Hello! This blog was updated in Feb 2020. The arts scene in London has changed quite a lot since March 2020 and a new update follows. However most of the venues below are stil active and presenting storytelling. Always check out your local library and indie bookshop too.
The holidays are here and London is teeming with opportunities to hear proper oral storytelling. If you want to enjoy the magic of storytelling, start by visiting smaller museums near to you, arts centres, city farms and local festivals- you may well be lucky. Events are quite often free as well.
If you have a younger child, check out 10 magical Places in London to find under fives storytelling in London
If you are after adult storytelling – see this!
(Forest Hill) This museum has championed storytelling for many years and no matter when you check in you will find some kind of storytelling for everyone- tours with Miss Horniman, under fives stories and songs, sessions around special collections, tales for adults…
2. Small Tales Storytelling Club
(Blackheath) Fantastic professional storyteller Debbie Guneratne is the only person in London (as far as I know) to run and facilitate regular ongoing weekly storytelling workshops for children and teens in London. If you would like to teach your child how to tell stories in a workshop environment, I cant think of a better way.
3. Kew Gardens
(West London) A beautiful mixture of events and professional storytellers, often under their “Sunday Stories” banner. Recently I’ve spotted Alys Torrance, Rachel Rose Reid and Nell Phoenix.
(Wimbledon) This little theatre is a champion of traditional storytelling. As well as interactive storytelling-themed events, they run regular a “Sunday Stories” with various well known and fantastic professional tellers from around the world. I loved telling stories there!
(SE1) Many storytelling and story-themed events for children, a huge variety of storytellers and authors -particularly during their regular Imagine festival. I always love being part of it!
(WC2) “Magic Carpet storytelling” for under-fives with a fantastic selection of professional oral storytellers including Olivia Armstrong, Emily Hanna and Astrid Hilne. It’s FREE!
(Kensington) Historic Royal Palaces are obsessed with storytelling and Kensington is truly a magical palace of stories. I’ve worked there many times! Check in regularly to discover fascinating storytelling sessions and costumed interpretation. They also have regular “Tiny Explorers” storytelling sessions for under-fives.
8. London’s local libraries
(Local to you!) Check out your local borough library! There are often storytelling events there throughout the holidays, as part of the Summer reading Challenge and to mark special events such as Black History Month, LGBT History month, Holocaust Memorial Day and more. Many sessions are delivered by professional storytellers but most libraries also use librarians to lead storytelling sessions for under fives on a regular basis. Some boroughs have more than others than others, special medals go to Southwark, Hillingdon, Brent and Redbridge.
(Bankside) The Globe has been developing its storytelling offerings for several years now and has a fantastic array of storytellers and author events, especially during half terms and holidays. I’ve really enjoyed telling there! As well as their in house storytellers I’ve spotted Kevin Graal, Wendy Shearer and Giles Abbott.
10. London Dreamtime
(Across London) Magical, interactive, exciting and colourful stories for children in all kinds of exciting venues. We attract the most wonderful families in the history of ever… not that I’m biased! Come and see us this month, info here.
Also check out: events (and an annual festival) with Griot Chinere, The Museum of London, YOUR LOCAL INDIE BOOKSHOP, The Maritime Museum, Discover Story Centre in Stratford, the V&A, … and many more!!
(Below, half term storytelling on a giant bed at the Southbank Centre)