International Storytelling Festival Singapore 2019
 

Storytellers

David Novak

USA
David Novak

David Novak is Founder and Artistic Director of A Telling Experience. An internationally touring storyteller he is a veteran of the National Storytelling Festival, USA. He was on the opening team of The Disney Institute as Director of Story Arts and is a faculty member of the Storytelling Program at East Tennessee State University. David keynotes for numerous library and educational conferences, including the Sydney International Storytelling Conference, Czech Children’s Theatre Festival and American Alliance for Theatre in Education. He has also toured for the Lincoln Center Institute and the LA Music Center. David is recipient of the Circle of Excellence for storytelling, and the Aurand Harris Memorial Playwriting Award for excellence in professional theatre for children. He is an A+ Fellow for the North Carolina Arts Council and a Teaching Artist for the Wolf Trap Institute. 

With a background in theatre, he applies his skills as a writer, performer and teaching artist to the development of public discourse, community building and education. Over 30 years of practice, David developed a unique style of narrative combinatorics. A master of literary collage, he contrasts the familiar with the surprising, simplicity with complexity and the ordinary with the fabulous.

Highly prized for his ability to bring ancient tales, classic myths, and original stories to life and enthral audiences of all ages, he is in demand for his school presentations, stage plays, keynotes, and workshops.

An animated and innovative storyteller, David has been described as “The Brothers Grimm and Carl Jung meet Monty Python.”

“A gifted teller who enhances his stories with a bag of tricks.” – Smithsonian Magazine

Acknowledgements & Credits:

National Storytelling Network
This program has been made possible in part through the sponsorship of the National Storytelling Network.

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
This engagement is supported by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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Daniel Allison

Scotland
Daniel Allison

Daniel Allison is a storyteller and author. Known for his evocative style and lyrical language, he has performed at countless schools, venues and campfires across the UK as well as in the USA, Portugal, Turkey, the UAE and India. His performances bring together Celtic legends with stories from the many diverse cultures he has explored and are woven together with spellbinding didgeridoo music.

A fascination with the ancient Celtic bards has led Daniel to walk coast-to-coast across Scotland twice, camping in the hills by night and sharing stories by day, in order to understand better the life of a travelling storyteller. 

Daniel is a regular performer at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh, where he has debuted performances including The Wilderness Within, a reimagining of the life of the naturalist John Muir; The Missing Lynx, a sell-out exploration of re-wilding through storytelling; and the sell-out Dark Tales, a strictly-for-adults evening of horror stories from around the world.

Daniel is the author of the forthcoming collection ‘Finn and the Fianna: Celtic Legends Retold’, a new retelling of the Finn MacCoull stories, available from the History Press in 2020. He is currently at work on a series of children’s novels set in prehistoric Scotland while creating a storytelling podcast and training full-time to be a Muay Thai fighter.

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Ana Maria Lines

Brazil
Ana Maria Lines

Ana Maria Lines is a storyteller, researcher and workshop leader with an international reputation, vast repertoire and captivating style. She was born in São Paulo, Brazil and grew up in a multicultural environment surrounded by stories, myths and traditions. She has developed her unique storytelling style by observing tribes and their relationship with traditional stories, dance and music. Through this enriching background and a vast repertoire of South American tales she is comfortable sharing Brazilian mythology as well as adaptations of real life stories.

She studied Social Communication, Journalism and Marketing and as a journalist she worked for radio stations, newspapers and magazines while in Brazil. To foster the exchange of personal and traditional stories in the various communities she visited, she developed projects on storytelling and reading. As a trainer in the corporate sector, she used storytelling techniques to encourage motivation, creativity, memory and building relationships between groups.

Ana moved to England in 2017 and is the organiser of the Stafford Knot Storytelling Club. She performs regularly in storytelling clubs, schools and arts festivals. Renowned for her performance Barbecued Husbands and her one woman show Reflecting Fridas, she has captivated audiences with the myths of Brazilian indigenous tribes and the life story of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. She conducts storytelling workshops and applies storytelling in community projects and health organisations. Representing Brazil and England, she has performed in international festival in Mexico, Cuba, Spain, Italy, Scotland and England.

