?

• She’s so much better/cleverer/prettier than me . . .

Roger uses Masks to comically introduce the topic before sharing six stories of positive thinking: An Egg, a Carrot and Coffee Beans; The Black Dot Test; Empty Cup Mind; My Right Foot; The Trouble Tree; and The General Who Wanted Change.

I am a Merdeka-generation Singaporean (born here to British parents) who grew up in UK before returning to teach drama (1978).  I discovered storytelling (1998) after careers as a teacher and theatre practitioner (ST*ARS, Hi! Theatre), so I incorporate dramatic elements (physical/vocal characterisation, mime and comic improvisation) into my telling.  What I love about storytelling (unlike theatre) is that I look directly into the eyes of my audience, performing in the same shared space/light.

Highlights of my storytelling life? Winning Best Storyteller Award (2013, Kanoon Int’l Story Festival, Iran) founding Singapore’s 398.2 Storytelling Festival (2015); co-founding FEAST (Federation of Asian Storytellers); and performing in festivals (Bahrain, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia and Thailand.) Being described as the ‘affable patriarch’ of Singapore storytelling by the National Storytelling Network (USA)!

I am particularly fond of value or wisdom tales – hence my two resource books, Stories for Values Education (Juniors and Teens), created to help schools tackle character education.

I enjoy working with puppets and telling in tandem (ie with a partner). With Gophi Nathan, who is hearing-impaired, I share stories told with sign language as I believe in promoting access (I am a trained audio-describer for the blind). Scripting a bi-lingual telling (in sign or with a mother-tongue partner) allows me to re-visit my theatrical roots!

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