7 Inspiring Oral Storytelling Examples [with YouTube Videos]

You’d like to know more about oral storytelling, but where do you start? I’d like to show you more of the art and craft of storytelling through these inspiring examples on YouTube.

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 on YouTube with all seven oral storytelling examples discussed below.

Rhythm and Soul – Jan Blake

Storyteller Jan Blake starts her story with a clear statement about the relevance of storytelling today. Her telling shows a mastery of both rhythm and soul—rhythm in words, sentences, and story structure, and soul in the power of her telling to touch the listener’s soul.


Connection – Sahand Sahebdivani

Oral storytelling is all about connection. A storyteller needs to connect to the story, the listeners, and the context in which they will tell it. Storyteller Sahand Sahebdivani is a master at making these connections. [Also, so inspiring to 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 authentic, 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 speaks, synchronizing your movements with the story, and 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 that 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 who inspired them. I made this selection based on their suggestions (Thanks!) and my knowledge.

Two simple things I want to add as notes to this list:

  1. 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! 🙂
  2. While I consider these people masters in different aspects of storytelling, this is by no means intended as a list of the ‘best storytellers of the world’.

I hope these seven oral storytelling examples inspired you as they inspired me.

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.

You prefer to read. Check out my article on oral storytelling skills.

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 will find many profound insights into 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.


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