Young storytellers make their debut

Members of the Young Storytellers Mentorship Project (from far left) Jurveen Randhawa, Phoebe Lim, Aswani Aswath, Jason Yee, Gauraangi Chopra, Suchithra Raman, Suharti Suhaimi and Farah Nurhazlinda. They were mentored by professional storyteller Kamini Ra
Members of the Young Storytellers Mentorship Project (from far left) Jurveen Randhawa, Phoebe Lim, Aswani Aswath, Jason Yee, Gauraangi Chopra, Suchithra Raman, Suharti Suhaimi and Farah Nurhazlinda. They were mentored by professional storyteller Kamini Ramachandran.PHOTO: THE STORYTELLING CENTRE
Members of the Young Storytellers Mentorship Project Jurveen Randhawa, Phoebe Lim, Aswani Aswath, Jason Yee, Gauraangi Chopra, Suchithra Raman, Suharti Suhaimi and Farah Nurhazlinda. They were mentored by professional storyteller Kamini Ramachandran (abov
Members of the Young Storytellers Mentorship Project Jurveen Randhawa, Phoebe Lim, Aswani Aswath, Jason Yee, Gauraangi Chopra, Suchithra Raman, Suharti Suhaimi and Farah Nurhazlinda. They were mentored by professional storyteller Kamini Ramachandran (above).PHOTO: THE STORYTELLING CENTRE

Next month's StoryFest at The Arts House is bringing in some big international names, but it will also be the first time some young storytellers take the stage.

Among them is 20-year-old Lasalle performance student Phoebe Lim, one of eight newcomers performing in the showcase A Tapestry Of Tales.

She will be making her debut by appropriately weaving a tale on weaving: the Greek myth of Arachne the spinner, a girl who challenges the goddess Athena to a tapestry contest.

"Every story comes from a long line of descendants and history," says Lim. "I think they always challenge us to improve ourselves and spur us to think."

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She and her fellow young storytellers, who are between 16 and 26 years old, went through the three- month Young Storytellers Mentorship Project under professional storyteller Kamini Ramachandran.

Ramachandran, 48, who is organising StoryFest, says: "I don't want to find us back in a position where we're constantly reviving the oral tradition in Singapore. We need to make sure there is nurturing and supporting of emerging talent so that, 10 years from now, there is a pool of full-time practising storytellers."

  • HIGHLIGHTS AT STORYFEST

  • A Tapestry Of Tales

    Eight emerging storytellers from the Young Storytellers Mentorship Project take the stage.

    Where: Play Den, The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane

    When: June 2, 8pm

    Admission: $15, $10 for students, seniors and national servicemen. Suitable for those aged 15 years and above.

    The Shahnameh

    British storyteller Xanthe Gresham-Knight takes listeners through the legendary history of Persia with this rendition of Persian poet Ferdowsi's epic poem.

    Where: Play Den, The Arts House

    When: June 3, 8pm

    Admission: $20. Suitable for those aged 16 and above.

    Tales From Down Under

    Australian Jackie Kerin uses kamishibai story cards and other techniques such as paper-folding in this session for children.

    Where: Play Den, The Arts House

    When: June 4, 2pm

    Admission: $10. Suitable for those aged four and above. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

    Journey Through Asia

    In this triple bill, Singaporean Kamini Ramachandran joins Steve Killick from Britain and Kerin from Australia in a celebration of Asian stories, such as tales of the Garuda, a bird-like creature from Hindu and Buddhist legend.

    Where: Play Den, The Arts House

    When: June 4, 8pm

    Admission: $20. Suitable for those aged 15 and above.

    •For tickets and details, go to bit.ly/2qvtpqG

Another of her proteges, actress Suharti Suhaimi, believes storytelling is the common thread connecting her passion for acting and her hopes of becoming an art curator in the future.

The 23-year-old will be pursuing a degree in art history and curating at Manchester Metropolitan University. She reasons that guiding visitors around an exhibition she has curated is a strand of storytelling, just as performing onstage is another.

"I see myself as a tree and my interests as the branches," says Suharti, who will be telling the Persian myth of the lovers Vis and Ramin at the showcase. "I've always known that they are inter-linked, but now I can see the big picture."

•Additional reporting by Akshita Nanda

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2017, with the headline 'Young storytellers make their debut'. Print Edition | Subscribe