The fifth edition of The Bengaluru Storytelling Festival includes stories from around the globe and taboo tales for adults
Did you know there is an Indian version of Cinderella, the fairy tale? Or do you know the story behind all the 10 avatars of Vishnu? If these questions have piqued your interest, then you should head to The BeSt Festival.
This weekend, the Bengaluru Storytelling Society (BSS) hosts the fifth edition of the annual event, which was originally titled Under the Aaladamaraa Festival, when it was launched in 2014.
“The idea was to celebrate the tradition of oral storytelling that brings together people of different languages, cultures and ethnicities! The reason to host it is to preserve, nurture and promote this tradition,” says Aparna Athreya, one of the founder-members of BSS. Every year, the festival follows a theme and this edition’s theme is ‘Around the World.’ Five storytellers from countries such as Italy, Singapore, USA, Australia and South Korea will participate in the event, along with storytellers from Bengaluru and other Indian cities.
“We invite narrators and artistes from around the world to conduct workshops and present performances to ensure there is an exchange of stories from their culture. Stories transcend generation. It is the universal link that connects cultures and helps us understand the universal truth,” explains Lavanya Prasad, storyteller and core team member, BSS.
Folktales of India and fairytales are included in the line-up. Dashavatara is one of the highlights of the festival. Ten storytellers from Bengaluru will perform stories about the different avatars of Vishnu but with a contemporary twist.
For adults, a special section titled Taboo Tales has been curated, which promises to be humorous and not offensive. It will feature tales on subjects such as sex, caste, gender and the human body. Among other activities at the two-day fest, there’s a Story Treasure Hunt — a story-based treasure hunt at Cubbon Park. Giovanna Conforto from Italy will host the Bones to Storyboard workshop and Sheila Wee hosts the What Comes After? workshop — for anyone who wants to learn the nuances of storytelling.
The festival promises to be a treat for both adults and children with its interesting line-up. For BSS members though, it’s a way to preserve different narratives from across the world. “Originally, the world over, there were travelling bards. These storytellers would gather tales from the lands they visited and therefore, listeners would be treated to various versions of a single story. Slowly, the single narrative started creeping in. But now, we see a trend in the revival of the tradition of listening to stories. Today’s storytellers have learnt to adapt to the times. Different sources and perspectives of stories are being researched and performed,” offers Aparna Jaishankar, another core team member from BSS. The events will be held at Cubbon Park, Rangasthala and Mother Tekla Auditorium.
Rs 250 upwards. November 23-24. At various venues