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Martina Pisciali

Italy
Martina Pisciali

Martina Pisciali is a young storyteller and is the apprentice of Paola Balbi and Davide Bardi from Raccontamiunastoria in Italy. Through her mentorship she began to perform regularly at ‘Raccontamiunastoria – International Storytelling Festival in Rome’ and at ‘Storytelling Time/Es war Einmal – International Storytelling Festival Bolzano’.

Her repertoire represents traditional Italian tales as well as folklore from her native mountains, the Dolomites region. She also tells Greek and Roman myths, and global folktales with a focus on the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Her postgraduate degree in Agricultural Sciences resulted in a penchant for stories about nature and magic. Fluent in English, Italian and German, she is also a story translator for bilingual performances.

Recently she has expanded her experience by spending several months each year in the United Arab Emirates working both as performer and as assistant to the festival directors of ‘Tales on the Island – The International Storytelling Festival in Sharjah’.

She is co-founder of Storytelling Torino and has been organising the monthly Storytelling Café in Piedmont since 2013. Last year she co-designed a storytelling radio programme for RAI (National Radio and Television). She is currently working on two projects – a performance together with accordion player Tommaso Zamboni, inspired by the refugee crisis on the Balkan Route; and a show about a side-story of the Aeneid with Mattia Di Pierro, a fellow young storyteller from Raccontamiunastoria.

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Zarina Muhammad

Singapore
Zarina Muhammad

Zarina Muhammad is an arts practitioner, educator and independent researcher based in Singapore. She lectures mostly on contextual studies and art/critical theory with a focus on the cultural histories of Southeast Asia at LASALLE. Currently, Zarina is working on an ongoing multidisciplinary research and performance project on cultural translations pertaining to Southeast Asian ritual magic, sacred sites and the tracing of mythological roots of the feared, desired and revered (supernatural) body across the region.

Her series of often collaborative and performance-based works deconstruct and aim to confront histories, texts, definitions, and (mis)representations associated with these bodies of knowledge and polycosmologies. In the various incarnations of her work, she is particularly interested in the broader contexts of myth-making, gender-based archetypes and the region’s tenuous shape-shifting relationship to mysticism and the immaterial against the dynamics of global modernity.

In 2018, she was nominated as one of the President’s Young Talents and exhibited her work ‘Pragmatic Prayers for the Kala at the Threshold’ at the Singapore Art Museum. In addition to performing at Institute of Contemporary Art Singapore (ICAS), NTU Centre of Contemporary Art (CCA), The Substation and Objectifs Centre for Photography and Film, she has also presented her work in Indonesia, Cambodia, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and Australia.

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Dr. Edmund Chow

Singapore
Dr. Edmund Chow

Dr. Edmund Chow has an MA from New York University (2008) and a Ph.D. from the University of Manchester, UK (2016). As an educator and applied theatre practitioner, he has used creativity and imagination in the arts for more than 18 years. Edmund implemented a Prison Theatre and life-skills programme in Kaki Bukit Centre Prison School, and has volunteered on rehabilitation programmes at the Woodbourne Correctional Facilities in New York.

Edmund has taught in secondary schools, prisons, universities and business schools. He completed his Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Leadership and Communication at INSEAD Business School, where he used experiential pedagogies such as storytelling and improvisations to develop a communications and leadership module for MBA and Executive MBA classes across Europe, Singapore, and Middle East campuses. He currently heads the MA Arts Pedagogy & Practice programme at LASALLE.

He was a recipient of the New York University Educational Theatre William Vorenberg Award for Directing in 2007; and was nominated for excellence in academic achievement and leadership with the Pi Lambda Theta Rho Leadership Award by NYU in 2008. Edmund was a finalist at the 3-Minute Thesis Competition at the University of Manchester in 2015.

Edmund has garnered three speaking awards from the Professional Speakers Academy in London, has appeared as an expert guest on Talking Point on Channel News Asia and is a TEDx public speaking coach.

