World Water Day & World Storytelling Day, Singapore

World Water Day and World Storytelling Day come together in Singapore on Sunday, 20 March 2011, in an aptly titled and unique celebration – “Water Wor(l)ds” – devised and organised by Roger Jenkins, himself a storyteller, director, teacher and author.

Stories with a water theme will be told and acted out at two venues during the day – Sengkang Wetlands stage and Lower Seletar Reservoir – while in the evening a gala performance will be held at the NTUC Auditorium, 1 Marina Boulevard, which also provides a panoramic view of the Marina Bay Reservoir.

Traditional tales from around the world – from the mountains of Ecuador to the mouth of the Ganges – will be told by professional storytellers Roger Jenkins, Chuah Ai Lin and Dolly Chew, with Gillian Tan sharing some stories in song.

“I know from my work as a storyteller how stories can touch and inspire people. Everyone loves to hear a good story, and because audiences don’t feel they’re being lectured at, they’re much more receptive,” says Roger Jenkins.

He believes stories are important, not because they tell us that dragons exist but, as GK Chesterton wrote, “because they tell us that dragons can be beaten”.

“On this happy conjunction of World Water Day and World Storytelling Day, I wanted to celebrate two of the most important things to sustaining life – water and stories”.

Roger says in sharing stories for the benefit of a water conservation project run by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC), “I am inspired by Mother Theresa, who said: ‘The work that we do is but a drop in the ocean - but without that drop, the ocean would be the less.’” Roger is a Singaporean – born in Singapore to his British parents - who has told stories professionally since 1998. He is a popular performer/storytelling trainer in schools, libraries and at community events thanks to his spontaneous, comedic, and often participatory, style of telling.

He has performed at Festivals and international schools in Beijing, Shanghai, Saigon, Jakarta, Manila, Perth, Hong Kong, Bahrain and on the fringe of the Edinburgh Festival, and from 2003 – 2009 was an annual performer in the Singapore International Storytelling Festival.

“My storytelling draws on my love of Asia (I’ve lived here 30 years) my theatre background, improvisation (I’m part of The Madhatters, Singapore’s only professional improv comedy company) and poetry (I won the 1995 Singapore Literature Prize for a collection called From The Belly of the Carp).”

For the evening performance at NTUC Auditorium, commencing at 8pm, it is necessary to book in advance for a seat, but entry is by donation. Funds collected by the SEC will go towards its water conservation work.

Said SEC Executive Director, Howard Shaw, “The Council is happy to support World Storytelling Day and World Water Day. For all of us, storytelling has always been something that has encouraged value creation of a wide variety of issues. Water is a key resource in our environment and vital for our very survival. We hope that more activities like World Storytelling Day will inspire both young and old to conserve this valuable resource.”

Roger Jenkins says he has three main objectives in organising the World Water Day’s event:

  • To enable a wide range of people of all ages to tell and listen to stories;
  • To raise awareness of the importance of water;
  • To raise funds for a water conservation project.
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