Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chris Bostock

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chris Bostock

Article excerpt

Storyteller, aged 61, of Newcastle

I started storytelling as soon as I started getting into trouble... financially. That was 14 years ago after I'd finished doing some work with theatre-in-education.

Four of us pretty soon formed a group called A Bit Crack. One of our proudest boasts is that we've had a storytelling evening open to the public every month for the last 14 years without a break.

Last year I was storyteller-in-residence in Gateshead. I linked together the very young and the very old and some great conversations came out of it.

The challenge to the storyteller is being able to find the right story to tell at the right time. You learn by your mistakes and you learn by listening, and the best teachers are other storytellers.

Everybody is a potential storyteller. The most exciting thing is hearing new voices and people being brave enough to tell their story and share their hopes, their dreams, their memories.

I've read stories in old folks' homes, nurseries, prisons and hospitals. Once in a young offenders' institution a guy asked: 'How long have I been here'? I said one-and-a-quarter hours and he said... well, I can't tell you what he said. But it showed you can get lost in a story.

I don't actually know how many stories I know. I suppose it could be about 500 or so. Stories are like friends in that some of them are there all the time and others come and go at different times.

The catch with stories is that once you start, you can't stop. I was once telling a horrific ghost story to a group of teenagers when a mother brought some small children in and plonked them right at the front. I realised I was going to have to concoct a different ending to the one I had planned to use.

We haven't advertised for eight years because none of us is interested in administration. We are always busy but it is true that more people should be aware of storytelling. The Society for Storytelling was set up to promote storytellers and National Storytelling Week is from January 27 to February 3. …

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