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Rachel Yang

Singapore
Rachel Yang

Rachel is a registered art therapist (AThR) with an MA Art Therapy (LASALLE), BA Graphic Design (Camberwell College of the Arts), certificate in developmental play therapy (CreateCatt) and is a certified SandPlay therapist (Expressive Therapies Institute of Australia). Currently president of Art Therapists’ Association (Singapore) she is the managing partner of Daylight Creative Therapies. Her practice addresses complex trauma, attachment disorders, depression and anxiety, grief and loss, relational and self-esteem issues, emotional distress and anger.

She is passionate about engaging and fostering supportive therapeutic encounters that offer her client’s opportunities to recognise their strengths and become empowered through their process of creative expression.

Since 2015, Rachel has mentored young women and children in developing and nurturing their strengths to creatively express themselves through mindful art processes that support development and enhance resilience and self-confidence. She is dedicated to working with the community to build stronger ties with others through art, play and creativity.

Her professional interests are focused on the expressive arts therapies, which include painting, writing, drawing, sewing, poetry, guided imagery, movement and music; these naturally lend themselves well to both her practitioner and artistic pursuits. She develops and facilitates staff self-care art therapy sessions to promote team-bonding and creative exploration. Rachel’s practice is both culturally relevant and informed.

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Choo Ruizhi

Singapore
Choo Ruizhi

Ruizhi is currently a Masters student at the NUS Department of History. As a researcher and student of Singapore’s pasts, he strongly believes in the emotive power of stories to entrap and imprison, but also to inspire and empower.

He runs @singapore_stories, an Instagram page dedicated to offering alternative visual and narrative reflections about this sunny island. In doing so, he hopes to create spaces to diversify and disrupt established visual and discursive hegemonies of this country. @singapore_stories is thus a platform and project to share some of these ideas with Singaporeans and foreign visitors alike, with the hope that it will inspire novel conversations about Singapore's pasts and futures.

Since 2017 Ruizhi has taught various aspects of Singaporean history to undergraduates. He is also the recipient of three Graduate Teaching Awards from the National University of Singapore. He has contributed extensively to various university publications like USP Highlights, The Cinnamon Roll, and Mnemozine. His writing contributions have ranged from analysing the dioramas of Haw Par Villa, to examining the biographies of the polar bears at the Singapore Zoo. Ruizhi is also the third-place winner of Utterly Changed: The Substation Writing Competition 2018, for his reimagining of Sun Wukong as an elderly Monkey God living at a Singaporean kopitiam. Currently, he is wrestling with his Masters thesis: a slippery tale of fish, Singapore, and the British Empire.

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The Singapore Showcase

Verena Tay

The Singapore Showcase

A seasoned storyteller and theatre practitioner, Verena Tay has delighted audiences in Singapore, Scandinavia, Australia, the US, Wales and Malaysia with her unique way of bringing stories vocally and physically alive. She is driven to make traditional myths and legends relevant for people today through her storytelling and personal writing. As a writer, Verena has published two volumes of short stories and four collections of plays. She also has edited twelve story anthologies, including the popular ‘Balik Kampung’ series published by Math Paper Press. An Honorary Fellow at the International Writing Program, University of Iowa, she holds three Masters degrees in English Literature, Voice Studies and Creative Writing. Currently, she is writing her first novel as part of her PhD studies in Creative Writing with Swansea University.

Dawn Lau

The Singapore Showcase

In search of her inner creative, Dawn began her foray into the performative space in 2014 with ‘Ways of Wandering’, a programme of the O.P.E.N., a public engagement initiative by the Singapore International Festival of the Arts. Since then, she has been actively participating in creative writing, movement, voice, storytelling, improv, and spoken word workshops, seeking out opportunities to perform whenever possible. She is passionate about storytelling for its power to give voice to the shared human experience through myths, folktales and legends. Dawn recently performed at ‘Stories for Grown Ups’ with Moonshadow Stories at the NLB. To explore alternative storytelling methods, she has also participated in Body Poetry and Spoken Word performances, following workshops with Deborah Emmanuel and Shivram Gopinath, at Haque Centre for Acting and Creativity.

