PASSIONATE FACT WORKSHOP
STORYTELLING TRAINING WORKSHOP FOR SCIENCE, HISTORY & ENVIRONMENTAL
EDUCATORS, INTERPRETERS, RESOURCE MANAGERS, AND PARENTS
"Facts can lie as dead pieces of information on the listeners' ears. But, woven into story, they come to life. Henry Thoreau, David Attenborough and other great teachers of natural history practice an art of weaving their observations of nature into a garment of meaning and beauty that touches something deep within the human soul. This art is a story way of giving information. It is the inheritance of every naturalist and every great teacher." __ Susan Strauss
The Passionate Fact is a professional training workshop that was originally designed as a five day intensive. Since it's inception, it has been given also in the following forms:
- Lecture / demonstration.
- Half day workshop.
- Full day workshop.
- Follow up workshop.
- Two, three, four day contiguous workshop.
- Note: Portions of the four day workshop can be worked into the context of a shorter workshop__ being designed according to particular requests of an organization.
Day 1, A naturalist’s life experience holds a wealth of story material. Personal experience or anecdote is the most accessible story form for the beginner and useful in many situations. In day 1 of the workshop, participants refine a personal anecdote for use in an interpretive program, while at the same time, develop an understanding of the essential elements for developing any compelling story and a story well told. These include:
- Transforming information into image.
- Developing a sense for the “hook phrase” and ending phrase.
- Development of sensory experience.
- Building denouement and the element of mystery.
- Use of metaphoric language.
- Use of repetition.
- Use of voice, the image-making power of sounds, sound effects and dialogue.
Participants need to bring to the workshop a personally moving experience they had in or with Nature, History or Culture. Their story will be put through a series of activities that will shape and transform it __ making it ready for public telling. This journey will deepen the participants understanding of what is needed to form any compelling story, be it mythic, historic or folkloric. Other possible inclusions:
- An introduction to other story forms and their potential interpretive uses.
- Scientific writing samples that demonstrate "a story way of giving information."
- An introduction to voice work. Exploration of story forms and reinforcement of essential story elements will deepen on subsequent days.
In Day 2, the first day's basics are reinforced by learning to tell a traditional story__ more specifically: myth, folk tale, fable, parable, legend or fairy tale. Engaging with the telling of a traditional story, deepens the participant's understanding of the story crafting art as it varies in different cultural styles and has been refined over time. Participants may bring a traditional story of choice to learn or choose from a selection of tales that will be available. Also, voice and movement work from the first day will be further developed as it applies to character voice and narrative word choices. Practice techniques for memorizing stories will be introduced. Various texts of a single story will be studied to better understand the uses of language, dialogue and cultural/historic influences on a story.
In Day 3 & 4, what has been learned from the previous two days is used to transform scientific information into a story form or a "story way of giving information." Participants need to bring to the workshop a small body of specific scientific and/or historic information on a particular subject such as the geology of a specific area, a particular plant, animal or bio-region. This information will already be worked with in certain exercises on Day 1 and Day 2, so participants need to have it available for use already by Day 1. A variety of story structures will be studied. Participants will go through a process for developing a story structure for their scientific information. Model texts and recordings which illustrate how fact can be integrated with story will be studied and discussed. Movement, music, drawing and imaginative activities will be used to enhance and refine the story.
THE PASSIONATE FACT
STORYTELLING IN NATURAL HISTORY & CULTURAL INTERPRETATION
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