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About Us

Storytelling Centre believes in the power of storytelling. We are also convinced that in a balanced, culturally diverse society, there should be space for everyone's story; especially in times of intercultural tensions! In an ever-changing society we see it as a necessity to provide a platform for all those stories, in the theatre and in society, and to encourage people to connect through stories. That is our mission.

In recent years Storytelling Centre has developed numerous activities in the field of storytelling. The Centre is now known nationally and internationally as a training centre, festival producer, producer of urgent performances by young storytelling talents and as a supporter of cultural diversity and connectivity between different cultural backgrounds.

The Storytelling Centre delivers multiple trainings in using storytelling in community- and youth work in the Netherlands and abroad. This on-going experience has allowed us to develop a flexible method that is adaptable to practically any audience and target group, our Share to Connect method.

Meet The Team!

At the Storytelling Centre, people are our greatest asset.

We are a constellation of many talents.


Arjen Barel (1973)

Trainer and director of Storytelling Centre

is producer and director, mainly in the field of storytelling performances, and spends a large part of his professional life listening to stories and training people in the art of storytelling. He makes the program for the International Storytelling Festival Amsterdam and other festivals and regularly coaches storytellers, both amateur and professionals. With Soufiane Moussouli he created the performance Moroccans don’t cry and with Arabi Ghibeh Into the Light. Recently he directed Next to Normal, Palestinian Stories Untold, a performance with four performers from Palestine, in collaboration with Ashtar Theatre from Ramallah. He is responsible for setting up a Human Library in the West of Amsterdam and for coaching participants of this Human Library and other community projects.


Arjen also works with students at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and in delivering workshops for young people in The Netherlands, Morocco and Palestine. He also delivers training for professionals in how to use storytelling in youth work and community work in several places in the world. Last years he trained people from Hungary, France, Morocco, Palestine, Germany, Greece and the UK. Arjen is member of the Executive Committee of the Federation of European Storytelling (FEST).

The power of creativity in less privileged urban areas - especially in the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern regions and Amsterdam New West - has Barel’s special interest. Therefore, he developed several international (talent and storytelling) projects in the field of urban dance, aerosol art and urban music. Many of these projects take place in Morocco. In these projects Bureau Barel joins forces with this Yassine Boussaid / A-CLI.

Arjen Barel studied Drama Studies and Cultural Studies at the University of Amsterdam. In addition to his work within Bureau Barel he teaches Cultural Marketing and Fundraising at various courses and put together the book Theatre & Marketing, Tension & Thrill (2004) in collaboration with Esther Lagendijk. In 2005 he launched, a platform to promote theatre in the Netherlands in a fresh and accessible way. Barel teaches Theater Marketing at the Theaterschool of Amsterdam (AHK) and Storytelling and Presentation at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA)


Marc van der Giessen (1971)

Resilience counselling/coaching

Marc van der Giessen is a spiritual counsellor and trainer who finds ways to inform, inspire and empower. The quintessence of his professional work is improving participation of vulnerable people. Through accessing the job market or assistance in informed decision making. Marc worked as a freelance grieve counsellor and trainer in Juba, South Sudan. He works with the resilience and strength-based approach. Marc has a motivational drive to make people understand that they truly matter. And people have inner-resources to deal with the situation at hand. Works currently in Netherlands, previously in Kenya and South Sudan


Fouad LaKbir (1990)

Trainer and coordinator

Was born and raised in Amsterdam. He has a BA in information technology, but works mainly with young adults nowadays. In his work, he uses different art forms for encouraging creativity and developing competences of the youth. He often uses Storytelling and Photography. In both art forms, he is not only a coach and trainer but also an artist.

Fouad is a committed street photographer and with his images he tries to highlight stories of Amsterdam. Storytelling came in his life not so long ago. After an intense training by the Storytelling Centre he got inspired and gave his full focus to the art of storytelling. Having this as his base, he started the association Shokkin’ Group Netherlands together with a group of young adults. They form a group of young people with an immigration background who grew up in social deprived neighbourhoods. Growing up there, they felt like there were not enough opportunities for them as youngsters to develop their selves. This is why they decided to create their own opportunities by starting their own movement.


Stu Packer

Personal stories and Folktales

Storyteller and Actor, Stu tells tales to “entertain, educate and enchant”. Drawing on over 25 years of performance where he first learnt about ‘Being Present’, Stu not only dares to share his Personal Stories from his heart, he feels it is a real privilege to be present when others share theirs.

Stu states, “When Story is shared it stirs something deep within us; whether we are conscious of this, it matters not. The fact is, we continue to gather together, to share food and stories, to connect and reconnect us to the human condition, to our nature, Sharing stories is in our nature; sharing our stories is creative, cathartic and connecting.”

In conjunction with his Story Coaching skills he has delved deep into the world of Applied Storytelling. He says, “There is as much wisdom in our Personal Stories as there is in Ancient Stories.”


Soufiane Moussouli (1987)


Soufiane Moussouli is storyteller, actor and coach. He is an autodidact but learned a lot about making theatre at youth Theatre Group DeGasten (then Jong Rast) and of Peter Faber. He is now one of the rising stars in the Dutch field of storytelling  theatre, with performances as Five Questions you always wanted to ask a terrorist and Moroccans don’t cry. With other stories, he is a welcome guest at various festivals (Summer full of Stories, Stories at Soestdijk Palace and Amsterdam Light Festival) and at the Tropical Museum, where he performs regularly

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