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International Storytelling Project

Dear All,

I am currently Director of the Community Storytelling Initiative which came in to being in 2007, and was originally funded by the philanthropic organisation Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. Part one of my grant went to the Intergenerational Project which connected the elderly with a community of teenagers through story. This project ran for 7 weeks and culminated in the teenagers performing stories to the elderly; these stories were inspired by the conversations they had had with the elderly. I hope to post video footage on this soon.

Part two of the Community Storytelling Initiative is The International Storytelling Project. This project works with members of the international community that are currently restricted in their citizenship and not free to live full lives here in Ireland (i.e. refugees and asylum seekers). The project consists of 6 weeks of workshops culminating in a performance in a local theatre that seats about 100 people. The theatre is in the middle of town, we will charge admission, all funds received will go towards paying for a post show party (there are serious laws regarding giving earnings to any refugees etc, breaking these laws can impinge on their impending status).

I performed storytelling sessions in the three hotels housing refugees around the city, the purpose was to culminate interest in my project and to attract participants. We currently have 13 people involved, but attendance changes from week to week. There is great enthusiasm in the room every week as people from Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, Chad and Nepal share their ideas about stories and storytelling.

The show will be centred around traditional folktales, the reason being that folktales are universal and using them creates a bridge of understanding between teller and audience that might not happen if one were to tell a personal, modern or religious tale. The project is still finding it's feet, and no doubt we will have more things to overcome as we go along. But I wanted to write it up here to let you all know what I am doing, as I believe that sharing ideas offers the currency for inspiration.

We have four more weeks to go before our performance. We will be bringing in a local mulitcultural choir called The Big Sing to be on stage with us on the night. I will be filming it so I hope to post footage of that in April sometime.

May our voices be heard around the world

in word and deed
Clare Muireann Murphy

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