‘Once upon a time…’ may be words that you heard, or said, quite often during your childhood but perhaps don’t use so much anymore.  These words (although there are others) are quintessential of storytelling, and they definitely shouldn’t be restricted to your younger years!

National Storytelling Week

This week is ‘National Storytelling Week’ (26th Jan – 2nd Feb), which is organised by the Society for Storytelling.  Now in its 19th year, the purpose is to “increase public awareness of the art, practice and value of oral storytelling”.  Throughout the week, there are lots of events taking place to get people of all ages (from school to care-homes) to join in with storytelling.

Storytelling is so much more than simply telling a story, it is an art, where the teller uses words and actions that encourage the listeners to really imagine what is happening.  As well as being fun, it has even been shown to be good for your mental health1, and is used with patients in mental health settings.

Give it a Go!

So why not give it a go yourself!  And if you’re not feeling bold enough just yet, find someone and listen to their story – that is just as fun.

The Society for Storytelling

The Society for Storytelling have lots of practical tips for beginners, and these are some of our favourite ones:

  • Learn your story not by heart, but with your heart – tell it with your own words
  • Relax and let the story tell itself through you
  • Vary the rhythm and tone of your voice
Further Information

Why not check out the Society for Storytelling to find an event near you!


  1. Nurser et al. (2018) Personal storytelling in the mental health recovery Mental Health Review Journal 23(1): 25-36