May 4th, 2020Storytelling online throughout COVID-19
THERE are many ways to tell a story – and Anne E Stewart knows all of them.
She has had to, because the COVID-19 pandemic has posed some interesting questions about how to continue a storytelling event, the Cicada Slam, when people can’t be in the same room together.
“We were having it at the Daylesford Hotel – they would load the fire for us, and it gave the whole thing a lovely feel – we love them, they’ve been our great sponsors,” Anne E explained.
“People kept asking me
to do it, there was a lot
of popular demand to
bring it online, they wanted
“People having a drink and yarning on has been a big part of the Cicada Slam and that’s something we will miss, and it’s something that we’ll recreate online now.”
Recreating the wine part is easy. Anne E has her storytelling chair, live from her Storytelling House and Garden, set up with a cheeky red beside it ready to go.
The question was how to continue the storytelling part. Anne E has worked with so many different media during her decades-long career as a storyteller, on national radio and in schools and as an MC and at events around the world, that the switch to online seemed easy.
It was certainly in demand.
“People kept asking me to do it, there was a lot of popular demand to bring it online, they wanted the connection.”
Anne E and her team, including Anthony and Zane and Mya, set the Cicada up to go online at www.cicada.com. Making things happen, especially locally, is part of what makes Anne E an inspiring woman. And the online format is having a surprising benefit for the storytellers.
“When you work with a live audience, you get to respond to them so it makes it a little bit trickier but in other ways you might be a bit braver, because you’re a bit more anonymous.
“The hardest bit about it is setting up a bit of etiquette about storytelling – maybe we can interact, maybe we can see each other’s faces or maybe we can’t.”
And the first theme? Hindsight 2020.
“It’s such a perfect one to start the series with. We’re trying to get our themes back in synch with what’s on our website, but as with most things at this time, it’s a bit of a work in progress.”
The next Cicada Slam is via Zoom on Thursday, May 21 at 7pm with the theme My Brilliant Career. Enrol with firstname.lastname@example.org for an invite.
Words: Kate Taylor | Images: Kyle Barnes
Pictured left, Niki na Meadhra, with Anne E Stewart, right
(This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.)