Session Descriptions

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MASTER CLASS • Friday, April 28 • Separate Fee


Master Class
Transition in Eloquence

Presenter: Antonio Rocha, Maine
This session will explore and create transitions in storytelling with a creative and eloquent approach. Many storytellers tend to look down while transitioning as if searching for words, missing here a great opportunity to create memorable moments. Antonio will teach how to create eloquent works of arts with movement and/or sound during these transitions, giving the story momentum, therefore moving the plot forward while keeping the story connected to its essence. After several transitions demonstrations from my own work, Antonio will coach a few participants to demonstrate this creative process with their own work. At the end participants will be able to take home a series of ideas and techniques that will help them create memorable transitions for their own storytelling presentations. Their storytelling will never be the same.

Antonio Rocha, a native of Brazil, began his career in the performing arts in 1985. In 1988 he received a Partners of the Americas grant to come to the USA to perform and deepen his mime skills with Mime Master Tony Montanaro. Since then he has earned a Summa Cum Laude Theater BA from USM (University of Southern Maine) and studied with Master Marcel Marceau. Mr. Rocha’s unique solo shows of stories and mime have been performed from Singapore to Hawaii and many places in between including 16 countries on 6 continents. Some of the venues include The Singapore Festival of the Arts, Wolf Trap, The National Storytelling Festival, The Kennedy Center, The Smithsonian Institution, The National Geographic, The Tales of Graz in Austria, Dunya Festival in Holland as well as many other Storytelling Festivals and educational institutions around The USA. Antonio has some fun and award winning DVDs and picture book too!

The following Intensives and Workshops
are included in the Full Conference Fee or the Individual Day Fee

Session A • Friday, April 28


Lessons from Thirty-Three Years in the Field: How to Operate a Successful Storytelling Business

Presenter: Bob Kann, Wisconsin

This workshop will provide participants with strategies for expanding their business and earning a healthy financial livelihood from storytelling. Learn a proven philosophy for operating a storytelling business, how to generate work and use one lead to generate many more, how to showcase your talents, how to get your name out most effectively, how to initiate collaborative projects with non-profits or corporate sponsors, and how to negotiate with potential clients with differing financial capabilities.

Appropriate for beginning through advanced storytellers, and for anyone who wants to understand how to generate more work performing and/or successfully managing a storytelling business.

Bob has been a full-time Professional Storyteller/Juggler/Magician and Professor of Education since 1983. He travels around the USA performing in schools, libraries, performing arts centers, and other settings where children and/or families assemble. He also presents keynotes and workshops at educational and social service conferences throughout the United States on “Storytelling Techniques,” “Multicultural Storytelling,” “Creative Strategies for Motivating Students,” “Energizing Students and Teachers,” and other topics. Bob has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from UW-Madison and was a Professor of Education and taught graduate classes from 1982-2005.


Session B • Friday, April 28


Energy Dynamics in Storytelling

Presenters: Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo and Nancy Wang, Eth-Noh-Tec, California

The INSTANT the storyteller steps onto the stage… the show is “ON!” Everything counts: ones level of energy dynamics and focus can cast spell upon the crowd or break the mood. Transitions are the psychological throttles that guide the listener between scenes of a story or the shifting emotional moods of your characters. All elements (sight, sound, body placement, gestures) drive the “arc” of a story’s landscape. These are the techniques in this workshop.
Appropriate for storytellers, teachers, community program directors

Eth-Noh-Tec has performed at the National Storytelling Festival, Smithsonian Theater, and two Presidential Inaugural Celebrations. They have been awarded both the Circle of Excellence and the International Storybridge award by the NSN. Their work has also appeared on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Short Stories, Tall Tales” on PBS.

Story Work for Social Justice: An Intro to Theater of the Oppressed

Presenter: Jasmin Cardenas, Illinois

Do you find yourself wishing you could create a safe space to talk about current issues? Do you wish stories could move to a more active place where past injustices could be revisited to find future solutions? Do you want to add new games or activities to create community and vulnerability in your storytelling workshops? Come learn some Theater of the Oppressed basics to support the work you do. Dress comfortably to move.
Appropriate for storytellers working in community spaces and schools with children and/or adults. Educators, librarians, health practitioners and community activists alike will enjoy & be able to use these tools.

Jasmin Cardenas shares her experience from studying directly with Augusto Boal, training nationally and using these techniques in Chicago with inner-city youth and adults. Previously a board member of the Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, Mrs. Cardenas is a professional Storyteller, Actress and Educator.

