How to become a professional storyteller: Getting your first few opportunities!

Over the past few months I have been writing a series of posts for people who would like to start out or develop their practice as professional storytellers.

I have previously written about some more practical topics like asking for money and getting started.

When you’re starting out as professional storyteller, or getting established… locating the first jobs can seem really difficult so I thought I’d share what I did and hope it will help you too!

Sounds simple but this is it: I hunted for EVERY single opportunity to tell a story. I told everyone that I met that I “was a storyteller” and shared my love of stories with confidence. I have written some more about this here in a blog called “How to find work as a storyteller”.

This led to quite a few people offering me unpaid (or low paid) opportunities at fetes, festivals or schools which I snapped  up! I moved heaven and earth to give my best to every telling opportunity and did my damnedest to get feedback after, whether good or bad it was all essential for my budding career!*

One of the things which helped me hugely during those first couple of years was being part of a story-circle! (“Storytelling in Hope” in London) I met lots of other storytellers, some of whom provided me with outside opportunities to perform in public. I also had the chance to hear other people delivering SHORT tells. This was incredibly helpful as we could learn from each other- and I got to hear amazing and magical tales from every tradition in the world-  stories which I never would have come across any other way! And above all it was a place to speak stories out and practice in front of a knowledgable audience-  utterly invaluable! What a brilliant organisation it was.

Very sadly, Storytelling in Hope doesn’t meet any more, it has closed after more than 20 years. However, this month I am really excited (and a bit nervous) to say, we will start our own story circle! I hope it will provide us all with the chance to come and network, share opportunities, discuss, listen, tell stories to an adult audience- and explore the vast unmeasurable magical breadth of traditional story material. I just can’t wait!

We will meet on first Sundays, more details here…

BUT if you are not near enough to visit, don’t despair, there are other story circles too! Visit the Society for Storytelling  sfs.org.uk and have a look at their “Clubs” section to find something near you!

*it is good not to do too many unpaid jobs if you ultimately want to make a living at storytelling…. but as a novice, you will probably not have the luxury of choice!