The beginnings of the Stories Today Festival (festival Pravljice danes) go back to 1998, when storyteller, writer and poet Anja Štefan founded an event called the Fairy Tale Marathon. Year after year, she invited professional actors, librarians, illustrators, writers, folklore storytellers… to share their stories from Slovenian and foreign folk traditions. The events were primarily intended for children. On its seventh anniversary, in 2004, the Fairy Tale Marathon, which had, until then, run only in Cankarjev dom, the largest cultural institution in Ljubljana (the capital of Slovenia), grew into the storytelling festival called Stories Today, and spread to other cultural institutions in Ljubljana and elsewhere in Slovenia.
The Stories Today Festival offers a wide selection of events for children and adults. It is the most important storytelling event in Slovenia and has had a significant influence on the development of the Slovenian storytelling tradition. Stories from our vast folklore heritage, which are mostly prepared for this occasion only, are brought to life by storytellers of various professions and different generations.
The two guiding principles of the festival have remained the same throughout the years: the performers are encouraged to narrate their stories freely and the stories themselves originate in various folk traditions. The festival thus offers evenings of well-performed storytelling and strives to open the doors of contemporary events to the old folk tales. Every year, an increasing number of visitors find themselves convinced that well-chosen and well-told stories touch even the modern listener.
In the sixteen years of the festival’s existence, several features have become regular: storytelling events for children, storytelling evenings for adults, the performance of the foreign guest and the accompanying programme, which is organized in cooperation with various institutions. The festival also offers educational contents, prepared by professionals from diverse fields: from folklorists and linguists to psychologists, librarians and exceptional storytellers.
Each spring, the festival creates a rich, quality storytelling environment, which is also intended to encourage and nurture the storytelling abilities of individuals who have never told stories before. Every year, new participants are chosen and inspired to further the development of their narration skills. The performers thus form a colorful crowd in terms of professional vocations, age and cultural backgrounds, which gives the festival a wonderful diversity.