Wednesday 3 September 2014

Singapore International Storytelling Festival

This year’s Singapore International Storytelling Festival (SISF 2014) opens on Friday, with the theme Translations: Storytelling from the Word to the Voice. The Festival is organised by The Singapore Book Development Council (SPDC) and celebrates oral traditions and  folk tales in an age of reduced attention spans and declining appreciation for books.

Kamini Ramachandran, veteran storyteller and SISF 2014’s artistic director, said: "Through the art of storytelling, audiences experience  a revival of folklore, myths and legends that they might only have read or heard about in passing. The storyteller plays a critical role in re-imagining a well-loved or popular tale for the modern audience through the nuances of dramatic expression."

In line with this ambition of re-imagining well-loved tales, the Festival will open with the Asia premiere of Angerona, The Secret Name of Rome (Angerona). Performed by international storytellers Paola Balbi from Italy and Michael Harvey from the United Kingdom, Angerona is a retelling of the legend of Lucretia - no knowledge of the original is required to enjoy it.

Angerona tells how in a niche in the Temple of Pleasure, the Romans kept the statue of one of their most mysterious and ancient deities – the eponymous Angerona, goddess of sadness and silence. These qualities have always marked the lives of abused women; in Classical Antiquity Lucretia was the woman who broke that silence. Her story has been retold many times, including by Shakespeare in his narrative poem The Rape of Lucrece. Balbi and Harvey’s adaptation mixes contemporary words with Shakespeare’s text and promises to be a theatrical feast supported by an original soundtrack composed and performed by Davide  Bardi.

In the best tradition of modern storytelling Angerona crosses boundaries between cultures and art forms. Claire Chiang, SBDC’s chair said: “The legend of Lucretia is a strident tale. It speaks of passion, sanctity and a woman’s honour. Over the centuries, it has fascinated generations of readers and listeners. It is indeed a treat and a privilege for our audiences to be able to experience the nuances of this tale through watching and listening to Angerona.”

Since its inauguration in 2006, SISF has attracted more than 50,000 participants. Last year it was attended by close to 2,000 storytelling fans and practitioners – this year is sure to be even bigger and better!      

For the full SISF 2014 programme and tickets click here.