The Talking Shop

A six-part radio series on stories and storytelling produced by The Academy of Oratory and Resonance 104.4FM.

Aired on 6 Tuesdays between 3 April and 22 May 2012 from 7pm - 8pm
Episode 1: Stories and Storytelling
Tuesday 3 April 7-8pm
Exploring storytelling as an art and tradition Giles Abbott was joined by Sarah Rundle and Nell Phoenix. Nell is an excellent storyteller who runs Storynight at Torrianno, one of the best storytelling clubs in London. And Sarah, last winter, performed at that club her version of Gawain and the Green Knight (which is one of the best pieces of storytelling Giles and Leon have ever seen!

Listen to Episode 1 on line here (File will open in a new window. Please allow time for file to load)

Episode 2: Stories and Learning
Tuesday 10 April 7-8pm
We start learning about the world from the moment we're born. Very soon after, we're introduced to stories. Is this just because they're fun? Or are the two connected?

Giles Abbott and Leon Conrad were joined by storyteller Phil McDermott from The Story Emporium; speech and drama therapist Dr Nicola Claire Grove and Janette Steel OBE, head of the Chelsea Hospital School to talk about the role of storytelling in conventional and unconventional learning settings.

Listen to Episode 2 on line here (File will open in a new window. Please allow time for file to load)
Episode 3: Stories and Healing
Tuesday 17 April 7-8pm
What is this healing power that stories can have and how can we harness it?

In this programme Giles and Leon explored the theme of Story and Healing with Alida Gersie, a drama therapist and author who uses stories extensively in her work, Jess Wilson, nurse and storyteller in hospitals and other settings.

They were joined by Veronica Needa from London Playback Theatre to talk about the exciting work the group does in recreating stories from audience members' lives using improvised theatre techniques.

Listen to Episode 3 on line here (File will open in a new window. Please allow time for file to load)
Episode 4: Stories and Leaving
Tuesday 24 April 7-8pm
When doors close, and time slows down, sometimes the right story, told in the right way, at the right time can open a window, or reveal a hidden doorway out of grief and reveal a path which leads beyond bereavement towards a way of making sense of life. At other times, stories help us come to terms with loss of hope, of home or homeland, or just a sense of being lost in translation.

In this programme, Leon looks at Story and Leaving (bereavement, exile and more) with writer and storyteller Janet Dowling, who uses story extensively in helping people through bereavement; Sef Townsend, a storyteller who has a particular interest in working with people and families in exile; and author and journalist John-Paul Flintoff who is often called upon as a journalist to report the stories of people who have experienced loss in the context of suicide.

Listen to Episode 4 on line here (File will open in a new window. Please allow time for file to load)
Episode 5: Stories and Leading
Tuesday 1 May 7-8pm
How do stories influence us? What role do they play in leading us and our thought? In shaping opinion? When PR and marketing companies use stories, should we be wary of the extreme hold that gives them over us?

In this programme, Giles and Leon examine these issues further with Ramsay Wood, author and storyteller a specialist on the Kalila and Dimna collection of instructional fables and the way they have been adapted to and used to define different cultures. They will be joined by Richard House from Story Fountain, a company that uses traditional storytelling techniques to help businesses build brand identity, customer base and market share and Geoff Mead, founder and director of the Centre for Narrative Leadership and The Network for Organisational Storytelling.
For technical reasons this programme did not air live on the advertised date, but went out on Tuesday 8 May instead.
More about Geoff Mead's excellent and moving book here:
Coming Home to Story: Storytelling Beyond Happily Ever After
Ramsay's equally excellent and eloquent retelling of the Kalila and Dimna stories are available at:
The Story Fountain website is at

Listen to Episode 5 on line here (File will open in a new window. Please allow time for file to load)
Episode 6: Stories and Formation
Tuesday 15 May 7-8pm
In the last show of the series, Giles and Leon looked at the way story is part of self-definition and community cohesion. Ariane Hadjilias talked about her work exploring the storytelling tradition of the Meths Peoples of Canada and Moni Sheehan from A Spell in Time talked about her view of the role that stories play in the formation of Bulgarian cultural identity, in part formed in the context of a culture of oppression and the role they play in an expatriate community.

As the Resonance FM studios were closed for refurbishment on 15 May, this programme went out live on Tuesday 22 May instead.
Listen to Episode 6 on line here (File will open in a new window. Please allow time for file to load)
Giles Abbott +44 (0)7900 244574
Leon Conrad +44 (0)7942 702010
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