StoryFest: International Storytelling Festival Singapore 2022

19 – 21 August, 7:30pm – 9:30pm / Performance

Story Threads

The Singapore Showcase


StoryFest is proud to commission six dynamic storytellers from varied backgrounds, working with the narrative in unique ways. Showcase alumni Verena Tay, Stephanie Dogfoot, Hafiz Rashid, and Melizarani Selva are joined by newcomers Daryl Qilin Yam and Wesley Leon Aroozoo in weaving tales of love, loss, legend and lore.

Contemplate the modern-day implications of ancient and contemporary folklore as you listen to stories about things seen and unseen. Uncover the virtue of patience with Hafiz and Verena, navigate familial bonds with Daryl and Melizarani, and reexamine the birth of urban legends with Stephanie and Wesley. The Singapore Showcase delves into how we find our way through complex relationships with the world, whether tangible or otherwise.

Filmmaker Wesley Leon Aroozoo revisits the urban legend of the kepala anjing (dog head) and unearths superstitions that have chilled us to the bone. In the hands of storyteller Verena Tay, the Chinese creation myth of Nu Wa takes shape as a tale of selflessness, patience and nurturing. Unravel the heartbreaking Javanese legend of the truntum motif through Hafiz Rashid’s interpretation of batik. Spoken word artist Melizarani Selva imagines the goddess of shadows, Chaya Devi, talking to her infant son and his destiny as Shani Deva, god of karma. The symbolism of the visiting butterfly is traced through personal memory and ancient lore by writer Daryl Qilin Yam. Wordsmith Stephanie Dogfoot shapeshifts alongside a canine family’s journey during the rabies outbreak of the late 1800s.

The Singapore Showcase is a tapestry of six distinct tales performed by captivating word-weavers.

Get caught in the web of tales!

Maker of Mankind, Mender of Heaven — by Verena Tay

“For eons, I dance through the land, my core-length tingling energy. Life shimmers, grows, dies, renews year after year. I am content.”

Peer into the mind of the creation goddess Nu Wa, as she fashions a world entirely from scratch. How much must she give of herself to sustain life? Join literary veteran Verena Tay, as she moulds a whole, wondrous, elaborate world in front of your eyes.

The Pattern of Love — by Hafiz Rashid

“She continued gazing at the stars twinkling in the distance and took comfort knowing that there was still light even in a moonless night, just as there was hope even in the bleakest of circumstances.”

They say every image tells a story. In the batik tradition, visual and written motifs are bountiful, each holding their own narratives. Ever wondered how these symbols came to be? Let Hafiz Rashid transport you to Central Java, as he tells you the tale of Ratu Kencana, and how her undying love and devotion manifested in the truntum motif, to be honored for centuries to come.

Strays — by Stephanie Dogfoot

“She wished she could tell them what she knew. But foxes did not quite speak the same way as dogs. But it didn’t matter. They all knew. The cull had begun.”

What would you give up to save the ones you love most? In the late 1800s, a shape-shifting fox spirit collides head-on with the reality of the rabies outbreak. As she is forced to decide between her true identity, and saving the lives of her found family, find out what choices she makes in ‘Strays’, told by Stephanie Dogfoot.

What Used to Kill Us — by Daryl Qilin Yam

“… heartbreak - it was still a terminal condition at the time.”

A lone butterfly in your home is said to signal the return of a lost loved one. But where did this belief come from? Daryl Qilin Yam has a theory about transformative tales, and it dates all the way back to the third century. Relive the classic story of ‘The Butterfly Lovers’ gently woven together with a personal tale about coming to terms with grief.

The Overhead — by Wesley Leon Aroozoo

“You have to return it. It is meant to be buried. Or Kepala Anjing will punish you. Trust me. I tried…”

Have you seen the Kepala Anjing? The man with the dog’s head, who lurks at night in search of children to steal? In 1980s Singapore, children vanish without a trace, only to be found years later under bridge foundations. Let your spine be tingled, and senses heightened, in Wesley Leon Aroozoo’s ‘The Overhead’. Find out how one man goes on a search to dig up the truth behind a well-known urban legend… what truths await him?

Sins I Have Yet to Commit — by Melizarani T. Selva

“The suffering inside you contains my suffering and you will grow into solidified adult agony that no one will understand. Not even your imperfect mother.”

