The existent belief that storytelling is meant only for children is slowly changing as it is being used as a way to expand one’s horizon, especially amongst adults. Adults are now leaning towards storytelling to discover themselves, reconnect with their inner self and even interact with people. Oral narration, which is known to change people mentally and holistically, provides a platform to express oneself in an effective manner, at a time when social interactions are limited due to technological advancements.
Veteran storyteller and co-founder of ‘Kathalaya’, Geeta Ramanujam, has enthralled people between the ages of six years and 60 years with her tales. Her stories captivate the audience and leave them pondering over their nuances. “During my experience, I have seen that adults are just as engrossed in stories as children, so we need to narrate stories that leave an impact on them. When one uses the term ‘storytelling’, it is often mistaken for those that are gender centric and often sexist, but I mostly share stories of love, pain, separation and tragedy, which appeal to people. There is definitely a need for storytelling among adults which helps them stay connected with themselves in this virtual and hyper-connected world,” she says.
Aparna Athreya, a psychologist, storyteller and founder of ‘Kid and Parent Foundation’, says,
“We always had fiction that helps adults connect with their inner selves and see themselves in another person’s shoes. Spiritual stories have always been the norm but now, we use personal stories as a medium of expression. We find that people are interested in telling their own stories, which helps them connect with the audience. Personal stories also have a power to heal, change and reiterate a situation. Sharing what you have experienced and what is intimate is a powerful manner to discover oneself. These are a breath of fresh air and the future of storytelling among adults.”
There are several storytelling sessions that take place in the City for adults. According to storytellers, youngsters from the age group of 20 to 30 have fired an interest for storytelling. Senior citizens, too, use this medium to share their experiences. “We see a lot of footfall. In every meeting we have 30 to 40 adults turning up especially among youngsters and senior citizens. People are inclined towards the oral storytelling methodology as opposed to other forms.”
Storytelling has immense potential in other fields like marketing, communication and the corporate worlds. Some of the venues where storytelling regularly happens are cafes, book shops and libraries. Oral storytelling, an upcoming trend, is spoken word where a relationship is established between the narrator, audience and the story, and there is room for improvisation. During meetings, people share their personal stories or a teller narrates a story which suits people’s sensibilities. There are a variety of stories that can be explored for an adult audience — from culture to geopolitics and mythology.
According to Sowmya Rajan Srinivasan, founder member of ‘Bangalore Storytelling Society’, there are several benefits of storytelling for adults. “Adults are looking for innocence that comes from sharing small things. In this highly competitive world people are looking for that kind of a connect. Adults want to bring out the child in them, and stories help them reach that stage.” She sums up, “Another reason why adults are taking to storytelling is to bring out creativity and explore it in their professional lives as a form of public speaking art.”
– By Preethi Ravi