Grace Kalaiselvi

The Singapore Showcase

Grace graduated from Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI) in 2014. She dabbles in acting, creating, directing, educating, making puppets & masks, storytelling and writing in different combinations for stage. Some of her own works include Mother I: Amma Naan: Ibu Aku (1), Mother I (2), Ulagam Pore Pohke Paaru 1 & 2 (See How the World Goes), Olee-Lights to The World and Meera’s Adventure series. Commissioned works include The Old Fogies (OctoBurst’19 – Esplanade) and Stories & Songs from the Bow (Feed Your Imagination’17 – Esplanade). She has also acted in Precise Purpose of Being Broken (Koh Wan Ching for M1SFF’19 & Esplanade’s Studio Series’17), Into the Blue Forest (100 & 100 more Festival by The Artground) and 0600 (SIFA’18 by GroundZ-0). She is a regular storyteller for Singapore Writers’ Festival and Esplanade’s PIP’s Playbox.

Hafiz Rashid

The Singapore Showcase

Hafiz has been volunteering at the Malay Heritage Centre (MHC) as a museum docent for more than five years. As a trained docent, he has conducted tours of MHC’s permanent and special exhibitions for members of the public, school groups, tourists as well as various community groups and he regularly receives commendations from visitors. He is interested in learning about the history, culture, folklore and languages of the Malay Archipelago (Nusantara) and uncovering their hidden stories. It is these unique stories that he shares when conducting his tours; the stories behind motifs, cultural practices, daily utterances – stories with deep links to the past. He is currently a library officer with the National Library Board at Marine Parade Public Library and hopes to continue sharing stories from the Nusantara with the library patrons.

Mrigaa Sethi

The Singapore Showcase

Mrigaa Sethi was born in Delhi and raised in Bangkok. She received an MFA in poetry from New York University and, after a circuitous string of jobs in higher education and food writing, now lives in Singapore. Formerly the managing editor of SG Magazine, she currently serves as chief sub-editor at travel media publisher Ink. Her poems have appeared in Mackerel, Seneca Review, ep;phany, The Bangkok Post and Folio, and she has performed at the Singapore Night Festival, Other Tongues Minority Voices Festival, Telling Stories Live, the Kundiman Reading Series, the Asian American Writers Workshop Reading Series, among other literary stages.

Akshita Nanda

The Singapore Showcase

Akshita Nanda was born in Pune, India in 1979 and has lived in Singapore since 1995. She has a BSc (Hons) from the National University of Singapore and knows what to do with radioactive viruses. She spent her childhood listening to stories and now she tells stories as a journalist and novelist. Her first novel, Nimita’s Place, was shortlisted for the 2017 Epigram Books Fiction Prize. Her second novel Beauty Queens of Bishan will be published by Penguin Random House end of 2019. She is writer-in-focus for the 2019 edition of the influential Writers Lab organised by Theatreworks. She has been in publishing since 2002 and joined The Straits Times in 2007, where she currently writes about the arts. Akshita is pursuing a Master’s degree in Education from the University of the People.

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The Young Storytellers Mentorship Project

The Young Storytellers Mentorship Project by The Storytelling Centre Limited supports the professional development of emerging talents in oral storytelling, highlight the importance of nurturing future artists to ensure sustainability of the art of storytelling.

Charlotte Lau

The Young Storytellers Mentorship Project

Charlotte has been on stage since the age of 8 and to this day she has been acting, singing and dancing in front of an audience. She has performed in a wide variety of shows, from immersive theatre productions such as Andsoforth’s Alice in Wonderland and Tales of Grimmsneyland to storytelling for children at StoryFest 2018. She told stories to adult audiences during Storytelling Speed Dating for Goodman B-Sides. Recently she was part of a tandem storytelling roving experience for A Night of Terrifying Tales produced by Moonshadow Stories at The Arts House as part of TEXTURES 2019. To this day, Charlotte continues to find herself on stage as she studies for her Diploma in Performance at LASALLE.

