Emily Hennessey (previously Emily Parrish) is a performance storyteller.

Playful, imaginative and daring to take risks, Emily tells myths, legends, epics, folktales, fairytales and fables from around the world, from the Hindu epic, the Ramayana to African Anansi stories. With a Swedish background, Emily also loves to tell Scandinavian folktales and Norse mythology.

Emily’s work is often described as intelligently composed and beautifully performed, while her storytelling style is said to be warm, captivating, bold and witty, delighting audiences of all ages.

Recent performances include a tour of India with the British Council, the Royal Opera House, the Viking Ship Museum in Denmark, Soho Theatre, Richmix and Beyond the Border Storytelling Festival.



Emily discovered the art of performance storytelling in 2001 when at the University of Kent. Here she met storyteller, Vayu Naidu. Vayu’s classes in storytelling were a huge inspiration for Emily. Having recently returned from working in Nepal, Emily took great delight in exploring stories from the Indian Subcontinent as well as folktales from Scandinavia, from where she hails.

Emily graduated in 2005 with a 1st class Master of Drama degree. She went on to work closely with Vayu Naidu, completing a storytelling apprenticeship and later working as Education Officer for Vayu Naidu Company.

More recently, Emily has trained with Ben Haggarty and is honoured to be an emerging artist with the Crick Crack Club. Emily has also had the great privilege of training with Indian Pandvani performer, Ritu Verma.

As well as performing at festivals and at venues across the UK, Emily regularly performed in Italy, has worked in Japan, and recently performed at the Delhi International Storytelling Festival and toured with the British Council in India.

Emily’s travels take her on adventures around the world. Emily has spent many months researching storytelling tradition and technique in rural India, from Pandvani in Chhattisgarh to Kathakali dance-drama in Kerala. As well as learning a beautiful way of life steeped in Tibetan Buddhist folktales in Ladakh (and becoming an expert in yak-herding), Emily worked at the extraordinary Kattaikkuttu School in Tamil Nadu, learning from the children who perform stories from the Mahabharata through music, dance and song from the age of 4. 

Emily used to live and work in Kent. She now lives in Cumbria with her husband – storyteller and musician Nick Hennessey.