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Ben Mali Macfadyen

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Ben Mali shares his love of traditional stories across Scotland with his warm, playful and modern style.

At the age of nine, Ben Mali sat wide-eyed listening to worlds woven by expert Somerset storyteller Jane Flood. At the end of the performance he ran up and told her he wanted to be a storyteller himself. He never dreamed his wish would come true! From offices to forests, prisons to pubs, schools to care homes, Ben Mali now shares wonder tales, folklore and myths from Scotland and around the world. Incorporating song, rhyme, objects, puppetry and other participatory elements, he invites listeners to journey with him and be enchanted by the wonder of the ancient art of storytelling.

Whether performing at events, leading story tours or working long-term with community groups, Ben Mali enjoys bringing storytelling to a wide spectrum of contexts. He has extensive experience with young audiences, as well as supporting organisations with their own narratives, and broadening his experience alongside groups with complex support needs. He also works as a trainer for teachers, community organisations and artists. He has a particular interest in nurture stories – tales that guide us towards each other for healing and wisdom – and is always seeking new ways for traditional arts to be shared with communities as tools to nurture, empower, connect and inspire.

Ben Mali is always seeking to engage audiences and learn from their own experiences, and so wherever possible he uses stories as part of wider workshops for learning, creativity and connection. Approaches include leadership skills, nature connection, process drama, creative writing, improvisation, harmony singing, collaborative arts, dynamic discussion, story gathering tours, urban games, peer-mentoring, expressive movement and team building. He is a strong believer in the importance of progressive narratives, and is committed to sharing gender empowering, post-colonial and environmental tales that lay elements of tradition on the table in order to support the emergence of values that are relevant for the times we live in.

His training has included: anthropology, Polish laboratory theatre, puppetry, community building, facilitation, indigenous knowledge, ceremony, acapella singing and martial arts. Recent storytelling experience includes leading a two year storytelling and ecology residency in Aberdeenshire; launching and developing Eco Drama’s ‘Out to Play’ storytelling and nature primary school programmes across Glasgow; performing at TedX Whitechapel and the Crick Crack Club in London; working with The Village Storytelling Centre’s innovative applied approach in Pollok, contributing to Storytelling for the Environment Symposium in Cardiff and leading early years story tours in Edinburgh’s Gallery of Modern Art.

When not telling, Ben Mali works as a community facilitator, project manager, mentor, craftsman and performer. He is a passionate social and environmental activist, and spends as much of his free time as possible exploring Britain’s wild places.

Ben Mali is honoured to be part of the Scottish storytelling community and to learn from the rich tradition of his ancestors.

“Ben has made a big difference to how we view our community, how we view each other and how our children view the world”.

Clare Harker – Headteacher at St Albert’s Primary School, Glasgow.

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