If the pandemic shows anything to the Guelph of Storytellers, it is that there is a growing interest and audience in their profession, made possible by technology.
“Something that’s kind of interesting and exciting around the country, the storytelling, there’s kind of a dynamic interaction with it now that it’s on Zoom, and the narrators in particular, which is interesting, the listeners too,” said GGST member Sya VanGeest. , “She’s actually kind of grown up.”
Video sharing platforms have allowed guild members to continue telling stories at out-of-town events and through guild-specific events, such as Tales From the Hill on Zoom. Another product of Zoom use, VanGeest said, is that the syndicate can also invite guests from all over the world.
said Vangest, who also staged Tales of a Hill this year.
“We wouldn’t have these out-of-town cashiers if it wasn’t for Zoom.”
Usually an in-person event at the Guelph Civic Museum, Tales from the Hill on Zoom has been posted online with performances taking place every Wednesday of the month.
During the latter event, Syndicate storytellers Brian Holstein, Sia Vangest and Bevi Matson told stories with three storytellers, Sarah Abusarar and John Brown. VanGeest explains that the theme of this event was “remembering”.
“It could be historical, it could be real life, it could be a folk tale, and that evening, remember, it was especially great because it was that mix, it was such a wonderful mix,” VanGeest said of the stories shared that evening.
“It was a really nice event, we received some lovely and lovely comments and I posted them on the website.”
Tales From the Hill is one of two major guild-run events. Earlier this year, the syndicate held VirtualiTEA and Tales, which was also held online. By setting up online events, VanGeest demonstrates that members of the public can enjoy stories in the comfort of their own homes.
“What we’re discussing and wrestling with now is that once he opens up a little bit more, is there a way we can do a mix, but that’s a little tricky without the right set up.”
While technology has allowed more storytellers to collaborate and reach larger audiences, VanGeest describes some limitations for storytellers, such as audience participation and limited movement to help tell a story.
“The storytelling is very responsive to your audience, and that’s the drawback, you can’t do that on Zoom,” VanGeest said. “The other drawback of the online version is that you only use your upper body and your face, whereas in the narrator, you use your hands, and you move, you might bend down, you might get the audience to respond out loud.”
Despite this, the union sees an average audience size of about 25 people for Tales from the Hill and many positive comments about the event.
“It’s so good, we’re so happy with it,” VanGeest said of the number of people attending each event. “It’s a nice size but we’re aiming to make it grow a little bit bigger.”
When it comes to the organization, VanGeest states that the guild offers a “warm welcome” to all new storytellers interested in joining them.
The next show for Tales from the Hill on Zoom will take place on December 1. During the event, four storytellers from the guilds share stories based on the theme of ‘Tradition’. For more information on Tales From the Hill, or to sign up for our next online event, go to guelphstorytellers.com.
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