You’d like to know more about oral storytelling, but where to start? Through these inspiring oral storytelling examples on YouTube I’d like to show you more of the art and craft of storytelling.
Oral Storytelling is the art and craft of telling a story live to a group of listeners in the same space. The story is told through words and body language. The listeners each experience the story in the ‘theater of their mind’, generating their own multi-sensory images.
You can find a playlist with all the 7 oral storytelling examples discussed below here on YouTube.
Rhythm and Soul – Jan Blake
Storyteller Jan Blake kicks off her story with a clear statement about the relevance of storytelling for today. Her telling shows a mastery of both rhythm and soul. Rhythm in the words, the sentences, the story structure. Soul in the power of her telling to touch the soul of the listener.
Connection – Sahand Sahebdivani
Oral storytelling is all about connection. A storyteller needs to connect to the story, to the listeners and to the context in which he or she will tell the story. Storyteller Sahand Sahebdivani is a master in making these connections. [Also, so inspiring to really see the audience in this video]
Energy – Mara Menzies
A boring storyteller is no storyteller. Mara Menzies is a shining example of the power, vibrancy and colorfulness a storyteller can bring to her telling. Her energy fills the room and lifts the story. [Watch also what happens with the kid in the end!]
Personal Storytelling – Donald Davis
Good storytelling is always true, even when the story didn’t really happen. Stories that did happen still need a skilled storyteller to bring them alive for the listeners. Storyteller Donald Davis is a master in this, bringing out the magic and humor in his personal stories.
Poetic Language – Hugh Lupton
When a storyteller is in love with language, with words, with poetry, it shows in their telling. Hugh Lupton is such a storyteller. This short clip clearly shows the power of poetry and the beauty of words and the poetic imagination, which also shines through in his longer work.
The Body Speaks – Clare Murphy
You tell stories with your body as much as with your words. Mastering what your body tells, synchronizing your movements with the story, impersonating wildly different characters: Clare Murphy is a storyteller who excels in these areas.
No Theatrics Needed – Dan Yashinsky
There is a form of storytelling which looks very simple. It shows the power of less in a world constantly asking for more. It’s not loud, it’s quiet. Without bells, without whistles. Don’t be deceived by how simple it looks. Dan Yashinsky is one of the masters of this kind of storytelling.
About these Oral Storytelling Examples
I asked my colleagues in the Vertelacademie Netwerk Facebook Group for videos of storytellers that inspired them. Out of all their suggestions (Thanks!) and my own knowledge I made this selection.
Two simple things I want to add as notes to this list:
- Storytelling is live. Watching it separated from you in place and time (like on YouTube) does not even come close to experiencing it live with a group of people. So go and listen to some storytellers in the real world! 🙂
- While I consider these people masters in different aspects of storytelling, this is by no means intended as some kind of list of ‘best storytellers of the world’.
I hope these seven oral storytelling examples inspired you, like they inspired me.
Consider subscribing to my YouTube channel for more fairy tales and storytelling:
Videos about Oral Storytelling Skills
Maybe after watching these oral storytelling examples you feel inspired to improve your own oral storytelling skills? These resources on YouTube might help you.
Competences for Oral Storytelling – FEST
The Federation for European Storytelling (FEST) made a series of short clips in which storytellers talk about parts of their craft. Watch this series on YouTube
The Biology of Story
On this website you find many deep insights in stories and storytelling. You can spend several afternoons listening to all the clips. A world of inspiration! Go to the website ‘The Biology of Story’
Connecting to a Story – Rafael Rodan
In this masterclass (recorded in Amsterdam), Storyteller Raphael Rodan works in an inspiring, beautiful and effective way with a student to deepen his connection with his story.
The Secrets of Storytelling: Katrice Horsley
Who does not want to know the secrets of storytelling? There are many gems in this YouTube series in which storyteller Katrice Horsley shares her experiences and insights into storytelling.
On this website I aim to give you fairy tales to tell (like these Brothers Grimm fairy tales), background to fairy tales (like this article: 10 things you may not know about the Grimm Brothers) and inspiration and advice on how to tell fairy tales.
💡 Once a month, I send out an email with new writings on storytelling and fairy tales.