A WSI Conversation with Inno Sorsy: ‘Using Storytelling to Change our Internal Narratives’

Inno Sorsy is a leading international storyteller, born on the border of Ghana and Togo, who began her career in theatre in the early 1970s with the French Theatre Group Kiss and Le Grand Magic Circus which was invited to take part in the cultural programme of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. She founded the group ‘Roots of Rock’ tracing the influence of African slaves on popular music and was a member of Common Lore Storytellers, a seminal group at the beginning of the storytelling revival now sweeping the world.

In recent years she has been invited to represent the oral tradition linking past and future, participating in the 1st International Festival of Storytelling in Brazil. She was a member of the expedition ‘Ara Watasara,’ an ongoing project of the University of Amazonas, collecting living memories and the oral tradition of the inhabitants along the banks of the Solimoes River in the Amazonian heartlands. She has worked extensively in Europe, as performer, teacher and storytelling consultant for Jugendbewährungshilfe, (ProbationOfficers for young offenders) in Berlin, ‘Halka’ group of storytellers in Madrid, ‘Verein zur Förderung und Pflege des mündlichenGeschichtenerzählens’ (association for the promotion of oral storytelling) in Vienna and Haus der Culturen der Welt (House of World Culture) in Berlin.

She has collaborated in writing the English translation of ‘Tales of Nasruddin’, Holland (Stichting) and has contributed the story of ‘Two Brothers’ to ‘Tales from Africa’, collected by Mary Medlicott-Kingfisher. In Brazil she has published ‘O Homen sem Sorte’ (The Unlucky Man) and has co-authored with Gislayne Avelar Matos ‘O Officio do Contador de Historias’ (The Craft of the Storyteller’), which was named Educational Book of the Year 2006 for children and adults by the Brazilian Foundation for Children’s Literature. She teaches and performs in schools across the UK and, in the capital, has also taught at the Guildhall School of Music, the Guildhall School of Drama, the Lewisham Academy of Music and the ‘L’Ouverture Theatre Trust’ in Brixton. In addition, Inno Sorsy has developed, produced and directed a number of workshops, plays and events for the English National Opera, the Arts Council, London Arts Board, the South Bank Education Department, the British Museum and Metal Culture. She was a storytelling consultant in the National Oracy Project, which led to the introduction of the ‘Speaking and Listening’ component of the National Curriculum for England.

To learn more about Inno Sorsy and her Company of Common Sense, visit: http://www.companyofcommonsense.com/

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