14-22 April: International Story Telling Festival in Alden-Biesen, Belgian Limburg
April 2, 2008 2 Comments
For storytelling it is hard to imagine a more beautiful environment than a castle where you, inside and outside, during the day and at dusk, can enjoy a romantic story, a creepy story, a thrilling story, a funny story ….
Since twelve years now the Landcommanderij Alden Biesen is the scenery for an international storytelling festival. Story tellers from many countries bring stories for young and old and they all tell in their mother tongue. In the programme we opt for story telling and simple ‘storytelling theatre’, no ‘special effects’ but an appeal to one’s fantasy and imagination.
A festival of languages
The Alden Biesen storytelling festival lasts 9 days. During the week the programme is oriented towards students and adult learners. About 100 schools send 11.000 pupils and students to the festival.
For youngsters the stories are in Dutch but from 16+ on one can choose between Dutch, English, French and German, the 4 languages Flemish schools have in their curriculum. “I speak to more teenagers in one week here in Alden Biesen than in a full year in The States” says Dovie Thomason, a Sioux-indian storyteller from the USA, telling at the 2007 festival. She is very much surprised about the fact that we successfully attract teenagers to a story telling festival. Daniel Morden (GB), Dan Yashinsky (Canada) en Rachid Akbal (France) confirm: “In our country we tell stories for children and for adults, teenagers don’t take part in it. What happens here is unknown to us.”
Students from higher education also attend the festival: groups from the foreign language and teacher training departments.
Recently the festival runs a programme for adult education (evening classes foreign languages). We offer native speakers for the German, French, English, Spanish and Italian classes and a Flemish storyteller for immigrant groups who learn Dutch as a foreign language.
During the weekend the festival has a programme for families and adults with story walks, multilingual story telling evenings, aperitif sessions and a Sunday afternoon festival including street theatre and music.
The 2007 festival with 35 story tellers, 180 hours of story telling, 12.000 people and 19.000 tickets turned the Alden Biesen festival into one of the largest story telling festivals in Europe.
Already booked for 2008: Ben Haggarty (GB), Nick Hennessey (GB), Len Cabral (USA), Rachid Akbal (FR), Italia Gaeta (BE, fr. It.), Katy Cawkwell (GB), Wouter Wuyts (BE) and many more to come.