Kensington resident, Diana Cowen, hosts storytelling workshops and entertainment programmes that are suitable for schools, for U3A, for retirement villages and for any group of people wanting to explore the world of stories.
At the two-day workshops, children and adults learn how to craft a story, be it autobiographical, made-up or from the traditional repertoire. The workshops include a variety of introductory activities combined with identifying and crafting subject matter into stories using basic techniques. These are performed to friends and family on the last day. Whether the story is personal or traditional, the process is fun, challenging and rewarding.
The 45-50 minute entertainment programme is a selection of stories combined with an interactive musical element. Audiences can sit back and be held spellbound in the world of imagination.
Cowen’s passion for storytelling originated during her childhood. ‘Our mother chose myths, legends and fairytales, interspersed with family lore, to read and/or tell us every evening. This ritual continued right into our teens with perhaps the last book that we read together as a family being The Lord of the Rings. She would also tell us stories of the strange happenings in the lives of our friends and family and these were perhaps the most intriguing of all. These have been passed down to the next generation, and to the generations of the children I’ve taught over the years,’ said Cowen.
Further fuelling this passion, in the 1980s, Cowen found herself team teaching in the East End of London among the Bangladeshi immigrant community. ‘We would sometimes hand over our class to one of the mothers, a teaching assistant. All 60 children would crowd together on a small carpet while she held them in thrall, telling stories in the quietest voice, which would be broken by occasional gales of laughter or gasps of surprise. Though I couldn’t understand a word, I was witnessing the power of storytelling at its best. Then, many years later, the opportunity came up to study at the School of Storytelling in the UK, which changed the course of my life,’ said Cowen.
Cowen said that stories are important as they bypass logic and light a fire in the hearth of the soul. ‘We perceive them with the ears and eyes of the heart. They are our shared identity as human beings of any race and culture. They are the language of the collective unconscious. They point to universal truths using humour and imagery. They awaken empathy and grow compassion. They are a moral compass. They mete out much longed for justice where none may be found in the real world. Lastly, they speak to us in whispers which feed our souls and leave traces in our memories for ever.’
For more information and enquiries, contact:
+27 82 926 2938