Creating Stories by Cultivating the Art of Serendipity: Using Myth, Memory and Chance Encounters
Presenter: Judith Heineman, Illinois

Find new stories through heightened powers of observation and recognizing chance occurrences. We will use written, physical and mental warm-up exercises grounded in a theatrical framework to get your story on its feet in a fast-paced interactive safe environment. Discover how to put your own twist on a tale, incorporate music, multiple voices and trigger objects.
Appropriate for beginner and intermediate storytellers, librarians, educators

Judith Heineman is an award winning international storyteller, (Japan, England, Ireland, China), Illinois Humanities Road Scholar, Arts Council Artstour Artist, Artist-in-Education, Oracle Award recipient North Central Region. She just produced her 20th Anniversary Tellabration! in Chicago. Judith was featured at the CT Storytelling Festival and Fox Valley, IL Festival, 2016.

Be Bold, But Not Too Bold: Story Coaching
Presenter: Greg Weiss, Illinois

Looking to explore the coach/storyteller relationship? Have a story that could benefit from focused listening and feedback? This interactive workshop will present a successful system for coaching stories, with time reserved for attendees to have their own stories coached, based on the principles of the approach presented. Participants are asked to bring a story (10 minutes or less)—something new OR an old standby that could use some fresh perspective.
Appropriate for beginner through advanced storyteller, librarian, educator—anyone who wishes to explore the teller-coach dynamic from either perspective

After more than three decades as a public school theatre/storytelling teacher (now retired), Greg Weiss turns his attention full-time to story work. Whether in schools or libraries, at conferences or festivals, as a performer or facilitator, he works to maximize the storytelling experience for all present.

Session C • Saturday, April 29


Edges at the Border: Cultural Appropriation vs Innovation in Storytelling

Presenters: Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo and Nancy Wang, Eth-Noh-Tec, California

Are you interested in weaving traditional music & dance elements to create culturally rich storytelling? BUT how should one approach ethnic traditions different from own heritage? Warning: we tread on dangerous sharp edges! Where does the line draw between embellishment and going “too far” (bastardizing and cultural appropriation)? This workshop, both playful and participatory will guide into a respectful approach (Eth-Noh-Tec will show examples of their Pan-Asian as a starting point for discussion).
Appropriate for storytellers, teachers, community program directors

Eth-Noh-Tec has performed at the National Storytelling Festival, Smithsonian Theater, and two Presidential Inaugural Celebrations. They have been awarded both the Circle of Excellence and the International Storybridge award by the NSN. Their work has also appeared on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Short Stories, Tall Tales” on PBS.

Words and Music
Presenter: Rosie Best-Cutrer, Kansas

In this workshop you will see that you don’t need to know how to play an instrument or read music to make beautiful music. Participants will explore the sounds, rhythms and flow of folktales and identify places where music can be incorporated. We will also explore different ideas that will help you make up your own story songs.
Appropriate for beginner and intermediate storytellers, educators, librarians

Rosie has performed for innumerable schools, libraries and festivals throughout the Midwest. For three years running she has performed her original songs at The Walnut Valley Music Festival and two of her CDs have won awards for best musical storytelling CDs for younger and older children.

Be Loud, Be Loud, But Not Too Loud
Presenter: Simon Brooks, New Hampshire

Sometimes at a performance you see people in the front few rows cower, whilst people at the back can’t hear. A performance does NOT have to be like this. Some people do not know which microphone is best for them. Others do not know how to use a PA effectively for a public speaking, magic, puppet, or storytelling performance. Learn how to maximize your voice, without blasting the front row to the back row.
Appropriate for anyone who needs help with setting up and using a PA system and microphone proficiently.

Simon Brooks, investigates, educates & fascinates with story. Growing up close to Wales, Simon is imbued with story. Beginning his career in 1991 and became a professional in 2003 he entrances young and old. Simon combines the intensity of solo performance with the intimacy of face-to-face conversations, delighting all.

Intro to Telling Stories
Presenter: Yvonne Healy, Michigan

Gain the skills and confidence to let your storytelling escape the page and fly in public. Play interactive games, participate in casual discussion, and develop expressive presentations. You’ll leave with 1-2 stories ready to share at a story swap plus the tools to develop stories on your own.
Appropriate for beginner storytellers

Award-winning performer for more than 40 years, Yvonne Healy is also an author and artist-educator in state, regional and national programs. Yvonne teaches storytelling and performing skills to adults and children, novices and professionals, in elementary through college and post-graduate programs. Students enjoy developing their own innate skills through Yvonne’s innovative combination of theatre games and interactive approaches.

Session D • Saturday, April 29


Patterns in Stories, Finding Them and Creating Stories from Them
Presenter: Maureen Korte, Iowa

Stories, like dresses, and houses have patterns or blueprints. Once you find the patterns you can create stories quickly and easily. When you learn about the sequencing of events in stories you will be able to tell stories without mistakes. We will show you the six basic elements of a story and how they form patterns. You will then create stories. You will leave this workshop with new stories to tell.
Appropriate for beginner and intermediate storytellers, librarians, educators, faith, healing arts, camp leaders, students, writers, parents

Maureen, a seasoned storyteller, actress, playwright and theater director/producer, uses characterization, accent, and movement in story. She travels worldwide, hiring and telling. She teaches for Universities, schools, businesses, lawyers, clergy, educators, medical professionals, and in prisons. She works with the grieving, dying, and disabled, and does commission work.

