Indian Storytelling Network
(in alphabetical order)
2) Leena Kulkarni.
4) Peter Viegas.
5) Pooja Upganlawar.
6) Sharanya Shriram.
1) Dharithri Krishnamurthy.
Dharithri is a certified professional storyteller from Kathalaya and has introduced Story Space - A Kathalaya Learning Centre, to Pune. Dharithri holds a MA in German and is proficient with multiple languages. She is also a certified Jolly Phonics trainer. She has around 8 years of corporate experience. Dharithri started storytelling when her older daughter was born in 2007. She would create various stories to teach/introduce various concepts. Since day one she would narrate stories to her little one and has taught her children everything through stories and music. As she is passionate about teaching and learning with children, she decided to use her skills for the benefit of many more children. Dharithri does storytelling sessions at various schools, libraries and activity centres, and conducts regular classes as well. She conducts regular workshops for teachers, parents and children.
2) Leena Kulkarni.
Leena simply loves storytelling and has been storytelling right from her childhood days. She is a children's storyteller, having keen interest in using storytelling as a medium for educational and therapeutic purposes. She regularly conducts weekend storytelling and read-along sessions for children. Many of the stories narrated in these sessions are written by her. Her children's stories have been also published in newspapers. She narrates stories in English as well as Marathi.
An Engineer with over ten years of experience in the IT industry, Leena has groomed many newcomers and entrants in her role as a Manager. She combines this experience with her love of storytelling, soft skills exposure, and interest in psychology to make a difference in children's lives.
Neeraj is a Motivational Speaker, Storyteller, Mentor, Coach, Communication Expert, and Retreat Leader worldwide.
For him, coaching is learning again and again…again and again… An award-winning facilitator, Neeraj uses the timeless techniques of mentoring, collaboration, and performance. Neeraj is a voice, speech, diction, accent, and communication mentor with Narrative Therapy through Transformative Storytelling.
Neeraj has been studying holistic techniques since 1996. During more than 20 years of learning, relearning, unlearning, sharing, and teaching. It has been his conscious quest to work on different eclectic Techniques such as Subtle Face Yoga, Shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing”) Theatre, Languages, Tai Chi, Butoh, Aikido, Expressive Art, Story Therapy, DOGa Yoga, etc. He helps people understand subtle and essential aspects of the mind, body, and spirit connection.
Neeraj is the author of the holistic growth manual “Sapere Aude (Dare to BE Wise)”. He has been featured in various publications such as BBC-Hindi, Zee TV, Elle, The Hindustan Times, DNA, Times of India, Indian Express, and News Nation.
Neeraj often works in the following cities (in alphabetical order): Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Jaipur, Kanpur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Meerut, Mumbai, New Delhi, Noida, Pune, and Surat.
4) Peter Viegas.
Peter is a self-taught, community certified storyteller. After participating in a programme conducted by Dr Eric Miller of the World Storytelling Institute, Chennai, Peter made a commitment to storytelling in Pune, where "many people could be involved in telling various kinds of stories to diverse age groups and audiences in all kinds of settings."
Since 2012, Peter's passion has taken him to schools, developing storytelling programmes and conducting workshops for primary school teachers. He also seeks to convince his friends and family members to develop their storytelling.
Keeping his word, Peter pioneered "The Storytellers, Pune." The group has developed its own Coaching Guidelines to provide a framework for bringing storytellers to the best possible experiences of their stories. The well-knit group was primarily formed to recount a story heard about a storyteller from Syria who loses his voice and how a group of seven friends give back his voice to him, each telling one story a night for seven nights. That was “Damascus Nights,” by Rafiq Schami.
Subsequently they have jointly narrated "A Tale Dark and Grimm" by Adam Gidwitz, and "Chouboli" by Vijaydan Detha. These performances are accompanied by workshops and are facilitated by Peter, drawing upon the work of storytellers such as Ashley Ramsden, Sue Hollingsworth, and others.
