Theatre Director – Storyteller – Teacher – Initiative – Writer
Inger Lise Oelrich is a theatre director, storyteller and adult educator working with creativity and the art of community as a path of development and method for change. She has lived in many countries, speaks several languages and carries a life-long interest in the rich and many faces of humanity. She is the happy mother of two beautiful daughters and a champion of all dialogue and human encounters which strengthen our connections to each other and to the living earth we call our home.
Besides a love of telling and listening to stories, Inger Lise travels widely giving trainings, workshops and talks on storytelling as a transformational skill, working in theatre, education, social work, health and businesslife, often creating tailor-made educational programmes to meet a need. Through the years, she has worked with groups, directing plays and initiating innovative projects in a wide variety of settings. A strong focus in recent years has been to investigate how storytelling and the arts enhance and strengthen peace and reconciliation processes, including multicultural contexts with a view to creating sustainable futures together.
Inger Lise Oelrich is Founding Director of Quest Storytelling 2001 and Storytelling for Life 2004, Founder of the movement ALBA – Nordic Healing Story Alliance 2005, initiative of international symposia, Storytelling as a Healing Art 2005, Storytelling as a Pathway to Peace 2007 and Words that Heal 2010 in Sweden. Inger Lise is a Keeper of the Parzival legend. She co-created the Parzival Symposium in Slovenia 2013, where this European epic was told in three languages over 5 days.
Since 2006, she is Founding Director of a Scandinavian training in the skills of applied and healing story, Storytelling for Life. In 2007 she founded The Child at Heart under the swedish Ministry of Education, a project developing storytelling as a common heart language between teachers, social workers, police and others working with children and youth at risk.
In 2009 she founded the ALBA Peace Project, which investigates the special competencies of a storyteller in conflict and peace-creating situations. She has been Senior Advisor for the Folke Bernadotte Academy, Swedish Foreign Office, developing storytelling as a tool for reconciliation and dialogue in political contexts during the Iraq Dialogue Meetings 2010 – 2012 and later, during the Syrian Dialogue Meetings in Istanbul, 2017.
She is a mentor for Diasporic Genius, Toronto, an inter-cultural urban project where her storytelling methods have been used to good effect since the start in 2011, with an intention to create a common meeting ground for all people, irrespective of culture, background, status and gender. In 2017 she visited Sapmí, home of the Same people, where her methods were used to help bring forth the untold stories from school life there in the 1950-1970ies.
In 2014 Inger Lise Oelrich founded the Storytelling and Peace Council, an international gathering of expert storytellers in the field of social healing and peacework from 18 different countries. The Council meets once a year, so far in France, England, Estonia and in 2017 in Scotland as part of the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival, whose origins was a cultural peace initiative. In 2018 the Council will meet in Norway.
Inger Lise Oelrich has written two full-length plays and three books on storytelling. Her third book THE NEW STORY – Storytelling as a Pathway to Peace was published in January 2015.
DIASPORIC GENIUS in Toronto, initiative by world musician David Buchbinder – check out the work we have been doing there: http://www.diasporicgenius.com/the-dg-story/
Storytelling Workshop Review by Dawne McFarlane in Toronto, Canada
A Workshop with Master of Storytelling Inger Lise Oelrich
This workshop came highly recommended by a dear friend who is extremely trustworthy in such things, so I signed up in advance. But when the bluster of Christmas whirled all around me, with all the trimmings of family, I must admit that the spirit was willing but the flesh was exhausted! The thought of a workshop intensive was not at the top of the list though it had been checked twice. What a gift to pour my tired self into the sacred space of Inger Lise’s workshop and find renewal.
When the space is created, the story can be told. That’s what the workshop was about for me; creating the space, listening, and telling stories. Inger Lise invited us as a community to gather together and create a space of respect and reverence, invite the storyteller to step forward, and ask for a story. This separate space, where respect and reverence can give way to awe, becomes sacred. The stories come from “behind us,” we stir them in the space we have created, and we are all changed with this experience. Connections are made, hearts are opened, minds are engaged, and transformation can happen. New connections, new ways of thinking, and new ways of being are possible.
We were a diverse community of familiar strangers; storytellers, teachers, magicians, and musicians from around the world. Several people from the group brought grief into the room with them, mourning the loss of a young man’s life to violence in the Regent Park community. Inger Lise held a healing circle using the tools of Celtic blessing traditions, and each of us offered a wish connected with images from nature for the young man and those who love him. Tears watered the fertile place of hope. We listened to stories and worked with picture images from them, drawing them and describing them to each other. We clapped and stomped and spoke our words into a great mythic silver bowl and let them resonate. There were stories from our own lives, from fairy tales, and spontaneous ones that unfolded. It was an opportunity to reflect on our intentions in this work, inwardly and with the group. Inger Lise spoke to us of storytelling as a social activity, a place where the questions unite us, where we can meet the challenges of our times in a new way that’s as old as the hills.
This workshop was organized by Diasporic Genuis www.diasporicgenius.com. David Buchbinder’s project has been working in the Thorncliffe Park community using Inger Lise’s vision and method for the past year, connecting people from all over the globe who live right here. Inger Lise Oelrich is a theatre director, storyteller and adult educator who travels widely working with storytelling as a healing and transformational art. www.diasporicgenius.com