Middle East

Celebrate live storytelling at ‘Tales on the Island’ this weekend

Al Noor Island, one of Sharjah’s premier tourist and leisure destinations, is hosting the last leg of a month-long celebration of live oral tradition as part of the third edition of its International Storytelling Festival – Tales on the Island.

To conclude on March 16, 2019, this one-of-a-kind cultural festival for children and adults themed ‘Stories: A Treasure of Words’, has featured a stellar cast of 15 storytellers and theatrical performers representing 10 nationalities.

On its concluding weekend (March 15–16), seven critically-acclaimed storytellers, Sara Kasir from Lebanon, Michael Harvey from the UK, Katie Knutson from the USA, Martina Pisciali from Italy, Germana De Ruvo, Lamya Tawfik from Dubai, and Paola Balbi, will bring a feast of folklore to festival visitors.

The classic ‘Kan Yama Kan – Once Upon a Time’, ‘Good Luck or Bad Luck?’, and ‘Shiver Down the Spine’ will be featured in English and Arabic on Friday, March 15, to present significant themes of life and raise interesting questions about old beliefs, myths and superstition by way of entertaining storytelling.

A 30-minute drumming and music session will also be held in tandem with perfectly timed rhythmic beats and clapping. Participants will be encouraged to bring their own instruments.

The finale on March 16, Saturday, will see a celebration World Storytelling Day 2019 on the theme ‘Myths, Epics and Legends’, bringing together all participating storytellers to perform a breath-taking session of stories in both English and Arabic languages.

They will perform ‘Long Story Short’ – a concentrated version of stories from different epics of the world adapted for people of all age groups. Another session themed ‘Is the Story Ture?’ will delve into the world of ghosts and urban legends.

The grand finale performance will be the highlight of this four-weekend marathon, and will see amazing storytellers perform a session of stories that will truly captivate. Laughter, tears, emotions from the most ancient “texts” of oral literature. The performance will be blended with music, poetry and dance.

“The popularity of this unique festival has certainly grown every year, and it is wonderful to see so many families trickling in to enjoy the simple pleasure of listening to stories with their friends and children. Our guests have been left completely enthralled by all the riveting performances our master storytellers have put up in the past three weeks of the festival, and they have come back seeking more on this enchanting island,” said Mahmoud Rashid Al Suwaidi, General Manager of Al Noor Island.

“As the third edition prepares for its final weekend performances, I encourage more cultural enthusiasts and young lovers of literature and theatre to come and share this big celebration of this live oral tradition. The atmosphere is vibrant and the Al Noor Island will be transforming into an oasis of magic, myth and wonder once again this weekend with not just storytelling, but a line-up of exciting cultural activities, music sessions and much more,” he added emphasising on the offerings of this unmissable opportunity for cultural indulgence.

Visitors to the island are immersing in a sensory experience of performance-based storytelling through the festival’s selection of 25 stories, narrated by 15 artists from 10 countries. Exciting live music sessions and theatrical performances by a host of renowned artists, musicians and storytellers are added as cultural accompaniments to this wholesome literary treat. An array of workshops has introduced people of all age groups to the ancient ‘Hakawati’ folklore technique, and to other gems of Arabic cultural heritage.