To be a mother is to give unyieldingly until there is nothing left to give. If that holds true, how does a mother of a god battle this spiral of baby blues? Witness Melizarani T. Selva as she reimagines the voice of Chaya, mother of the god of karma, Lord Shani Deva, in this tangled web of identity, generational trauma and motherhood. 

All patrons at The Arts House (except for children aged 12 and below) will have to be fully vaccinated and mask wearing is compulsory.
More Information on Safe Management Measures

Photography & Video Recording Rules:
  • Unauthorised video and audio recording is not permitted for this event.
  • Photography without flash and without disrupting the artists/event is permitted within reason.
Admittance Rules:
  • All patrons are required to purchase tickets for admission.
  • Admission is subject to proof of tickets purchased.
Latecomers Advisory:
  • All latecomers must wait for suitable cue for seating.
  • No refunds, no exchange of tickets.
Daryl Qilin Yam

Daryl Qilin Yam (Singapore)

Daryl is a writer, editor and arts organiser. He is the author of the novella Shantih Shantih Shantih and the novel Lovelier, Lonelier, a finalist of the 2021 Epigram Books Fiction Prize. He co-founded the literary charity Sing Lit Station. His short fiction and poetry have appeared in publications such as the Berlin Quarterly, The Straits Times, Transnational Literature, and The Epigram Books Collection of Best New Singapore Short Stories. His first novel, Kappa Quartet, was selected by The Business Times as one of the best novels of the year, and described by QLRS as “[breaking] new ground in Singaporean writing… a shimmering and poignant novel, an immensely sympathetic and humane exploration of our existential condition.”

Hafiz Rashid

Hafiz Rashid (Singapore)

Hafiz has been a volunteer museum docent at the Malay Heritage Centre since 2013. 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 also does storytelling at the public libraries, sharing stories from the Nusantara with the library patrons.

Melizarani T. Selva

Melizarani T. Selva (Malaysia)

Melizarani is a Malaysian writer and spoken word poet, with notable performances at ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival and TEDxGateway. Her first book, Taboo is a poetic interrogation of the Malaysian Indian identity. She co-founded ‘If Walls Could Talk: Poetry Open Mic’, the Malaysia National Poetry Slam, and co-published an anthology of 100 poems by 61 poets from Malaysia titled When I Say Spoken, You Say Word!. Her debut play, Kudumbam, was staged as part of the 24-Hour Playwriting Competition winners showcase by TWorks Singapore. Her poems have been translated into French and Bahasa Malaysia. Presently, she serves as co-editor of ‘The Second Link’ - A Malaysia-Singapore Literary Anthology project.

Stephanie Dogfoot

Stephanie Dogfoot (Singapore)

Stephanie is a Singaporean writer, performer, and producer whose first poetry collection, Roadkill for Beginners (Math Paper Press, 2019) explores growing up, good times in strange places and strange times in good places. In 2020, with the support of the National Arts Council, she co-created a short film based on poems from the collection called An Intermediate Guide to Roadkill. She has won national poetry slams in Singapore and the UK and has been invited to perform her work in thirteen countries. The founder of a poetry night called Spoke & Bird and the co-founder of a comedy night called Siao Char Bors Comedy, Stephanie is inspired by mud and Southeast Asian wildlife.

Verena Tay

Verena Tay (Singapore)

Verena is a seasoned storyteller, theatre practitioner and writer. As an oral storyteller, Verena has delighted audiences in Asia, Europe, and North America with her unique way of bringing stories vocally and physically alive. She is driven to make traditional myths/tales/legends relevant for people today and has successfully coached adults to improve their storytelling craft. Verena has published four collections of plays and two short story anthologies. She has edited twelve volumes of short stories (including the popular Balik Kampung series) and conducted numerous creative writing workshops locally. She is currently completing her Ph.D. studies in Creative Writing with Swansea University.

Wesley Leon Aroozoo

Wesley Leon Aroozoo (Singapore)

Wesley is an educator and multi-disciplinary artist with 13 Little Pictures. His works span literary arts, film, and theatre, and have been nominated for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize, among others. He is the author of Bedok Reservoir, whose onstage adaptation was performed at the Goodman Arts Centre. A feature documentary companion to his second novella, I Want to Go Home, had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival, where he was nominated for the Mecenat award. The documentary was adapted as a multi-sensory exhibition by Mural Lingo for the Light to Night Festival. His latest novel, The Punkhawala and the Prostitute was presented at The Substation’s interactive tour ‘An Artist’s Journey: You are Obviously in the Right Place’.

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