Story Evolution By Way of Creative Selection

Presenter: Ingrid Nixon, Washington

Are you sure that only the fittest and finest crafting choices remain in your stories when you finally perform them? In this highly interactive workshop, we will explore creative approaches to generate a diversity of ideas that will help your stories develop in myriad dimensions. Then, you can choose the most effective ideas that serve your story and the audience, so your stories will evolve from good to unforgettable!
Appropriate for beginner to intermediate storytellers

Ingrid Nixon is a world-traveling storyteller. Her creative approaches help make traditional and personal stories relevant for audiences, including those at the National Storytelling Festival. She’s a champion liar and slam winner. A National Park Service ranger in Alaska for many years, she currently hails from Washington State.

Beyond The Voice

Presenter: Antonio Rocha, Maine

This workshop focuses on individual creativity with the use of body language and mime techniques along to make the invisible visible, therefore creating atmosphere, character and seamless transitions. Studies prove that body language accounts to more than 70% of how we communicate, what we say has very little to do with it. Antonio’s 20+ years of experience as a mime, actor and storyteller will guide you with care through these discoveries. This is a participatory session, filled with fun and movement. Learn how to explore these tools in a fun and safe environment and your stories will never be the same.
Appropriate for storytellers at all levels

Antonio Rocha, a native of Brazil, began his career in the performing arts in 1985. In 1988 he received a Partners of the Americas grant to come to the USA to perform and deepen his mime skills with Mime Master Tony Montanaro. Since then he has earned a Summa Cum Laude Theater BA from USM (University of Southern Maine) and studied with Master Marcel Marceau. Mr. Rocha’s unique solo shows of stories and mime have been performed from Singapore to Hawaii and many places in between including 16 countries on 6 continents.

Once Upon a Time in Olde Timey Town: Telling at Historic Sites

Presenter: Mary Schmidt, Kansas

“Happily Ever After” can happen when storytellers and historic sites work together. We know storytelling can reach audiences beyond artifacts, buildings and clothing. This session will explore some guidelines when working with historic sites. Information from a regional conference (Annual MOMCC/Mountain Plains ALHFAM – Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums) will be shared. What do historic sites want/need from storytellers? Come ready to share your experiences, suggestions and questions.
Appropriate for beginner and intermediate storytellers, educators, healing arts, historical sites

Mary L. Schmidt, raised in Minnesota, now calls Kansas home. She shops/tells stories through “Playing Dress-Up: The Stories and Clothes of Our Lives” and works at the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm. Mary volunteers at the National WWI Museum, Shawnee Town 1929, Missouri Town 1855, and Arts & AGEing KC.

Session E • Saturday, April 29


Walking Fields and Streets to Find Poems and Stories

Presenters: Loren Niemi and Lou Ann Homan, Minnesota & Indiana

This workshop does two things to encourage our creative process. The first is to actually (consciously) walk through the environment to put our bodies in motion, open our senses, and invite memory and imagination. The second is to craft stories and poems from that experience of being in the world with structuring prompts and examples from the workshop instructors, as well as a easy-process handout to use at home, work or in the classroom.
Appropriate for any level of storyteller or writer – also teachers, ministers, counselors

Loren Niemi is innovative storyteller, published poet, producer of the award winning, Two Chairs Telling spoken word series, as well as the author of The New Book of Plots and co-author with Elizabeth Ellis of the critically acclaimed Inviting the Wolf In: Thinking About Difficult Stories.

Lou Ann Homan is a writer, a teacher, a storyteller and a professor at Trine University in the Humanities and Communication Department. Her storytelling skills have twice brought her a Frank Basile Emerging Stories Fellowship grant, and two commissioned pieces from the Indiana Landmarks Commission.

Storytelling and the Culturally Relevant Classroom

Presenter: Susan O’Halloran, Illinois

Students don’t learn unless they feel they belong. Yet, many educators find themselves facing a classroom of students from diverse backgrounds speaking multiple languages. How do you engage these students and help them feel they are seen and valued? We will explore how to connect the Common Core with your students’ family and community cultures as well as the wider social context in which they live.
Appropriate for educators and storytellers working in schools

Susan O’Halloran is a story artist, writer, television personality and keynote speaker. Her stories focus on family, a sense of place, history, race relations as well as other social issues of today. She has taught seminars for over 40 years including diversity and inclusion seminars in Fortune 500 companies, Graduate Schools of Business, Colleges and Universities plus high school and elementary school districts. She is also designer and facilitator of corporate training programs in personal and business development for Door International, London, England.