Kira Lim

The Young Storytellers Mentorship Project

Kira has been singing since young. Under the tutelage of classical soprano Khor Ai Ming she attained a distinction in the Trinity Advanced Performance Certificate and hopes to pursue opera. She is trained in basic ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary dance and is a recent graduate of Diploma in Performance at LASALLE. She enjoys storytelling for children and letting their imaginations fly. Some of her notable performances include Mass of The Children and New York Sounds of Summer, Carnegie Hall (Soloist, 2016), Songbirds Recital: Tsubasa (2017), Los Angeles International Music Festival (Soloist, 2018), StoryFest 2018 (Storyteller, 2018) and American Protégé Vocal Competition First Place (Soloist, 2018).

Athena Wee

The Young Storytellers Mentorship Project

Athena discovered her love for performing at a tender age of nine during her first drama class. Since then, she has gone on to pursue that passion in Chung Cheng High, and is currently studying for her Diploma in Performance at LASALLE. She has been in several productions, both on-stage and on-screen, such as in Musang Berjanggut and Vidsee’s Queen of Hearts. Recently she played the role of Mother in Haresh Sharma’s ‘Lizard’. Her film credits include playing a lead role in NTUC’s short film for International Women’s Day 2019. Athena plays the ukulele and is a skilled ballerina who recently started training en pointe and is excited to discover different aspects of herself through the arts.

Sharvesh Leatchmanan

The Young Storytellers Mentorship Project

Sharvesh has been telling stories through the art of acting since the age of 9. He believes that stories have the power to inspire, motivate and challenge. Folktales, legends and myths contain the essence of tradition, heritage and culture and he hopes to evoke this through his telling of classic Indian mythology. Trained in Carnatic singing and mridangam he is also adept at basic ballet, contemporary dance and jazz. He played the recurring role of Nevin in the Mediacorp television series Tanglin. Sharvesh previously performed at the 2016 World Storytelling Day production by Moonshadow Stories together with his mentor Kamini Ramachandran and is a 2017 graduate of the LASALLE Diploma in Performance programme.

Wang Shao Kai

The Young Storytellers Mentorship Project

Shao Kai completed Kamini Ramachandran’s storytelling module in LASALLE and worked as marketing assistant for StoryFest in 2017. He last performed an Indonesian comedic folktale and is captivated by the storyteller’s power to command and stimulate the audience’s visual and auditory imagination. He has received training in dikir barat, singing and acting. Under the direction of Sharda Harrison he has movement and devising experience. He was production coordinator for Singapore Youth Festival 2018 and was coordinator for the Mid-Autumn at Gardens by the Bay 2017 under The Presenting Company. He has experience as a voice-over artist, assistant stage manager and project coordinator for Toy Factory Productions.

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Dis/Connect: Digital Detox

Asiapac Books

Dis/Connect: Digital Detox

Established in 1983, Asiapac Books is Singapore’s leading publisher of educational comics and illustrated books. Their books are focused on Asian culture, including folk tales, history, philosophy, art and literature. They use comics and illustrations to convey profound ideas in a simple manner. Readers worldwide have enjoyed the ease and pleasure of learning via light-hearted writing and fun illustrations.

Glamping Society

Dis/Connect: Digital Detox

Glamping Society is Singapore’s very first glamping service provider.​ Featured in various media sites, they are the first company to provide fully air-conditioned tents in Singapore. They currently pitch at East Coast Park Area G and at Punggol Container Park. Offering 4 different kinds of tents they ensure that guests receive the best treatment through their quality service. Make them your next vacation partner and luxuriate in a unique experience.

Origami SG

Dis/Connect: Digital Detox

Origami SG started in 2016 with a vision to make origami accessible for new and experienced folders alike. Founded on a fascination for paper folding and a desire to design customised origami models, they conduct workshops for all ages. Origami SG expands upon the traditional art of Japanese culture by collaborating with artists to spread origami by creating customised gifts, cards and novelties for all occasions.

Daylight Creative Therapies

Dis/Connect: Digital Detox

Daylight Creative Therapies consists of a team of credentialed arts psychotherapists and counsellors who provide client-centred therapeutic services and creative psychological interventions. They offer support for all ages as well as organisations and are experienced in diverse therapeutic modalities. Through art media and the creative process, they support clients by fostering self-awareness and empowerment to enhance the quality of their lives.

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