Stories brought to Life with Anna Jarrett Professional Storyteller, South Coast NSW Australia


Bringing Site Specific Stories To Life

By Anna Jarrett

Published in Interpreting Australia Newsletter

Summer 2005/06 Issue 31/32

Newsletter is available on Interpretation Association Australia’s website



Bringing Site Specific Stories To Life
© Anna Jarrett

Stories are everywhere. Sometimes you have to look a little harder, listen more attentively and ferret around for the really interesting stories which lie just beneath the surface of everyday experience. The art of interpretation is about going deeper into these stories and bringing them to life for everyone to enjoy. As interpreters, we need to ask ourselves what is our connection to the place we’re working in, what stories do we know, how do we take care of these stories and how do we deepen our connection with both the stories and the place.

An old story about story comes to mind, The Story Stone. It begins: “Hey, want to hear a story?”. A young boy ventures into the African forest and becomes lost. Its sunset. Alone, he hears a voice call, “Hey wanna hear a story?”, and discovers that it’s the rock he’s sitting on, talking to him. The rock goes on to tell him how stories came to be, how there are many kinds of people living many different ways all around the world, and how stories travel through the hearts and dreams of people. The boy listens to the stone’s stories and shares them with his family who share them with the villagers who share them with other villagers at the markets. Each time the stories are told, they are brought to life.

This story is about relationship and connection. It’s about how stories connect us all to each other, and help us to understand our relationships with other people and places. When we are connected to our place, our country, then we are able to see and to hear the stories about this place in context. The stories have a place to rest until the storyteller, the interpreter, brings them to life again.

Once you have found your stories and your connection with them, your challenge is to find the best way to bring these stories to life. Films, audio installations, tours, holiday programs, theatrical events, exhibitions, festivals, publications…oh such possibilities! Each of these programs comes with its own challenges as you find your way through a billabong of stories and weave fragments of research, ideas and local wisdom into a bigger, more whole story.

What then is your starting point? Have a look at what you already know, what you need to know, what resources you have, what resources you need. Consider working with a story consultant, a commissioned storyteller, a writer, a creative team. Fine tune your storytelling skills. Trust that the hard work of doing something new and different, will create a project which reaches new and bigger audiences. Train your staff to understand the stories about your place so that these stories can be woven through all your programs.

In the next issue, I will explore the storytelling process  of getting to the heart of the story, travelling through the emotions, the issues, the unresolved questions of your story, embracing the complexity of multiple narratives and shared histories and arriving at the “aha!” moment of understanding and being able to stand in your story.

Anna Jarrett is a professional storyteller and story consultant based on the south coast of NSW.




Last updated, Monday February 08, 2016


All content © 2004/2016 Anna Jarrett t/a the Travelling Storyteller.