Chennai Storytelling Festival 2020


Regarding the content of Laura Simms' 4-session Storytelling Class:


This 4-session Storytelling Class would be led by Laura Simms on 4 consecutive days:

1) Mon 10th Feb, 10am-1pm.

2) Tues 11th, 2pm-4:30pm.

3) Wed 12th, 5pm-7:30pm

3) Thurs 13th, 10am-12:30pm.




Note: The 4 sessions of Laura Simms' Storytelling Class in CSF 2020 are filled.  However, your name could be placed on a "WAITING LIST" to join any or all of these sessions.  If interested, please call Dr Eric Miller at 98403 94282. Thank you!




Laura writes:




One theme of the Class would involve transforming (in story) Aggression into Compassion.


Grandmother Stories (Animal Fables, Fairytales, Episodes of Epics, and other types of Folktales), and Personal-experience Stories are among the kinds of stories with which we would work.


Participants would not only have the opportunity to observe me giving feedback, but would also at times be invited to participate in the coaching process, helping other tellers to bring stories to life in the "special" ways that storytelling takes place live between tellers and listeners.




This is a "Performance Class," designed to help students deepen and expand their storytelling muscles.  The process would provide individuals with tools, as well as with insights into the unique aspects of engaged oral storytelling today.


I do not work from the outside in, but rather for a simultaneous uncovery from within the teller and the story, outwards.


Each participant is invited to prepare and to be ready to tell a story, or a fragment of a story, the telling of which which would take up to seven minutes.  It is not necessary for a participant to have performed the story, but the sequence of events should be very clear in the participant's mind.  Please do not memorise the words of your story. 


Both Grandmother Stories and Personal-experience stories, could be told.  However, generally more can be learned through working with traditional stories in the limits of our time together.  Whatever one learns could be applied to the telling of Personal-experience stories.


Each session would begin with group activities, and a discussion to share unique aspects of engagement in storytelling.  Then a number of participants would tell a story and Laura would coach these individuals, and other participants could observe.  Observing is a potent way of being coached.


The experience of the individual and group processes might give insights into the performance of stories. 


Each Class would focus on a different aspect of the storytelling process, enabling participants to gain a variety of types of insights. 




Day One.  We would work with beginnings of stories, and would explore the relationship between teller and listener.  Participants would gain access to the key element of setting a performance in motion.  All participants would be coached regarding the beginnings of their tellings.  Beginning a telling is one of the most important skills of a storyteller and supports the rest of the story that is being told, as well as the relationships with listeners.


Day Two.  We would focus on the paths of the stories -- the stories' unfolding journeys.  Maps would be made.  One's personal relationship to that journey and the possible transformations involved would be considered.  Laura would work with up to eight storytellers. 


Day Three.  This session would be a group exploration of the innate qualities of transformation.  These aspects of storytelling are not outer techniques.  They demand a great deal of preparation and thought. This is not something that could be repeated mechanically.  Rather, it is a process of gaining insight into the way in which a particular story works.  Laura would work with three storytellers and would conduct a group process concerning basics about the nature of working with "shadow" or "monster" in a story, and how that can be seen as the energy of transformation in a story that moves aggression, blockages, and obstacles to compassionate possibility.  This is an essential aspect of storytelling in today's world.


Day Four.  This session would be dedicated to seeking to understand the hearts of the stories and our relationships with them, as well as the resolutions of the stories in performance.  Laura would work with at least five storytellers.  All participants would have a chance to perform the ends of their stories.




The last fifteen minutes of each Class would be devoted to conversation and discussion.  


The intention is to deepen and expand each storyteller's performance skills and realization of the unique aspects of engaged performance. 


Workshop and Class participants are invited to dress comfortably, and to bring journals in which they could write.




About the logistics of Laura's 4-session Class.


The schedule of CSF 2020 is here.