Sheila Wee has been a full time professional storyteller for 17 years and has been described as a Godmother of Singapore storytelling. She co-founded Singapore’s first storytelling circle and its first professional storytelling company and has taught, or mentored almost all of the professional storytellers now active in Singapore. Sheila is a founding Committee Member, a former President, (2012 – 2014), and a current Committee Member of the Storytelling Association (Singapore).
Sheila began telling stories to children, but quickly moved into telling stories to adults and was a pioneer in bringing storytelling to adult audiences in Singapore. She is comfortable telling to audiences of more than a thousand and is adept at varying her storytelling style according to her audience. Her storytelling has been describe variously as warm, engaging, elegant and captivating.
Sheila’s work in Singapore includes performances for museums, schools, conference openings, community events and storytelling skills courses and workshops for adults, teens and children. She also conducts workshops that cover a wide range of storytelling applications, including storytelling for intergenerational bonding, language and literacy development, special needs education, character education, and leadership in organisations.
Sheila is enthusiastic about passing on her skills and her highly practical and inspirational workshops have garnered consistently high ratings from participants. One of the main focuses of her work has been in schools, working with both teachers and students inspire them to want to tell stories and to give them the skills to do so.
As well working with educational and cultural organisations and in the wider community in Singapore, Sheila also works internationally, and has been featured storyteller and speaker at many festivals and conferences and workshops in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and the UK.
For me stories are at the root of what it is to be human. Our lives are shaped by the stories we hear and tell; in fact life itself is an ever unfolding story.
Science is now telling us that we think in stories; our brain is hardwired that way. This is not surprising, as since the earliest times humanity has educated itself through storytelling. Storytelling has helped us pass on survival skills and values; build strongly bonded families and communities; learn how to live together in peace.
In the rush towards modernity, we have neglected the wisdom of the ages; the power of our stories. I see my mission as one of a restorer; restoring storytelling to its rightful place in the centre of human society. For I believe that if we tell our human stories, eye to eye, mind to mind, and heart to heart we can draw closer to each other and share the collective wisdom that is our heritage.
I have always been a storyteller, though I have not always known that I was. One of the joys of my work is when others realise, that they too, are storytellers, (as is every human being) that they too, can harness the power of story in their lives.
The Berber people of North Africa believe that everyone has a story in their heart and one of their life tasks is discover that story. I know that I have one or two stories which I have discovered, which have taught me much about who I am and what I believe. Sometimes in a workshop, or after a performance, someone will share a story that has touched them in a similar way. That is when I feel truly privileged to do this work. For how often are you given a glimpse of another’s soul?