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"Rivers of Voices, Ocean of Stories: Coming Together" Conference 2022

May 27th Workshops

May 27th Workshops

All artist biographies can be found here.

Set 1- 1:00-2:30pm

1A- Judy Millar- Finding Your Funny Bone

Even tellers who don’t think they’re funny can learn to apply professional comedy techniques to add humour, zest and charm to the stories they tell. We’ll consider ways to say things “sideways” (humorously) and tricks to spice up telling with physicality and technique to add punch to your presentation style. We’ll consider:

  • what makes something funny (so participants know where to find humorous potential in the stories they want to tell). Humour happens when we see, hear or say things “sideways.” (Included for participants is Judy’s “15 Tools in your Comic Toolbox” Handout from her workshop for writers.)

  • how to “bait the hook” with humour or teasers that create listener rapport, curiosity or empathy;

  • how to spice up storytelling with vivid language; comic physicality; vocal techniques; facial expressions and timing tricks

  • why mini-movie “chunking” and act-outs can help tellers add punch to their personal presentation styles


1B- Rachel Muller- Podcasting 101

Podcasting offers an exciting new platform for storytellers. This workshop covers all the steps required to launch your first podcast, from planning a format, designing a logo, addressing recording logistics, incorporating music and sound effects, choosing an RSS feed, linking to podcast apps, to promoting your finished podcast. You’ll leave with detailed notes and links to further resources.


Set 2- 3:00-4:30pm

2A- Faye Mogensen & Margo McLoughlin: Stories for Tapping Into Environmental Awareness and Action

Storytelling has a critical role to play in inspiring environmental awareness. Participants will leave the workshop with a wealth of ideas for using storytelling as a springboard to reflection and action on behalf of the planet. In this workshop, we’ll use 

  • guided meditation, 

  • writing, and 

  • conversation 

to help you uncover a treasure trove of personal stories.We’ll help you tap into your earliest memories in nature, your environmental heroes, and pivotal moments when nature has been your teacher. We’ll consider some examples of traditional story structure and play with dynamic beginnings and endings. Working on your own and in dyads or small groups, we’ll guide you in shaping those memories into tell-able tales. 


2B- Bethany Ellis: Steal My Ideas: Engaging Younger Listeners

How do you feel about telling stories to young children? Whether you are a reluctant novice oran experienced enthusiast. I would like to share my tips and tricks for engaging children aged 3-7 in story. Using finger-play, simple string play, and joining-in stories I would like to share my tips and tricks for holding the attention of younger audiences.


Set 3- 1:00-4:30pm

3A Cindy Shantz: Letting Go: Getting into your heart, not your head, as you immerse yourself in creating and telling a personal story

This workshop is about letting go and being in your heart, not your head. You’ll learn to let go of doubts, fears and ego as you explore a different way of generating story ideas, write a two-minute story, and edit and present it. We’ll also let go and have FUN! Together we will:

  • briefly identify ways of generating story ideas. 

  • discuss and illustrate the three parts of the story arc: The Hook; The Reeling In (where tension increases); The Landing

   Participants will then:

  • write a brief rough draft of a story

  • form pairs or small groups (4 people maximum)

  • read their stories to each other and make editing suggestions

  • incorporate suggestions which resonate with them into a second draft

  • learn their stories using “Letting Go” techniques 

  • critique stories told by volunteers (We will use the "sandwich method” to do this--praise; suggestions; praise)


3B- Elizabeth Ellis: Dare to Scare

Why tell Scary Stories? What value do they serve? (Even for children? Especially for children.) Tips on how to select them and guide lines for sharing them effectively. Focus on 

  • performance skills of building a relationship with listeners, 

  • timing, 

  • dealing with performance anxiety, 

  • narrative skills of sensory imagery and conflict building.


3C- Noa Baum: Beyond Labels: Bridging Differences Through Storytelling

Experience the storytelling model developed by Israeli born Noa Baum to bridge differences in our communities. Discover how listening to,and telling the story of the “other”, can breakthrough stereotypes and labels to the possibility of compassion and change. Learn an effective tool to foster dialogue and promote stronger more resilient communities and workplaces.

Participants will be able to:

  • Use a storytelling model for working with differences.

  • Learn techniques to deepen listening past opinions and labels.

  • Build community and make connections with others.

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