Wisdom Tales: Wise Tales from Around the World

Part of Beyond Storytelling 101 Course Alumni Shows 2008

Date: 7 – 8 Nov 2008

8.00 p.m.

Location: Classroom 2,
2nd Floor,
The Substation

MoonShadow Stories coordinated this performance primarily by participants from the BS101 intermediate storytelling workshop that was conducted during May–June 2008 by Verena Tay.

Take a break from your usual routine and indulge your senses!

Listen to our wise tales from around the world,

Gain a new perspective on life,

And then rejoin the flow of the world with a fresh heart...

Featured Tellers: Juriah Bte Atan, Karen Lee, Nancy Leppard, Dee Palanisamy, Safiah Bte Rais, Helen Tan, Tan Joo Hymn

Order of Stories

The Boy Who Sold Wisdom (India)

~Retold by  Helen~

A penniless Brahman boy sets up a shop which sells wisdom. But who will buy?

The Two Kings (India)

~Retold by Joo Hymn~

When his loyal serveant's wife dies, King Vikram journeys to another kingdom to find a way that can bring her back to life.

The Emperor's Seed (China)

~Retold by Safiah~

A Chinese emperor is aging and is looking for an heir to his throne. He gives each child in the kingdom a seed and by the end of a month, the child with the most beautiful plant gets the position.

Half a Blanket (Ireland)


How is a young man with so much on his mind supposed to regard his father?


The Blind Man & The Hunter (West Africa)


A hunter brings his blind brother-in-law on a hunt and learns how wise his kin-by-marriage really is.

The Keeper of Wisdom


An old woman offers 12 ancient books of wisdom at a market place in a town. But is what she is selling really worth the price?

The Fisherman & His Wife (China)


A fisherman catches a magical fish which promises him anything he wants. The fishermen is contented but his wife is greedy and she wants more.

Have you been telling stories for some time already and been wondering how you can improve your storytelling skills? If yes, then Beyond Storytelling 101 is for you! Beyond Storytelling 101 aims to enhance participants’ ability to adapt stories for telling and to hone their delivery skills over 12 hours of coaching.

Areas Covered:

  • How to choose and adapt stories for performance
  • Telling for children vs. telling for adults
  • Vocal skills: speech clarity, projection, expressiveness
  • Presentation skills: awareness of body language, use of gestures, working with props/visual aids
  • Rehearsal skills: regarding different methods of preparation
  • Performance skills: physical & vocal warm-ups, how to overcome nerves, coping with gaffes
About the Facilitator

Verena Tay has spent more than 25 years acting, directing and writing for Singaporean English-language theatre. She has three published collections of plays and is now working on her debut novel and first volume of short stories. In addition, Verena is an active storyteller-cum-storytelling coach and a co-founder of MoonShadow Stories. Possessing an MA in Voice Studies (Central School of Speech and Drama, 2005) and an MA in English Literature (National University of Singapore, 1993), she has been helping people to improve their communication skills since 2001 and currently teaches voice, speech and presentation skills at various local institutions. For more information about Verena, please visit www.verenatay.com.

Participant’s Feedback:

Participants’ Feedback on Verena Tay’s Beyond Storytelling 101 Course (2011)

“Your frank assessment of my presentation makes me want to be a better storyteller… I am grateful and thankful for opening your resources and expertise to groom us to be good storytellers. You are a great teacher.”

Surendran Sathiamurthi

“All aspects of the workshop was beneficial but the one that struck me the most was learning to own the story and fleshing out the characters as how you see it.”

Eunice Yeo

“The technical parts of voice-making and voice using. It’s exactly what I expected for… Instructor is very observant & sharp to notice the strength and weakness of the participants.”

Geneieve Tang

“The different expressions/tone and body movements I can create with just a verb. This will definitely prove exciting for children who can imagine & create from movements. I learnt much. Thank you.”

Elsie Ng

“Experience the power of storytelling in this experiential workshop. See your story come to life.”

Lynn Yap

“Was lots of fun, thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Lisa Case

“An enlightening experience!”

Christina Tan

“The workshop was fabulous!! ... It’s been an eye opener in terms of what goes on behind the scenes to say a good story with impact. An absolute blessing to learn from a powerful storyteller like yourself !!  Thanks ever so much!”

Nandini Nagpal

What aspects of this workshop benefitted you most?

“Vocal variety. Using action to create voice. The mouth exercise.”

Lynn Yap

“Theoretical aspects. Vocal practices. Performance appraisals — self & others.”

Lisa Case

“The techniques of voice projection + vocal modulation.”

Christina Tan

“1. The Voice Modulations. 2. How to Control body movement.”

Uma Somasundarum

“Understanding the importance of character placement in the story, the thought that if the character is real for you-then he is real for the audience, the importance of voice and other exercises.”

Nandini Nagpal

“Voice technique. Variation of the voice, using your body movement. Visualising the story, & telling it from a different angle.”

Wendy Lin

“Voice warm up, modulation. Narrative technique.”

Rafiq Khader

Participants’ Feedback on Verena Tay’s Beyond Storytelling 101 Course (2010)

“I have learned the difference between theater and storytelling. More importantly, I learned a lot of new techniques: hot to change from one character to another faster within a story. The workshop structure is well organized. It’s great!”

Joanne Ongkeko

“The vocal training & correct body alignment. Using different body movements to create different voices. Valuable feedback on my storytelling style. Feel that I have met my objective. Thank you very much for the valuable feedback. It really helps.”

Tang Souw Ngo

“Using different methods to project a character. Pointing out the weak points in my storytelling style.”

Sandra Thum

“Good feedback to scenarios. Actually going through the stages instead of the shortcuts. Seeing proper situations from peers – help us reflect.”

Melissa Fernandez

“Voice (diaphragmatic), warm up, voice exercises that helps me to narrate/portray characters ‘realistically’. Beneficial for teachers and people who want to perform/tell stories. Verena is knowledgeable and talented.”

 Lin Mustapha

“Helped me to gain confidence in a way that now I can look at the audience in stead of staring at the empty air.”

Seura Park

Participants’ Feedback on Verena Tay’s Beyond Storytelling 101 Course (2009)

“Allowed to develop my own style. Patience by Verena to guide me.”

Ignatius Ng

“Some of the vocal exercises were helpful for making us aware of the need for vocal range.”

Ng Seng Chuan

“Great as it was.”

David Bok

“The vocal exercises for better clarity. Feedback given by Verena on my ‘voice dropping’ & rhythm. The personal hours for extra coaching were good. I enjoyed the course, very useful. My confidence level has improved.”

Kordial Kor

“Voice-projection. How to tell a story in a ‘performing’ style. Crafting a personal tale into a ‘tellable’ story. Very specific and constructive comments which helped improved my storytelling.”

Lim Peng Peng