Interview with Eli Anderson: Storytelling

Our Youth and Adult Learning Officer, Teresa Donoghue, spoke with Eli Anderson ahead of his ‘Storytelling – This is Me youth course starting March 12-April 16. The cost is £10 per place with FREE places for those who need them. Just click on ‘concessions’. Please book here

Q. How did you get into storytelling?
Eli: I have been working as a musician and performance poet, and writing many stories, but through a profound experience. I realised that Storytelling was something that permitted me to honour my communities, and help people who needed peace and comfort in their lives. e.g. Working in hospitals with children & their parents, Schools and colleges, mental health groups, fashion, etc.


Q. What’s the best thing about storytelling? ( remembering the audience of SLT members who are interested in acting)
Eli: It is the way you can start a great conversation. Listen to what is being said, and truly enjoy the reply. Storytelling is requires you to be authentic. In part, You have to listen  with your “whole-self”; and truly being interested in what the other person is trying to communicate to you. In essence, it is being human.


Q. How can people use storytelling in their everyday lives? 
Eli: Stories, where ever they originate, create a way of experiencing new ways of being. You may never travel to India, but a story (when you close your eyes, and listen) can transport you to a place, a time, a person. Stories help you to see how people around you think about the world. As human beings, Anais Nin said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Stories help us to see beyond ourselves, and hug the world.


Q. Why do you think storytelling is particularly important right now? 
Eli: We are living in a time, when we are encouraged to live ONE story, ONE language, ONE way of being in the world. We are not truly a citizen of the world, until with experience the richness, exciting beliefs, beautiful people, amazing heritage and cultures, that co-exist on this single, small, blue planet. But right now, as humans, we are not listening to the earth, we are devouring and destroying what she has provided for us. The only way we can begin to have a desperate & meaningful conversation with her, is through storytelling. Each story tells us something about ourselves. Sometimes, not so good, other times it is quite beautiful. Stories weave us together, we can tell many stories, but we only have one life.


Q. How have you been spending your time during lockdown?
Eli: Lockdowns were an opportunity to read, cook, watch back-to-back StarTrek, and garden. My fingers are green…not! Cactus run from me! However, I grew an avocado plant…I watched as it grew bigger and bigger…we became good friends!


Q. What’s your best advice for anyone who is interested in storytelling but feeling unsure? 
Eli: “Don’t let the fear of what could happen, Make nothing happen”. Doing something for the first time is scary. You tell yourselves stories of failure, problems, disasters…all of which haven’t happened! You create a future that hasn’t been written. Telling yourself stories of failure, creates futures where you fail. But no-one really knows the future, 24 hours is tough enough! Be kind to yourself; try to imagine a time where you are happy, smiling, laughing, eating that food which is ….sooo satisfying.  Speak to that person who you makes you feel excited and energised. The stories are in the butterflies.

Storytelling – This is Me

Dates: Friday March 12-April 16th

Time: 6-7.30pm

Course Length: 6 sessions

Tutor: Eli Anderson

Age Range: 15-18

About The Course: The course will Introduce storytelling techniques. Enable young people to tell their own stories about their lives and experiences. Create new stories and share them with the groupThe final session will invite a selected audience to witness and demonstrate how storytelling can empower young people. All sessions will have built-in an aftercare period, where the impact of the session can be discussed and resolved in a safe space.