storytelling workshops

Stealing Secrets, Breaking Rules:
Balancing on the Seesaw of Creativity and Discipline in the Storytelling Art
for all experience levels and any size group; full day preferred, can be extended to a weekend retreat workshop

Writers, performers, painters, musicians … they all have secret tips and techniques that help them be creative, stay energized, keep their imaginations working...and that help them be productive so they actually get some work done. This workshop explores some of those “rules” of discipline, creativity, and performance, and then looks at times when those rules might be helpful and when they might best be broken -- or ignored.

We'll learn from artists as diverse as Norman Rockwell, Ray Bradbury, Woody Allen, Twyla Tharp, the Pixar team, Kurt Vonnegut, and many others as we find ways to explore our creativity and also put that creativity to practical work in our stories and storytelling. We'll work individually and in groups, offering encouragement, suggestions, and a few surprises along the way!

Bring along at least one very short (5 minutes or less) story or story idea to work on, and at least one piece of useful advice you've received (it doesn't have to do with storytelling, creativity, or anything else in particular -- it can be about cooking, plumbing, parenting, life ... just some good advice that you've been told). 

Most of What I Needed to Know about Storytelling I Learned in Dance Class
for all experience levels and any size group;
60 to 90 minutes

"It's Impossible!" Story Workshop
for storytellers beyond beginning level; 4 to 12 people; 2 - 3 hours preferred

Is there someplace where you're "stuck" in your storytelling work? Is there something in your storytelling adventure that seems "impossible"? Whether you're a relatively new teller, or have lots of storytelling experience, there's probably some part of a story, or some aspect of your storytelling work, that has you stumped. Bring it to this hands-on workshop!

At this have-it-your-way session, you decide what you want to work on ... plus, you'll hear what seems "impossible" to someone else, and learn from that, too. If there's nothing "impossible" for you right now in your storytelling, then just bring along a section of a story or a story idea you're working on to share with the group -- not for critique, but to give you the opportunity to work on it in a casual, supportive, encouraging setting.

Every Picture Tells a Story: Norman Rockwell as Storyteller
for any experience level and any size group; 60 - 90 minutes

Norman Rockwell didn't just paint pictures, his pictures told stories. We'll take a behind-the-scenes look at how Rockwell created his one-frame stories, layer by layer: getting the idea, populating the story, selecting the essential details, finding the action that sets the story in motion, and creating the finished picture. Then we'll explore how Rockwell's mastery in telling stories with paint can help us paint stories with words.

Picasso's Turpentine, or Practical Skills to Work On While Waiting for the Muse
an interactive storytelling workshop for storytellers  of any level or anyone who shares words and ideas as a teller or listener (minimum of 3 hours; can be expanded to a weekend workshop)

Painter Pablo Picasso said, "When art critics get together, they talk about Art. When painters get together, they talk about where to buy turpentine." This workshop is turpentine. It's not about the creative, Muse-driven part of the process. Rather, it's an exploration of necessary and practical skills, secrets, tips, and tricks that are useful to storytellers but are blatantly stolen from other art forms: painters, dancers, actors, even cartoonists. They all have something to teach about preparation, presentation, staying present, making choices, getting inspired, partnering with an audience, exploring possibilities, and knowing when to stop. We'll steal from them what we can -- fundamental skills that  keep our artistic brushes clean so we're ready when the Muse arrives.

Email or call 205-951-7757 to set up a workshop for your group or event. Here are some possible workshop topics:

The story teller and story listener engage in a kind of dance that  can feel as graceful as the winning number in "Dancing with the Stars" or as awkward as a seventh-grade cotillion. What makes    the difference? After 20 years as a teacher of Cajun and zydeco dancing, storyteller Dolores Hydock has discovered that there are secrets of balance, trust, communication, and style common to  both dancing and storytelling. Come prepared to be surprised at  the "storytelling dancer" inside you ... and wear comfortable shoes!

Exit Stage Left:
Acting Secrets for Storytellers

for any experience level and any size group; 1 hour minimum

The word "entertain" comes from the French "entre tenir" -- to "hold between." Actors and storytellers both practice their art in the mysterious space “held between” the actor / teller and the audience.

Acting and storytelling are different versions of a similar art: taking audiences on a journey of emotion and imagination. This workshop explores some of the techniques actors know about expression and communication that can be useful to storytellers: claiming space, connecting with an audience, staying focused, remembering words, reaction and interaction, preparation, and other topics. 
The intention is not to turn storytellers into actors -- rather, it's meant to give storytellers another set of tools to choose from as they create their own storytelling style