In association with the International School of Storytelling, we are thrilled to present internationally acclaimed storyteller, Shonaleigh Cumbers, telling The Opal Forest.
Shonaleigh is a storyteller who learned her craft from her bubbe (grandmother) from the age of 4 and she sees that tradition as very much alive.
“You hear people talking about the storytelling revival, but in Jewish culture it never died” she explains.
Her bubbe was a storyteller in the drut’syla tradition, who held a body of 12 interlinked cycles of stories each with hundreds of tales, a tradition that all but died out during the Second World War. But Edith Marks, Shonaleigh’s bubbe, survived to pass on the tradition to her granddaughter.
“Once you’ve heard your aged Jewish grandmother – who survived the Holocaust – tell a tale that can make you believe there’s still magic, there’s no going back.”
With a repertoire of over three thousand stories which can be adapted as appropriate for the theme and audience with whom she is working, Shonaleigh is a dedicated and committed storyteller who has actively worked to expand and share her tradition. She’s performed in venues from church halls to London’s Albert Hall, from forests to the Barbican, and at festivals around the U.K. (Hay-on-Wye, Whitby Folk Week, and Festival at the Edge, among many others) and throughout Europe. She also does a great deal of work in schools and among community groups, helping people – teenagers and the immigrant community – find their voices.
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