"The Storytellers, Pune" has a core of 12 regular and six occasional tellers. The group has recorded about 28 stories for podcast on the theme of Love, Sexuality, and Relationships. The group also records stories for All India Radio, and felicitates itinerant storytellers who pass through Pune: we have had memorable evenings with Sarah Rundell, James Knight, and our own late Ankit Chadha.
The pre-Covid range included telling stories in schools, colleges, cafés, bars, corporates, institutions, and just about anywhere that someone was willing to organise an audience. Most events are free, financed by the group.
"The Storytellers, Pune" organises sessions on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month. One of these series features seasoned tellers, and one consists of open sessions with newer tellers.
A photo of Peter is here.
5) Pooja Upganlawar.
Pooja Gadewar Upganlawar, founder and director of "The StoryTunes", is a Speech and Drama Trainer, a passionate Storyteller, and a Writer.
Pooja has provided various kinds of Communication Skills workshops for corporations such as Hewlett Packard, Vodafone, and Times of India.
Her experience with young people includes teaching Speech and Drama for more than three years in a reputed school in Pune. She has conducted workshops on "Anger Management and Learning through Stories" in various schools. Pooja has successfully trained many students to appear for Communication Skills, and Speech and Drama exams, conducted by the Trinity College of London.
Pooja has conducted numerous Storytelling workshops for young people in Pune bookstores such as Crossword and EnlitKids. She has trained over a thousand children in stagecraft, skits, dramas and plays, extempore, debates, and elocution. She has collaborated with FirstCry.com for sessions with young people on ‘Raising Readers’ and Workshops in Dramatics.
Working closely with Times of India NIE (Newspaper in Education), Pooja has introduced countless children to the world of stories. With her collaboration with KomTV, she is taking stories and dramatics to every house possible. This new venture is one of her key projects.
Pooja's program for teachers, ‘Teacher Skill Enhancement Program’, has been very well received by teachers in schools across Pune and beyond. In the short span of three years, she has trained over a hundred teachers in using Storytelling to make the classroom more lively.
Pooja passionately believes in the art of Storytelling. Her mantra is “Unleash the Power of Storytelling, Touch Souls, Entertain and Inspire".
A photo of Pooja is here.
BEd (Education), Gadchiroli University, Gadchiroli, Maharashtra.
MBA (Sales and Marketing), Faculty of Management Studies, Institute of Rural Management (FMS-IRM), Jaipur.
BSc (Life Sciences), St Bede’s College, Shimla.
Higher Secondary, Laureate Public School, Shimla
Matriculation, Convent of Jesus and Mary, Shimla.
Information about "The StoryTunes" programs is here.
6) Sharanya Shriram.
An ex-banker turned enrichment coach, Sharanya conducts:
- Moral-based story-and-craft sessions for children.
- Puppet shows.
- Storytelling sessions for introducing sensitive topics to children and young teens.
- Teacher-training workshops.
- Corporate breakout events (for families).
- Phonics, and joy of reading, sessions.
Sharanya has been part of the Chennai Storytelling Festival from 2016 onward. Apart from conducting her own sessions, she has been associated with schools such as Shemrock, Vaels Vidyashram, LocoPoco (Hirandani), and Primrose. She has also conducted customised events with corporates like Cotiviti and OneSource. These events span a wide spectrum of activities, including storytelling for children, teacher-training workshops, and breakout sessions at company events. Being fluent in multiple languages (Hindi, Marathi, French, Telugu, English, and Tamil), Sharanya is able to connect with diverse groups, and customises content accordingly.
Member: Chennai Storytellers (even though she has re-located to Pune)
7) Shraddha Nigavekar.
A scientist by training and a spoken-word artist by choice, Dr. Shraddha Nigavekar is a lifelong-learner with a passion for experimentation. Shraddha has lived and worked in three continents and brings her multitude of life experiences to the art of storytelling. A freelance professional storyteller, Shraddha conducts storytelling-based sessions in-person as well as online. She is a trained voice-over artist, with certification as a storyteller from the Storyweavers of Singapore, and StoryCircle EduSaarthi. Shraddha has also acted in short films and theatre. Her recent unique initiative is "Tales with Tails" -- a storytelling program assisted by therapy dogs and cats, in collaboration with the Animal Angels Therapy Center.
