Celebrate our common humanity and the unique beauty of diverse experiences during this 6 week international community festival. 27 individuals from Baltimore to Bengaluru share their personal and cultural stories about life in quarantine, racism, relationships, social justice, empowerment, persistence, mortality, immigration, identity, courage, loneliness, and sustainable living through narrative, music, art, animation/video/short film, and more. See the schedule and learn more about the storytellers and their stories below.
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• Lopamudra Mohanty (Mumbai, India) “God’s Own Carpenter”
• Goutam Bansantani (India) “Mysterious Room”
• Lavanya Prasad (Bengaluru, Karnataka, India) “The Maharaja’s Whim”
• Shreya Biswas (India) “Devotion of Salabeg”
Lopamudra Mohanty (Mumbai, India) “God’s Own Carpenter”
Lopamudra Mohanty tells the legend of how Lord Jagannath’s incomplete form was created from a log of wood and the value of that form to a Devdasi. Lopamudra Mohanty is the founder of the Company BBW Education Pvt Ltd. She is lovingly called Big Buddy by children and uses the powerful medium of storytelling to keep Indian languages alive, showcase regional stories, revive lost folklore forms, empower women, and develop children’s interest in reading and storytelling. She calls herself a “Responsible Storyteller.”
Goutam Bansantani (India) “Mysterious Room”
“Mysterious Room” is about an old woman and her family. The old woman used to reduce her loneliness by trapping her soul in a mysterious room. Goutam Basantani has been studying film making for two years and has directed several short films. His films address social issues with some twists of fantasy.
Lavanya Prasad (Bengaluru, Karnataka, India) “The Maharaja’s Whim”
This story revolves around a Maharaja (King) who made such strange rules in his kingdom, that people were terrified of his whims and fancies. They feared the punishments they would receive if they broke the rules. One day, a clever little boy challenged the king. Lavanya Prasad is a professional storyteller and the founder of Tale’scope. She is an engineer by graduation and a storyteller by choice and loves how she instantly connects with people through stories. She has performed in international storytelling festivals, has had the privilege of sharing stories with Massai Mara children in Kenya and the Australian storytelling guild, and has trained many people to use storytelling to create positive change in their work.
Shreya Biswas (India) “Devotion of Salabeg”
The Lord Jagannath temple in Puri is one of the most famous Hindu temples in the Indian subcontinent. This presentation brings together a combination of legends, myths and folklore surrounding the temple and its deity. The famous chariot festival and the story of Bhakt Salbega is one tale of devotion, faith, and love , that still forms the core of the rich cultural heritage of India.
Shreya Biswas is a professional storyteller and founder of Katharangam (est.2013) which offers specially curated storytelling workshops to school teachers, NGO professionals, corporate and libraries to enhance their teaching, business and communication skills. Shreya Biswas is also a patron of the Bangalore Storytelling Society (est. 2010) and adviser to Chennai’s annual International Storytelling Festival. Biswas has thus far taught storytelling techniques to 10,000 students and 1,000 teachers. About 5,000 corporate employees across India have also benefited from Biswas’ customized workshops. A chemistry graduate of Calcutta University, Biswas started eclectic reading in her ancestral home and neighborhood libraries in Kolkata from a young age. Raised in a multigenerational family, much of her childhood was spent listening to her grandparents narrate stories from the Mahabharata and Ramayana and Bengali classical literature. In the mid-1990s, after she moved to Bangalore, she signed up with a playschool and taught preschoolers by storytelling. In 2009, she attended a British Council event featuring well-known professional storyteller, Richard Martin, who drew from Irish and English folklore to narrate captivating stories to eager children and adults.Register