Our ever-expanding team consists of experienced professionals, each with the necessary experience in storytelling, theatre and coaching
Arjen Barel (1973) is director and trainer at Storytelling Centre and artistic director/producer at Storytelling Theatre Lab. He developed the Share to Connect method to put applied storytelling on the map worldwide. Until 2017 he was responsible for the programme of the Storytelling Festival, which he founded in 2008. Arjen teaches Storytelling and Presentation at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. He also gives training courses for professionals in the use of storytelling in youth work and community work at various locations around the world. Travelling is in his blood. He has worked in Morocco, Palestine, Lithuania, Slovenia, Great Britain and Hungary. But he is also an enthusiastic holidaymaker. Even then, he can't stop storytelling and writes an extensive blog for his friends and family. Arjen is involved in performances as a dramaturge, director or writer. He has also written several books about storytelling.
Erma van Maris (1984) worked at the first Storytelling Festival in Amsterdam in 2008 and went on to work as a fundraiser, project coordinator and business leader for various festivals, performances and EU social projects. A true all-rounder with an eye for detail, always thinking of everything and with a heart for storytelling and her projects. She is also very good at dancing and has a great interest in different cultures, as shown by the master's degree in Anthropology she has taken. Erma is free on Fridays.
Luuk van der Vaart (1992) loves stories and humour. In 2017 he won the Audience Award of the Groninger Student Cabaret Festival and in 2020 he was the winner of the Amsterdam Student Cabaret Festival. With this background, he enjoys helping others in the field of storytelling and is the person to call and have a cup of coffee with.
Fouad Lakbir guides young people in their creative development within his own foundation (Shokkin' Group Netherlands) and as a trainer at the Storytelling Centre. He likes to work on empowerment of young people, or meetings between young and old. Like no other he knows how to create a familiar environment and group feeling.
Eva Asselbergh is a producer and editor. She studied language and literature in Ghent and Amsterdam, where she developed a great fascination for the power of language and stories. At Storytelling Centre, she will focus on production work for various projects involving language and identity. A thinker and doer, with an eye for detail, a great capacity for empathy and a pleasant Flemish accent. On Friday evenings, she mainly uses her voice in the local karaoke tent.
Hamed Rahmani (1992) has a background in communication and fashion. Because of the special circumstances of the year 2020, he became interested in social and cultural issues. He experienced the power of storytelling himself during Refugee Millenial in the Humanity House in The Hague, where he talked about what it is like to grow up in the Netherlands with a bicultural background. And also to discover your sexual identity. At Storytelling Centre, he works on various projects, in which he also applies his communication background.
Hester Tammes is an enthusiastic storytelling coach and as such involved in various projects and performances of the Storytelling Centre. She draws on her experiences as a theatre maker and as a 'guest worker' in countries such as Pakistan, Surinam and Morocco where she was constantly confronted with differences and looked for ways to make those smaller.
Erik is driven by the notion that sharing stories leads to connection. As an advisor, process manager and trainer for the Storytelling Centre, he is therefore primarily involved in projects where storytelling can be used for social purposes. As a consultant for High Impact Partners, he also advises wealthy individuals and wealth funds. He is chairman of the Stichting Gouden Mannen, treasurer of the Stichting Meer Democratie and regularly performs as a storyteller at Mezrab.
Since 2018, the Storytelling Festival Amsterdam has been under the creative direction of Sahand Sahebdivani and Raphael Rodan. They are well-known names in the storytelling scene and won the Amsterdam Fringe Gold Award 2017 with their performance My Father held a Gun. Sahand (1980) is one of the most appreciated storytellers in the Netherlands. He came to the Netherlands when he was 3 years old, but not without taking the Persian storytelling culture with him. He likes to take the audience along to his native country, based on old folk tales and more recent stories about his family. Apart from being a storyteller, Sahand is also a musician. He plays the tar and is very skilled in playing various other instruments. In 2003 Sahand opened the Mezrab 'House of Stories', a place for stories and music.
Since 2018, the Storytelling Festival Amsterdam has been under the creative direction of Raphael Rodan and Sahand Sahebdivani. They are well-known names in the storytelling scene and won the Amsterdam Fringe Gold Award 2017 with their performance My Father held a Gun. Raphael (1980) is a storyteller, actor and workshop leader. He was born in the 'holy' land of Galilee in Israel and grew up surrounded by the stories of war, separation and demonising the other. His motivation as a teacher, workshop leader and performer is to use the power of stories to achieve just the opposite, to guide people in the search for our shared humanity and thereby connect people.
In her work as a director or storyteller, Marjolein is always looking for the different layers within stories; multiperspectivity is her middle name. This is clearly visible in her life project 180 Amsterdammers, in which she interviewed 180 people with a different nationality from the capital. As a coach, she always strives to bring out the best in the performer in a conscientious and pleasant way. For what can you wake Marjolein in the middle of the night? A good story, of course.
Thyson Miguel gets a lot of energy from helping others. By sharing his own story he knows how to inspire people and get them moving. He is convinced that people can continue to develop themselves at any age. As a drama therapist and trainer at the Storytelling Centre, he guides people in shaping their own story and encourages them to express themselves in theatre or drama.
Najat Chicar supervises family constellations within her own company (Shecarez) and works as a trainer at Storytelling Centre. She acts as a link between different generations to transfer knowledge, connect and create mutual understanding. By nature, she knows how to guarantee equality, which makes everyone in the group feel safe and creates beautiful group dynamics.
Inge Koks is a freelance cultural worker with roots in theatre and dance and a great love of encounter and exchange. For her, storytelling is a wonderful way of hearing other people's stories and thus broadening and deepening your view of the world.
Adriana Mincu works in the financial department of both the Storytelling Centre and the Meervaart Theatre. Based on her passion for the cultural sector, she likes to contribute to bringing young people into contact with art and culture.
Maaike Kemmink (1980) is a freelance copywriter, translator and editor, and has experience in PR and communication. She always loved stories. As a child she devoured books and later she studied English literature. With great pleasure and interest in everything Storytelling Centre does, she takes care of the content strategy, places articles on the site and is responsible for the social media.
Marlies ter Haar is a co-founder of the Storytelling Festival Amsterdam in 2008. She is energised by storytelling and enjoys helping people in their development. She is currently working for the Storytelling Centre on the Storytelling Heroes programme.
Yahya Natour works for Youth Empowerment, Cultural Center for Child Development, in Palestine. There he coordinates children activities and summer camps; using theater, sports, music, arts, and storytelling to reduce violence in communities. At Storytelling Centre he facilitates activities, is a translator and works with refugees. He wants to empower people who never got the chance to stand up for themselves.
Els participated in the development of the Storytelling Centre's European project 'Alternative Ways' (To Learn A Language), a toolkit for language trainers of low-literacy learners. She is currently working on the roll-out of this new method and provides training to NT2 teachers, language volunteers and everyone in between.
Barbara Verhoef is an enthusiastic trainer, passionate social worker & enjoys working with creative work forms. As a trainer, she supports our social storytelling projects and uses storytelling to give a positive frame of mind to sometimes difficult stories, helping you to develop a more positive self-image and empowering you to work on this.
Lotte is a third-year Cultural and Social Education student and participates in an internship at the Storytelling Centre from September 2020 to April 2021. During her studies she is trained as an Agoog and learns about human change. At the Storytelling Centre she learns how creating stories and sharing them, can help people change.
Volkert is a third-year Cultural and Social Education student and participates in an internship at the Storytelling Centre from September 2020 to April 2021. During her studies she is trained as an Agoog and learns about human change. At the Storytelling Centre he learns how creating stories and sharing them can help people find their strength and connect.