Tell-a-Bration: The 1st Storytelling Fest in RP Set

Manila Bulletin, April 20, 2004 | Go to article overview

Tell-a-Bration: The 1st Storytelling Fest in RP Set


Amanda: Im Snow White, kiss me!

Nicolas: "Im sleepy."

Amanda: "But youre the handsome prince!"

Nicolas: "But, Im sleepy"

Amanda was supposed to be, at that moment, the happiest child in the world. Shes dressed in a beautiful white gown, which she took out of the costumes rack in the pretend play area, with a shimmering silvery tiara carefully placed on top of her head. Even the looking glass on the wall marveled at her beauty, saying over and over again that "It is you, Snow White whos the fairest of them all", in a ricocheting deep voice that was also her own.

But Prince Nicolas was not interested. Hed rather sleep. He never walked out of his dreams till snack time.

Amanda, on the other hand, continued on with her adventure, feigning her shame with a dignified smile, proudly marching into the woods, meeting the huntsman and the seven dwarfs in a story theatre that was so real to her it never felt like fantasy. Her story included the tastiest bits of life, from images of the terrible witch to the molecular specks of dust she swept, while hunkered down on the dirty floor with a pail full of water beside her, singing "Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho".

It was a typical day in the classroom. Amanda and Nicolas were playing out scenes from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with the latter fracturing parts of the tale to suit his needs. Amanda and Nicolas, at the young age of four were becoming story writers.

According to Cherry Pua-Africa, founding head of Tell-a-bration, the first Philippine festival in the country, a day without stories in the classroom is not a complete day for the children. "Arts, gym, math, language and science may help young children gain important skills to prepare them for the bigger challenges in the big schools. But children need stories to find meanings in their livesto be able to anchor their fantasy and purpose," Cherry continues.

It is with the mission to revive the art of storytelling in the classroom and in ones own homes that inspired Cherry Pua Africa and Geraldine Lim of Never Ending Story and Kinder Minds Learning Center to launch the first ever storytelling festival for parents, teachers, librarians, school administrators, students and caretakers. The festival began with a storytelling journey with the students of Kinder Minds on April 18 at the St. Paul Auditorium. For the past few months, the students of Kinder Minds Learning Center went through a rigorous but fun-filled experience playing out various stories like fairy tales, grandmother tales, myths, legends, etc. with the end in mind of putting up a storytelling performance.

The highlight of the storytelling festival is the "Storytelling for Education" workshop slated on April 30 and May 2 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Museo Pambata. This promises to be a fun-filled and interactive exchange with a strong lineup of storytellers like Margaret Read Macdonald (Ph.D Folklore University of Washington, USA) who is also the recipient of various parents choice awards and an award winning storyteller, having told stories in many parts of the world; John Cunningham (former creative director of a speech and drama arm of Singapore Repertory Theater); Cherry Pua-Africa (presenter in the recent National Storytelling Conference in Chicago); Manolo Silayan (president of Alitaptap Storytellers Circle); Nina Yuson (president of Museo Pambata) and Nita Norman (storyteller from the USA). …

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