Joining In: Audience Participation Stories

Presenter: Fran Stallings, Oklahoma

Storytelling is more than words! Worldwide, traditional tellers often invite listeners’ active participation with bodies, voices, and minds. Learn-by-doing a variety of these “Joining In” stories that involve all the members of your audience. We’ll discuss how, when (and whether) to add participation into a story. Then create your own tradition: develop your own JI version of a short fable.
Appropriate for all who tell to/with groups

Fran Stallings began involving listeners in her stories when she had to keep her little brothers “from killin’ each other.” She has kept on inviting listeners to reinforce verbal/visual imagination by their own gesture and voice. She works nationwide and overseas, leaping language barriers with audience participation.

The Narrator: A Mysterious Character in our Stories

Presenter: Susan Stone, Illinois

Whether a personal tale or a traditional one, the narrator makes an appearance. Who is she/he? What is her opinion about the action in the tale? Is he giving information or subtly making us view the story in a different way? We all, experienced or not, are in search of the right voice for our narrators. Come and play and learn who this mysterious character is. Play …and be reminded.
Appropriate for all storytellers

A storyteller for over 30 years, Susan has been a teacher of improv, story theatre and acting as well as an adjunct faculty at National Louis University teaching storytelling to educators. She has performed all over the country and in Poland. Her CD’s have won Parents’ Choice Gold and Storytelling World Awards. She is the Founder and Co-director of the Evanston Public Library Storytelling Festival.

Session F • Saturday, April 29


Storytelling – Purposeful, Spontaneous and Playful

Presenter: Christine Carlton, Australia

Much has been written about the benefits of storytelling being purposeful and persuasive, yet the power of spontaneous and playful storytelling has often been undervalued. With a sense of play and spontaneity participants in this workshop will be invited to stretch their imagination to develop their creativity, spontaneity and flexibility as storytellers. We will look at the power of Story to educate, entertain, build community, foster creativity and transform lives and business.
Appropriate for all, especially classroom teachers and librarians

Christine Carlton, Australian Storyteller and Education Consultant travels throughout Australia and internationally. She offers workshops for teachers, children, adult storytellers, tertiary students, community groups and organisations to enable them to tap into their creativity and give voice to their stories whether they be true, tall or traditional tales.

Panel Discussion
The Whole Truth
Panelists: Jeff Doyle, Loren Niemi, Laura Packer

Tellers often struggle with the concept of truth in their stories. Must our stories be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Or is it okay to lie a little? Proposed discussion topics include defining absolute truth and emotional truth, using facts and invented facts, envisioning what our duty is as storytellers, and examining our stories from an audience perspective.
Appropriate for beginning and experienced storytellers

Jeff Doyle is a humorist who tells funny personal stories, twisted fairytales and legends.
Laura Packer is a dynamic storyteller, a thoughtful coach, an experienced teacher and a skilled writer.
Loren Niemi has spent more than a quarter century creating, collecting, performing and teaching stories to audiences of all ages.

Fringe Performance
Gimpel the Fool
Madeline Pots
, Florida
Is it foolish to believe that all things are possible?  Gimple responds to the trickery and deceit foisted upon him, with complete faith. The story was written by Isaac Bashevis Singer who received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

See Fringe page for more information


Story Swap
Legacy Stories
Host: Mike Speller, Illinois

A 5 to 10-minute opportunity to share the story you have performed, the one story you hope lives beyond you: personal favorite, audience fave, tribute to a friend, etc.



Session G • Sunday, April 30


How You Say It

Presenter: Pippa White, Nebraska

Successful storytelling requires two things: a great story, and great delivery. In this workshop we will look at some theatre techniques that provide richness, power and excitement to the vocal part of your performance. These techniques include phrasing, emphasis, and the dynamics we can use to make our delivery memorable and effective, individual and vibrant.
Appropriate for beginning storytellers

Pippa White has been telling stories since 1994. She calls her story work “part theatre, part storytelling and part history.” She uses oral histories to craft story performances that are unique, dramatic, fascinating and true.

Story Swap
Pocket Stories
Host: Jeff Doyle, Michigan

What is your “go to” story when you’re in a pinch? Would you be willing to share it with other storytellers and allow them tell it elsewhere? We are looking for stories 5-10 minutes in length. When you tell at this swap, participants then have permission to tell your story elsewhere. It’s a unique opportunity to share our knowledge and insure the continued tradition of storytelling. Please come listen and share. All stories shared must be in the public domain or your original creation.

CONFABULATE: to talk informally
A Conversation with Antonio Rocha

Enjoy a casual conversation with our featured guest, Antonio Rocha. Bring your questions!