Tuning the Concert

Gold Arts Award Portfolio

Once upon a time – Storytelling course October 17, 2010

I undertook a storytelling course run through the WEA to gain some basic skills in storytelling. The course compromised of four two-hour long evening sessions in Stonleigh.

Working with the workshop leader, Janet Dowling, as well as receiving feedback from the rest of the group allowed me to develop my own storytelling style as well as build experience and confidence.

One of the most useful tools I learnt was how to break down the structure of a story and put it into 8 boxes. Most stories follow this pattern of: initial situation, problem, (preparation for quest), try, try, try, transformation and conclusion. I found this helpful as it made the story easier to remember as well as being a template for any stories that I choose to invent.

I also found it very interesting that there are three main styles of story telling: the fire-side teller, the actor or something in between. Though I am still discovering by own voice, I suspect that I will fall in the middle.

I was initially worried about becoming tongue tied, but Janet explained that you can easily turn a weakness into a strength. For example, when she gets stuck, she has her own gesture of bringing her hand to her lips which has consequently helped form her own distinctive style of storytelling. With practise I found it easier to fluently express myself and realised that it is best to focus on positive thoughts and feelings of confidence.

The course reaffirmed my suspicion that I have a tendency to talk too fast and over gesticulate. I’m hoping incorporating music will suppress some of these characteristics.


3 Responses to “Once upon a time – Storytelling course”

  1. philippa Says:

    i expect you are right about incorporting music making you slow down.
    have you created some story cds yet? or an example on youtube for people to comment on? it doesn’t have to be perfect, but you need to think about how you are going to present your new/developing skill publicly

  2. philippa Says:

    Ive just listened to your telling of ‘on the way home’ – well done, it’s beautifully told. i will add the link to my facebook for more publicity

  3. Andrew Says:

    I found your website from the opposite direction – that of a storyteller. I love the .gif you use as a header for this post. Can I borrow it for a library storytelling event?

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