Cruinniu Na nÓg is a national day of free creativity for children throughout Ireland. Betty Ann Norton Theatre School were delighted to partner with Creative South Dublin to present three storytelling workshops in Rathfarnham Castle Park.
Read on to find out which stories we presented. Or, jump to the end to hear about our top three tips when presenting stories!
Irish Myths and Legends Storytelling Workshops
Ages 3-5: This age group listened to the story of King Dagda and his magic harp! Movement and voice were used to bring to life the Tuatha Dé Danann and their enemies, the Formorians. We finished the workshop by making up our own original story about an elephant and some missing swimming trunks!
Ages 6-8: This group workshopped the story of legendary leader of the Fianna, Fionn MacCumhail and his fight with the Scottish Red Giant – Benandonner! *Spoiler Alert* It was Fionn’s wife Oonagh who outsmarted the giant in the end. You’ll have to join us for our next workshop to find out how she did it though! We also created sound scapes. First with our bodies and voices. Next, we used egg shakers, rain sticks and by far our favourite instrument of the day – THUNDER TUBES!
Ages 9-12: Our eldest group of the day took on The Táin! An epic both in length and content, we followed the story of Setanta as he became CúChulainn and grew into the greatest warrior Ireland has ever seen. Then we heard how he took on the entire army of Queen Maebh’s Connacht all over a bull! We even partook in some sword fighting battles of our own.
Betty Ann Norton Theatre School look forward to presenting more free workshops and community events. If you know of any creative events coming up that would benefit from some free storytelling or drama workshops, please let us know. Keep an eye on our socials to find out when our next events will be!
In the meantime, you can hone your storytelling skills by following these three tips!
Top Three Tips for Telling Stories
1) TALK SLOWLY: You will have practiced telling your story lots of times and so, you will be an expert on it. Remember, your audience may have never heard this story before (especially if its an original creation by you!) so speak slowly to allow your audience time to digest what you are saying
2) MODULATE: Modulation means changing the sound of your voice. It would be terribly boring to listen to somebody speak in the same tone, at the same pitch, at the same pace for a whole story. Imagine a stereotypical old maths teacher; would you want to listen to them tell an exciting tale?
Your voice is like an instrument. See how many different sounds you can make from it! When there is a scary or exciting part to the story your pitch could go up and you could speak slightly faster! Or, perhaps if there is a sad part of the story, you could slow your pace right down. You might prefer to lower the pitch of your voice and flatten your tone. Experiment and see what sounds right with each part of the story. The sound of your voice should help the audience understand the meaning of the words.
3) HAVE FUN: The most important tip of them all. Your audience will feed off your energy; if you are having fun on stage, they will too! Pick a story that you really like to start off with. If you’re passionate about what you are performing, you will find it really easy to translate the story to your audience and once you have told your first story, you’ll want to tell more!
Creative and Financial Support
The storytelling workshops were funded by Creative South Dublin. The research used to create the workshops was supported by Grace Halton’s Agility Award from The Arts Council of Ireland/An Comhairle Ealaíon. We would like to thank both parties for their continued support of professional artists in Ireland.