The Story Café was started in response to the 2020 Coronavirus lockdowns and its main purpose is to give storytellers a space to gather, forge stronger connections across international and physical boundaries, share ideas and experiences, and of course, share stories.
Its secondary purpose is to create a space where storytellers can offer storytelling events in one of our three virtual spaces, and to support the storytelling community with the art of planning, designing, and producing online events. We’re not sure how this will develop, but when we shared our ideas with friends, this secondary purpose emerged, so we’re putting it out there and seeing what happens!
The Story Café is the brainchild of Suzanne Whitby, a facilitator, multiplier, and performance storyteller who hails from South Africa and currently tells stories in and from her base in beautiful Innsbruck, Austria. You can learn more about her storytelling at her storyteller alter-ego, Ziyadliwa, or over at her personal website.
The Coronavirus pandemic has affected people across the globe in many different ways. There is no denying that for millions of people, the effects of the virus on their lives have been terrible. For some people, however, the enforced lockdowns and the move to interacting online have provided unparalleled opportunities to reach out, gather, and connect.
Good news, bad news, who can say?
The storytellers amongst you will be familiar with the Chinese or Zen folktale of the farmer who has a series of changes of fortune: he acquires a new horse. The horse runs away. The horse returns after a few weeks accompanied by a mate. The son tries to ride the new horse, and breaks his leg. The country sinks into war, and when soldiers come to recruit the young men of the village to fight in the war, the son is the only young man not taken. At each twist and turn of the story, the farmer is set upon by his neighbours, who judge each event as good or bad. And each time, the farmer responds, “Good news, bad news, who can say.”
We hope that The Story Café will prove to be good news.
– Brian Froud