A day in the life of a storyteller

To support our StoryParks initiative with Nottingham City Council for a second year and commitment to doing the right thing for our local communities, we have created a series of interviews from our Society and partners to showcase a range of interesting jobs that are out there to inspire children to investigate different careers!

This year, for Story Parks at Home in 2020's new normal we're bringing the libraries and the parks to everyone's homes via a revamped website and social media, including Facebook and Instagram. The website is packed full of great activities from bug-hunting and drumming to mindfulness and storytelling in a brand-new library, packed full of activities to engage and inspire your little ones at home.

As well as Park Rangers, ice hockey players and rugby players we've caught up with our official StoryParks Storyteller, Nicky Rafferty. 

Hi Nicky, let's start right at the beginning. What was your first ever job?

Shampooing hair in my mum’s salon!

Describe your job to us - what does a storyteller actually do?

Every storyteller is different, my work is varied. Sometimes I’m in schools, hospitals, care homes or theatres telling stories or running workshops, sometimes I’m delivering storytelling skills training to care givers or teachers.

Who or what was your inspiration for getting into the work that you do?

For a long time, storytelling was something I did between acting jobs but the storytelling projects became more and more interesting and in the end I decided to commit to it full time. When I was younger, I didn’t know such a job existed, if I had it would have been my first choice.

What steps did you take to get to where you are today?

I’ve always enjoyed stories, whether reading, writing, listening or telling, I enjoy the way they make me feel simultaneously connected and inwardly reflective.

At drama school we had one term of storytelling with a wonderful teacher and I loved it.  Before that I didn’t know it was a thing.  After leaving I contacted the teacher for guidance and ideas on how to get going, he was immensely generous and inspiring and I did just get going by developing a collection of stories and contacting schools and care homes . I felt like I’d found my thing and I still love it.

Describe a typical day in your life to us...

Every day is different. Today I’ve been writing the text for the StoryParks Sammy Fox story, yesterday I was in a school telling the story and creating bunting with the children, tomorrow I have an adult storytelling session at Clifton Library in the morning and a seaside story event at a nursery’s open day in the afternoon. On Friday I’m telling stories to pre-schoolers all day at Wollaton Park, and on Saturday I’m running a workshop at a conference in London. It's very varied!

What’s the best thing about your job?

I love so much about it. I think stories are very powerful, they can calm, inspire, amuse, stimulate and they travel lightly with no fuss or fanfare. I like the immediacy and intimacy of it and meet very lovely people through my work.

Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to be a storyteller?

Listen to other storytellers, find a story that you love and really want to share, practice saying it in your own words then tell your story. They best way is to just get going.

Do you have a life motto or a saying that you live by?

I believe that life is about relationships and the opportunities we have to connect with other people.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

An actor.

What would be your Plan B?

A writer.

How do you like to switch off outside of work?

I play scrabble every day and just relax as soon as I shake the bag of tiles!

Nicky Rafferty Storyteller StoryParks The Nottingham

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