The Twenty-Seventh Annual
**Postponed until August 2013**
The hunger for stories is considerable. People are starving for them. The reason stories are not listened to is that the story making is not a rational process. You can’t go to school, as people pretend, and learn how to write a story. You can’t learn it because it comes out of the totality of the human spirit.
—Sir Laurens Van der Post
The Laura Simms Residency is a unique training in the art of storytelling as compassionate action into the world. This year she is joined by energy and movement specialist and storyteller Mary Platt. For six days, participants undergo a thorough and deeply personal exploration of the skills and awareness needed by a storyteller to create the profound reciprocity and benefit of spoken narrative. The emphasis is on each student developing and strengthening authentic voice, presence, and understanding of the special ways in which one prepares a story for a living performance that brings benefit and goes beyond reliance on content alone for meaning.
“It is a rare opportunity…I came away with a heightened reverence for the gifts that stories and their teller have to offer the world, and how hungry the world is to receive them.” Milbre Burch, NC
Throughout the week participants combine a study of the structure, meaning and techniques of the living storytelling event with movement, mindfulness awareness meditation, and mythic perspective following a step by step uncovering of how a story comes to life in its fullness through the energy and voice of each storyteller in relationship to audience. The following activities are basic to our work: meditation, body-based awareness work, space-awareness, research and discussion, story practice in groups and embodied voice. Each participant develops a single story of their choice while creating personal narrative and spontaneous poems. There are master classes and individual critique daily. In addition, we will spend time each day engaged in body/mind/breath-awareness practices from the yoga tradition, which allow us to sense the transmutation of energy within our own bodies; to directly experience and embody the energetics of symbolic language.
“In and amongst the learning that revealed itself for months later, the laughter and spontaneous love that springs from intense ‘communal’ times, there was indeed transformation” Helena Kaufman, Canada
The residency is relevant to storytellers, writers, professional coaches and speakers, leaders and educators, healers and lovers of tales and individual transformation. Beginners or advanced students or professionals find benefit and thorough enjoyment. The Residency is deep but incredibly filled with delight and revelation. There is ample time for wandering and restorative time.
The residency culminates in a daylong celebration held throughout the 65-acre Oakwood Friends School campus, in the heart of upstate New York’s gorgeous Hudson Valley. All meals are eaten together in an airy dining hall and are nutritious and natural. Participants live in single or double rooms in a dormitory, with a small common kitchen and lounge area. (Lodging in a nearby hotel can be arranged by special request.)
“Our day of performance was like no other I have ever experienced…it was the most holy human expression I have ever had the joy of participating in!” Terralea Allen, WA
Areas of emphasis include:
A process of story preparation How meaning is made manifest beyond text The nature of story, mind, and image The healing power of spoken image The storyteller as educator, performer, healer, peacemaker The role and responsibility of the storyteller The mythic dimension in every tale Honoring the past; benefiting audience in the present Thinking like a storyteller Meditation instruction Body-based exploration of the energy of archetypes.
“I love the combination of meditation, physical movement, and intense work on one story. Every story I’ve chosen has revealed something completely unexpected about me, about it, and about the world.” Colin McNaughton, MI
Laura Simms is a masterful teacher and world renowned performing artist and writer devoted to perpetuating compassionate storytelling as a reciprocal art form, combining the best of contemplative arts and theater training, traditional storytelling, and mythic thinking. She is devoted to individual and community transformation through “Regenerative Storytelling.” She has appeared throughout the world. Recently she performed RECONCILED IN THE BOOKS OF SECRETS at Universities in five countries and The Barbican Theater in London. Laura works internationally training educators, humanitarian aid workers and artists to use storytelling for healing and community transformation in post conflict and disaster areas. She is an award winning author and recording artist. She is the director of the Gaindeh Project (presently working in Haiti) and serves on many boards. She is a senior teacher of Shambhala Meditation and Arts. Laura’s most recent book, OUR SECRET TERRITORY: The Essence of Storytelling is a finalist for this years’ Best Book by Foreword Review. This is the 27th year she has taught her methodology as The Storytelling Residency.
Mary Rachel Platt has been practicing meditation and yoga for over 40 years. She is a nationally certified yoga instructor (E-RYT 500) and a certified Yoga Therapist (PYT 500). A professional storyteller since 1989 and long-time student of Laura’s, Mary has performed nationally and internationally. She is a graduate of the School of Playback Theater (an improvisational theater form of personal stories), and former playback actor. Currently, she uses folk tales and myths to enhance her teaching, and internally-focused movement to explore the energetics of archetypes. Mary is the director of Peaceful Postures Yoga Center at Oakwood Friends School, where she teaches classes for kids, adolescents and adults, and works privately with yoga therapy clients.
PAYMENT AND DETAILS
THE RESIDENCY IS LIMITED TO 18 Participants
The cost of the Residency is $950 including all meals and room. For an additional cost, rooms are available at nearby motels.
If one pays in full before June 15, there is a reduced fee of $850
Those who have taken a Residency before receive an additional discount of $50.
A payment schedule can be arranged, but is not discounted: Please contact Laura Simms directly to discuss your needs.
There is one partial scholarship in exchange for working on assisting leaders in administrative work during the week.
Checks (made out to Laura Simms) or PAYPAL
$250 non-refundable deposit plus two payments of $350 each
Full payment (with discount, if paid by June 15). Includes $250 non-refundable deposit.
Special arrangements and scholarship available through discussion.
If coming from outside the US we can offer direct banking information to simplify and lessen expense of international exchange
Materials for Preparation, suggested reading list, travel information, as well as information about the area Upstate and rooming options will be sent in early July.