Finding, Writing, Telling: Making Stories from Your Memories

This workshop is all about uncovering and writing stories from your own life. It's for storytellers who want to write stories that they can tell orally, and it's for people who want to write a narrative of their lives as a gift for their families.
The workshop starts with exercises that help in finding story ideas. Then it flows to exercises that help mine that topic for interesting details. It then moves naturally into writing the story. But that's not all-the next piece is exploring ways to flesh out the story so it can be revised into a satisfying piece of work. Sprinkled in along the way are some simple ways to warm up for the whole creative process. Some of the exercises and brainstorming and follow-up are done as a group, and some are done individually. We use verbal and written techniques. Each section of the workshop builds on what went before, so participants feel ready for each new step along the way.



With Character! Quick but sure-fire tricks and techniques for creating characters for storytelling

Part of the fun of storytelling is that the teller can switch back and forth between several different characters while telling a story. The teller's body and voice are the building blocks of those characters, so during this workshop, we start with an exercise that demonstrates how body position directly affects the voice. Then we experiment with how to find characterization ideas from photographs, from walking in a variety of postures, and from altering speech patterns. Finally, each person applies some of these techniques to a folktale (copies of which are provided as part of the workshop), and shares with a partner, so that everyone goes home with a new story they've told and techniques they can continue to use in the future.



Puppets in a Twinkling:  Making Puppets with Limited Time and Materials

During this workshop participants learn to make the simplest of puppets, such as sock and glove puppets, stick puppets, paper and handkerchief puppets, and found-object puppets. They see examples of all these types of homemade puppets and they make several puppets. They go home with patterns and instructions so they can make more, plus they have a bibliography of resources for finding more ideas and techniques. After the workshop they will be able to include these puppets in their storytelling as characters in stories or as narrators or masters of ceremonies for their programs. If they do workshops or classroom work with children, some of these puppets can be made by the children as extensions after hearing stories.  



Research, Learn, You're On! Building New Programs

You've been asked to tell stories for children, but the site wants a theme you haven't done before. This workshop gives you ways to find new material and alter stories you already know to fit the new theme. Participants see and hear examples of many story elements (such as songs, fingerplays, drawn stories, folded stories, dances, and puppets). As a group, participants build a new program during the workshop. Everyone goes home with handouts containing copies of some of these stories, fingerplays and extension ideas, plus a bibliography of the tools for finding these ingredients for any topic that comes up in the future



Leap Into Storytelling

One of the biggest fears people have is of talking in public. This workshop is a gentle introduction to the pleasures of storytelling. Participants hear stories. They exchange story fragments with partners. They get energized with some warm-up storytelling exercises. Finally, in groups they read short, simple stories and are led in an easy-to-learn technique to the point where they can retell a story themselves in an encouraging environment. All this and more in a workshop 1 to 2 hours long!



Reveling in Masks

Have you ever noticed how prevalent masks are in American culture, from wedding veils to Zorro's eye mask? Their roots go back to ancient Greek and Asian theatre! This hands-on class brings out the playful and evocative nature of understanding and making masks. Participants connect folklore with their own stories, and then create their own masks with easily-grasped techniques.


  • Participants will go home with one written story and two masks they've created
  • Participants will have a clearer understanding of masks in worldwide cultures
  • Participants will see how, rather than obscuring who we are, masks actually reveal different sides of our lives and personalities

This class is designed to be 3 sessions of 2 hours each but can be adapted to the needs of specific groups.



Telling Tales of History

Participants watch and hear portions of stories from history. They then learn the process of researching facts and thinking about these facts as story. They try out several ways of approaching history as story, from tableaus (freezes) to simple poetry. Then the group is given information about a historical character, and led to figuring out the who, what, where, and when of a setting for their own version of the story. They are guided through ways of thinking about what the people in their story might have thought and felt. Finally, in groups they apply what they've learned, figuring out how to present the story to the rest of the group. By the end, it is clear how history comes alive if you add Gardner's Multiple Intelligences (verbal, logical, visual, physical, musical, extrovert, and introvert).


To contact Lynn Ruehlmann
Phone: (757) 625-6742

About Lynn | Curriculum | Healing Stories | Press Kit | Recordings | Stories / Articles
Teacher Guides | Workshops | Book | Masks | Contact | Home

© 2016 Cascade Productions. All rights reserved.