Kanoon alone has kept the light of storytelling alive in Iran

Pointing out that storytelling and reading stories have a great effect on making the society interested in reading, Mustafa Rahmandoost talks about the 24-year effort of Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults in organizing the storytelling festival.

According to Kanoon General Directorate for Public Relations and International Affairs, Mustafa Rahmandoost, a poet and writer, was one of the founders of the Storytelling Festival and also the secretary of the first edition of this event. He has also been a companion and helper of the event during the years of the storytelling festival. For this reason, we have conducted an interview with Rahmandoost, which you can read:

- You are one of the founders and also the secretary of the first edition of the Storytelling Festival, at that time, what was the need to create such a cultural event?

Of course, I must say that storytelling is at the center of its history much more than holding a festival. Before the festival, the teachers of Kanoon told stories to the children. The need at the beginning was that the trainers of Kanoon would tell better stories, and the directors of the center at that time started this festival.

Before the Storytelling Festival, I had a workshop in "Recovery Classes" for teachers of Kanoon. I also used the teachers of Kanoon in my book called "Storytelling: Its Importance, Way and Tradition", which was the first authored book in the field of storytelling published in Iran at that time.

Kanoon alone has kept the light of storytelling alive in Iran

- Considering that storytelling has been a face-to-face process since the beginning, can it have its primary function in the current era when children are intellectually bombarded with all kinds of digital media?

Yes, storytelling has become more modern day by day. In different countries of the world, academies have been established where storytelling has come out of the old tradition and has become an art. Storytelling is the mother of all performing arts. It has been proven that if a country wants to raise the per capita education level; Its officials should pay attention to the expansion of storytelling. Today, countries have 5- and 10-year study programs. They ask radio, television and other media to sweeten storytelling in the family. This movement in the world is very different from traditional storytelling. However, the survival of ancient storytelling shows that humans still need it. New media are in their place, but storytelling has kept its place. As I mentioned, this artistic event in the world is much more advanced than in our country, and we have only one intellectual educational center for children and young adults in all of Iran, which is responsible for this.

- What elements should a storyteller know and observe in the performance process, so that he can make the audience sit at the feet of his story?

Look, I have organized more than 100 storytelling workshops, in short, there are three main factors: First: Knowing the audience and that the storyteller loves his audience. Second: The storytellers themselves should like this work and enjoy it. Third: Have a good book and an interesting story to tell. We should know that storytelling is not the same as reciting poetry. The story should connect the soul of the word used to the soul of the audience. And of course, storytelling is more scientific and effective than them.

- Apart from the traditional method, what new methods are there in storytelling?

 I currently teach 11 storytelling techniques in my classes that I didn't just pick up and that are the result of years of experience and reading and studying. In the 22nd festival, I proposed "Contemplative Storytelling" and it was performed in Kanoon’s libraries by one of my students, which was the subject of his thesis and dissertation. Currently, there is not a year that we don't have theses and theses about stories and storytelling in liter.

- The story-telling festival, which is organized by Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, is in its 24th year. How do you evaluate the quality process of this event?

In the first year, this festival was only for teachers of Kanoon. Grandmothers and grandfathers also came and told beautiful stories, and this became a link between modern and traditional ways, which was very effective. But now, the festival has newer sections and a wider audience. I thank God that this festival is still lit. I hope that other institutions that deal with mothers will join this and promote it so that we can go beyond the level we have in the field of storytelling. Because storytelling and reading stories have great effects in making children of the society interested in reading and promoting reading.

The 24th International Storytelling Festival will be held in Yazd Province from 25 to 29 January 2023, by Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults.

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