Read on for Ashley’s story of how the School Storytelling came into being!
"In the autumn of 1990 I had already been telling stories for about 10 years in Australia, the States and the UK. On this particular evening I was storytelling in Wales near the little village of Rhandirmwyn. After the performance I needed a walk so I took to the lanes.
The sun had already set and the evening wind was bringing in clouds heavy with rain. Soon I was out in a royal 'dark and stormy night' and getting soaked to the skin. I searched for a place to shelter but there was nothing at hand. It was then that I passed a huge oak tree and noticed a hole at the base of it large enough for me to crawl inside. I crouched down and entered. To my amazement I found that inside it was dry and I could not only stand up but even stretch out my arms so far that they barely reached the sides.
Inside the oak I rode out the storm and wondered what to do next in my life (like you do!) It was here that the thought came," What if there was a place in the world to learn the art of storytelling, where people could come and find their voices and celebrate the stories from their different cultures? Why not start a School of Storytelling?" Immediately I shuddered, for with that thought came the voices of doubt "Who are you to do such a thing? What do you know about storytelling, your only qualification is a divinity 'O' level!' Luckily I didn't listen to those voices for a stronger voice inside me said "Don't try and do this alone. Call on those who know the things you don't, invite them to take part and build something together........
The next day I drove back to Emerson College in East Sussex where I was based, with the idea that had come to me in that oak like an acorn. The following year I started to organize an annual International Storytelling Symposium with my friend and fellow storyteller Nancy Mellon. By 1994 this grew into the opening of the School of Storytelling. After that I was joined by my colleagues Sue Hollingsworth and then Roi Gal-Or and in the spring of 2010 the three of us formed a separate Charity, the International School of Storytelling. By now, in over two decades, more than 500 students from at least 17 countries all over the world have completed the 3 months professional storytelling training and many, many more have come to week long or weekend courses."
What started as three has become many.
Here we are at an ISOS gathering in May 2015