Shraddha is a regularly featured storyteller on East London Radio's "Talking Stories" which is the UK's first, and a globally leading, radio program for stories of all kinds. During the pandemic, she launched a YouTube story channel called "Kathaa by Shraddha" to make multilingual stories freely accessible to children globally. She has also brought stories to children via several online and in-person sessions for the non-profit Doorstep School (DSS), Vikhe Patil Memorial School, Enlit Kids Kathashtakam series, Storycircle Edusaarhti and the Early Child Development Forum (ECDF); and for corporates such as Infosys, HSBC, and Poonawalla Fincorp. Shraddha hosts two reality-story based podcasts -- "SuKathanKar" and "Musings of Mom".
Shraddha's main strength is her ability to connect with her audience members. She has often been appreciated for engaging her listeners with active narration, voice modulation, and overall style of presentation. Shraddha is fluent in English, Hindi, Marathi, and Konkani. She loves to incorporate music in her telling. Shraddha was recently given a "Story-Maker in Education" award by EduSaarthi, the Confederation of Indian Industry and Young Indians.
Shraddha conducts storytelling sessions for children (aged 6-12 years), adolescents, and adults at libraries, schools, activity centers, and corporate and private events.
A photo is here.
8) Sony Lamba.
Sony is a Librarian by profession, with over 10 years of experience in School Libraries. She has completed a BA in Economics, and a Masters in Library and Information Science, from Pune University.
Sony is also a certified Storyteller, having completed an online Storytelling course from the Storyweavers, Singapore.
Storytelling is an ancient art form. Telling a story may involve gestures, visual images, sounds, chants, and sometimes exaggeration of expression. Through Storytelling, Sony would like to connect with children, make concepts fun, and make learning more interesting.
The lockdown and the pandemic situation inspired Sony to launch her own YouTube storytelling channel, called THE STORY KATTA. Here she and her many Guest Storytellers tell stories in both English and Hindi. The motive behind this channel was to reach out to all children by exposing them to a wide range of genres of stories that are easily accessible to them. During these hard times many children do not have access to a variety of storybooks, so through this channel Sony has tried to bring stories of many different kinds to children of all age groups, in English and in Hindi.
Sony also works with children and teachers in schools.
Storytelling channel on YouTube, THE STORY KATTA
Storytelling Organisations based in Pune
The StoryTunes was founded and is directed by
The StoryTunes has designed well-researched programs in which stories form the core of the teaching process.
Our Programs for Children
Thinkers – To enhance curiosity, love for reading, ignite imagination.
Readers – To enhance reading , develop capacity for creativity and imaginative thinking.
Brain Ticklers -- Bring scientific facts to life through specially designed stories.
Old Stories Come Alive – Bring to life major events of history through stories, helping children retain better.
Speak Up – Teach the art of Public Speaking, drama and storytelling.
Let's Write – Creative writing, scripting, character setting, story-writing.
Our Programs for Educators and Parents
Talk – Helps parents to break barriers while conversing with children on sensitive topics such as sex education and child abuse.
Story Speak -- ‘Teacher Skills Enhancement Program’. Helps teachers become great expressive storytellers -- using props, puppets, voice modulations, voice modulations, and body language. The program focuses on teaching the art of using stories to make sessions interesting and productive.
Our Programs for Institutions
For Colleges and Corporations --
Enhance personality attributes, social & interpersonal graces, communication &language skills, polish personal, professional and managerial traits. Programs such as – "Secret Sauce of Storytelling", and "Presentations with a Knack of Storytelling".
For Corporate Social Responsibility Programs --
We design programs for corporatations as a part of Corporate Social Responsibility Activities.
For Hospital and Rehabilitation Home Programs --
Developing the themes of Cooperation and Co-Existence, we design and implement programs to help treat body, mind, and soul -- and hence enhance the quality of life.