Small Tales Club with images of children

Small Tales Storytelling Clubs

The Greatest Story of our Lives!

Small Tales Storytelling Clubs were formed to train the storytellers of the future and to encourage public speaking through the art of storytelling.

Discover the worth of your own voice, whilst developing confidence, memory and presentation skills.

Extend your vocabulary and perfect your use of language through improvisation, role play and telling stories.

Improve your concentration and listening skills.  Learn how to deal with mistakes.

Enhance your creativity, master new specialist techniques and have fun learning the art of storytelling.

The club is divided into the following age ranges: 7 – 11, 12 - 16 and over 16s. Children who join will participate in a weekly session of 1 or 1.5 hours.

Debbie with Film Crew

The course is structured on a yearly syllabus and successful apprentices become group members of the Society for Storytelling and achieve a certificate at the end of each year. 

As part of the course, the children will work with other professional storytellers, musicians, dancers and actors. They will also be given the opportunity to enter public speaking competitions and to perform at: assemblies, story fairs, concerts, festivals and storytelling afternoons/evenings. These will be on site and in other venues.

TO THE MAGIC WELL AND BACK – The story behind the formation of Small Tales

 “Debbie, I’ve booked you on to a storytelling course and as English co-ordinator, I’m sure you’d love to go!” declared Irene, Head of my school.

So off I went.  As I walked through the door, I heard Mary Medlicott telling The Storyteller.  As the words travelled through my mind and settled in all the nooks and crannies, it made perfect sense - that stories are passed on through many mouths.  The saying crystal clear certainly applies here!

During the second week, I was giving Beulah Candappa a lift home and she asked what I thought of the course.  I told her that Mary’s story had made everything fall into place.  She asked me to tell her the story and so I did.  I had spent a whole week with the story simmering in my mind, now here, suddenly, was the person who took the lid off.  I was so lost in the joy of sharing the story that the journey in rush hour traffic seemed to fly by.  When I had finished, I found Beulah’s silence filling the car.  Then she turned and quietly told me that I was a natural storyteller. But of course I did not believe her!

When we arrived at her house, she invited me to stay to dinner and we spoke of many things, especially of the roads we travel and the choices we make.  I told her how my journey had taken me from the island of Sri Lanka to England, through steps along the sand with my father telling me about a giant’s bath tub, through training to be a geologist, to teacher, to traveller, to storyteller, to….…….?  One message stood out from that special time and that was to follow your dreams – something that my father too, had always told me.

As part of the course we had to devise a way of integrating storytelling into the school.  I decided to start a children’s storytelling club, where children could learn the art of storytelling. Between then and now, I have travelled the world and know that, despite the many different roads I have taken, I was born to be a storyteller.

More importantly, I have found that there are dreams I wish to follow and one of them is to train children as storytellers, because I believe they are the storytellers of tomorrow.  Stories should pass on through mouths and I began to wonder who would carry on after we are gone, that is when Small Tales became a reality.

The club has been running for 15 years in its present form and has continued to expand from one to five branches in different parts of London and Kent and trained over 500 young storytellers.

My journey has taken me around the world, to many lands and the meeting of many people.  They have enriched my life by passing on their stories to me.  I will remember them by these and so, the way I wish to be remembered is through the mouths of the children I have trained.

Small Tales Storytelling Club was formed to train the storytellers of the future.  The children join at the age of 7 and are apprenticed in the art of storytelling.  During their apprenticeship, they take part in performances for children and adults, initially on home ground, but later at a variety of venues.

In keeping with tradition, the children listen to, work on and retell traditional tales.  They also create their own stories both individually and in co-operation with others.  They have the opportunity of working with other storytellers, musicians, artists, dancers and actors.  They use all the knowledge gained and this is incorporated into their repertoires.

Some of the members stay and complete the seven year apprenticeship.   Members who have done so have gone on to RADA and become performers in their own right; others have gone on to university and to use their skills in scientific and artistic fields.

And so the tale goes on…………

Signature Of Debbie

What the young storytellers say

Storytelling is something I do on a Saturday morning that makes me think about things that I normally never even think twice about. Since joining storytelling club, I have become more confident and outspoken, I feel like my ideas are appreciated by other people and that my communication skills have improved a lot. The reason I have carried on participating in storytelling club is because it means that all my stories are listened to and I have met many other great friends here too.

