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Searching for an Oral Storyteller who tells stories from history

Updated on October 10, 2012

The writer addressing a dinner audience on 13th April 2012

Just one of the hundreds of photos plus a DVD which captured this fascinating evening of entertainment
Just one of the hundreds of photos plus a DVD which captured this fascinating evening of entertainment

I'm a raconteur, but is the raconteur a thing of the past?

Are there any other oral storytellers out there who do the sort of thing I do, I wonder? I’ve searched The Web far and wide and not found any so far. What I have found are two groups of oral storytellers: those who use story as some sort of sales pitch; their story leads to a message for people to do something – usually buy and, secondly, those who tell stories of to children. The entertaining teller who tells his or her stories to simply entertain adults seems to be a rarity. So the question once more is, are there any out there who do something similar to what I do?

My specialization is to entertain with story - any others out there?

My specialization is to entertain an audience for anything from twenty minutes to over an hour. I'm a guest speaker. A typical presentation might contain one long story of, say, forty, forty-five or fifty minutes, or a series of shorter yarns which fit into fifty-minutes. Many of my tales are from modern history, real events spiced up with a bit of drama and humor. For example my presentation The Sixty Milers, is really a eulogy to the hundreds of sailors who perished off the New South Wales Coast here in Australia. The men who manned the colliers.

Stories from modern history are in demand

On the Centenary of the Titanic’s sinking I presented my Titanic – a Night to Remember, to an audience of 153 people at a dinner function. Once again, a story from history which many people know about and yet still wanted to come along and hear. Such is the draw of the oral story well told.

Can you tell a story without trying to sell a product, service or idea?

When I was a member of the Australian Storytellers Guild around a decade ago, there was not one person in the Guild to my knowledge –and I’d met and heard at lot speak – who told dramatic and entertaining stories from history. When I was a member of the National Speakers Association of Australia the same applied – no historical stories. I recall being ‘showcased’ (tested by NSAA peers) to be asked, “What’s the point of it? What is the message you’re trying to sell?” I couldn’t answer at that time, but it became clear later. I didn’t want to sell anything. I simply desired to entertain the audience.

Can you tell it just for its entertainment value? Be a raconteur?

In Rostrum Clubs of New South Wales, in Toastmasters International – the latter of which I’m still an active member – it seems that there are none who do what I do, or even come close to it. But surely, among all the hundreds of thousands of speakers in Australia there must be those who enjoy telling a historical story to a live, adult audience, just for its entertainment value.

So this is a plea for contact with similar kind; a ‘belongingness” call. Are you an oral storyteller who tells stories simply to entertain adults? Do you tell those yarns from history – even though they might be exaggerated a bit – simply to have that audience hanging off your every word? If you do, I like to hear from you.


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