Purpose: To provide an opportunity for storytellers of all experience levels to gather as peers and work on their storytelling art. While most participants choose to work on the development of specific stories, participants have also worked on workshop revisions, promotional pieces, course curriculum, showcase presentations, and other related topics.
How: Each storyteller participating in a WOW Weekend is guaranteed the same amount of time (one hour minimum) for the group to focus their attention on the teller’s work. Using an artist-centered process (based on the work of Doug Lipman and Liz Lerman), each participant uses the collective wisdom of the group in service to the artist’s work. Mary and Cynthia serve as co-facilitators, helping the artist effectively use the artist-centered process and helping the group stay focused on the process. They also each take a turn like any other participant. WOW Weekends are limited to eight participants including Mary and Cynthia.
Event location: Storyteller’s Riverhouse, Bethlehem, Indiana. Storytellers stay in the same house and eat together throughout the weekend. This arrangement enhances group development and strengthens relationships.
Schedule: We gather on Friday evening for a meal, begin work on Saturday, and complete our work together on Sunday by 3:00 p.m.
Event History: Begun in 2001, we facilitated fourteen WOW Weekends by the end of 2003. We currently offer four WOW Weekends per year. These are frequently sold out months in advance.
Budget: Fee of $120 total per participant, includes lodging and food from Friday supper through Sunday lunch. $30 non-refundable deposit required to reserve space. Our expenses are lodging, food, and food preparation.
Target Audience: The storytelling community – WOW participants have come from Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, Kansas, Florida, and North Dakota.
What distinguishes this event from similar storytelling events?
Most storytelling weekends utilize the services of a workshop leader – we do not. Participants set the topic for their turns. Conventional storytelling coaching wisdom says all participants must be performing at the same level and must know each other prior to forming a group in order to foster artistic growth. We’ve discovered strangers with varied levels of expertise can come together and successfully assist one another when given a solid process and a safe atmosphere.
Scheherazade’s Legacy is the storytelling production partnership of Cynthia Changaris and Mary Hamilton. In addition to their partnership, Mary and Cynthia have individual freelance storytelling careers and forty years combined storytelling experience.