Janice 15 years

I like storytelling so much because everyone there welcomes you with sense of happiness and fun. Debbie tells so many different stories and we play so many different warm-up games. My favourite story is the Three Sillies, which, as you can imagine is a very funny story. We also made it into a play. I always really enjoy it, and even though it’s on a Saturday morning, it is nice to give the weekend a really good start by having so much fun and sharing stories. It is really good for your creativity and gives you so much confidence. Everyone there is really optimistic and we always laugh a lot. I don’t want to leave any time soon.

Isabella 10 years

Four things I like about storytelling club are:
1. I like to meet older children and hear their stories
2. It’s really fun telling my own stories at the club and repeating them at school the following week
3. My friends love it when I tell them my stories. All of them want to come to the club and learn how to tell stories.
4. I found that since I joined the club I have enjoyed reading much more.  Stories are much more alive now!

Amelia 9 years

I enjoy storytelling club because I like hearing, telling and performing stories to family and friends, doing the interesting activities, and meeting new people! We do all sorts of great games and hear wonderful stories every week! I continued going to storytelling club because I get to use my imagination for super stories and tell people how I feel.

Vivienne 13 years

Why become a storyteller

The children were asked why they wanted to be storytellers…… are some of their answers.

quote I want to be a storyteller because I love telling stories. I also feel that a good storyteller can change people's lives. un-quote

Sophie 10 years

quote I like storytelling because I can express who I am and Debbie is funny and lovely. un-quote

Tiggie Balfour 10 years

quote Storytelling has been an inspiration that has developed my confidence ever since I was 9 years old. I found coming to the club very enjoyable as I met loads of amazing people as well as an inspiring teacher, Debbie.

Along my journey I have met musicians, artists and storytellers from all over the world that have helped me in many ways. Apart from the great fun that I have had, I have changed as a person, as the club has boosted my confidence, I am no longer frightened to speak up and share my points of view.

Philip 16 years

quote Storytelling is the one thing in life you can’t take for granted! I have been coming to storytelling club since I was seven, because we have always had fun – more than once I have ended up in tears of laughter! It has helped my confidence so much, as before I hated getting up in front of a class or whoever and speaking, but now I actually enjoy it.

We play lots of warm-up games; it is fantastic for your co-ordination. It’s great hearing all the stories other people in the club make up – you hear the story and think ‘That’s fantastic!’ When you are with your friends, it’s great to think that you can tell a story about scary things, humorous, serious or just completely mad…and they’ll really enjoy it!!

Natalia 11 years

quote I like storytelling club because it is a fun and interesting club. It really stimulates my imagination. It is full of stories I don’t know and they are very good indeed! I love the way Debbie tells the stories. It is the best club of the week for me. I love it because you all get to speak. Debbie is very nice and very pretty- the best teacher I have ever had. I am going to stay in storytelling club so I can grow up to be a very good storyteller.

In storytelling club you play games and I like that because they are fun and you have to focus. Also in storytelling club you learn dances and I like those because they are also really fun like the games. Storytelling club is a very good club to be in and it is on every Friday after school.

Elizabeth 8 years

quote Storytelling can change everything! It is good because you start off shy, but then later on you feel very proud and good at telling stories to other people and friends. I enjoy storytelling because you get a chance to meet new people, enjoy yourself and have lots and lots of fun.

There’s lots of amazing things to do, telling stories, playing games, creating stories and loads more. It is also good because you hear and tell stories from different places.

Samantha 9 years

quote I like storytelling because when I am listening to stories, it’s fun to hear other people’s stories, the adventures and the characters like talking flowers and moving chairs.

I also enjoy getting up in the morning knowing I can tell a story and see my friends. When I am in English class and when I am writing a story, I have all the ideas I can use in my story from all my friends’ ideas and that’s great.

Raymond 13 years

quote I want to be a storyteller because once I told a story and they were transfixed in another world.un-quote

Molly 10 years

quote I want to be a storyteller because it inspires me and let’s my heart fly out of my body and take wings.un-quote

Araminta 10 years

quote I want to be a storyteller because I like getting a tingling sort of feeling when I tell the stories.un-quote

Grace 9 Years