Can you tell a good story? Google images search 'storytelling' and you are flooded with images of generations that went long before us, sitting close together round a fire using talent and artistic license to pass on tales from their parents and grandparents.
If we forced ourselves for a moment to think about what modern storytelling might look like what would we come up with? Catching up in the pub, watching a soap opera or going to the theatre? Often every bit as intimate and potent as the 'ancient tradition' but often not characterised in the same way.
There has been a recent revival of storytelling and festivals have popped up all over the world. I believe the interest is borne out of our need for our own space, thirst for information, knowledge, authentic wisdom and a new way to connect with our community that doesn't involve a mobile device.
Truth is, whilst our vision of storytelling today might be vastly different from hundreds of years ago, there three core elements that make the experience a great one.
First is creativity, stories are told by people, you don't need to be a recognised artist, we all have stories inside us. Personality is unique and passion provides the ability to bring about change.
Second is community, The Old School Room isn't an ancient fireside but it is the modern day equivalent and so much more. OSR sits proudly in the heart of East London and it exists to increase creative & artistic awareness. In fact as the only existing theatre in Tower Hamlets with our roots locally in Applecart Live we are embedded deeply in our community. As the only building on its block that survived the blitz and is neighbour to an old asylum, if it could talk it would tell a few tales.
Third is environment. This new facility is an open and safe space for artist of all ages, disciplines and background to come and tell their stories, whether that be through exhibitions, gigs, theatre or helping paint or deliver leaflets. It has become part of our story and our journey to bring new stories to life.
Today we are bringing that storytelling revival to London, the Old School Room officially opens its doors to friends, local and international neighbours and anyone who believes like us, that stories can and should break new ground and bring communities together.
In all their forms we will present stories with visual artists from Spain, France and all over England. Light installations, film installations, photography, paintings and prints. We have short films and of course music of all genres.
Too many volunteers to mention have cleared away the dust inside the Old School Room but its rich history remains. The building could tell 1000 tales and we want to make sure it does, we can't do it alone. Come and join us.