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


A Laura Simms Storytelling Retreat


(See Below **)

4 AUGUST   16:00pm –  11 August, 14:00pm




Friday August 25 4 pm  –  Sunday August 27 7 pm

call  212 674 3479 for RSVP  ($250 includes lunches) limited to 10



The performance of a storyteller is unique among narrative arts. The challenge of the teller is strengthening abiding presence, and increasing a realization of how a story has meaning in the enertic space between teller and listeners. Awakening this level of engagement and attunement  requires skills in dynamic embodied language, deep listening, intuition and compassion, as well as an understanding of how the structure and meaning of a story manifests in the reciprocity of the event.  Each participant brings a traditional story to work with: shorter fairy tales, pieces of epic, myth, or a great folktale is best. We will move through a process of preparing a story for an engaged performance.  Throughout we share personal stories, and conjure spontaneous poems.  The retreat is akin to a ritual event bringing us step by step into the heart of the story and our own discovery of why we are working on a specific tale.   There is always time for wandering, meditation, conversation and contemplation throughout the GARDENS AND WALKWAYS of The Unstone Grange.   one of the beautiful places of ancestral Britain.    We live in spacious and beautiful rooms,  eat garden fresh food,  and are  storied in community and the natural world.

Every day includes contemplative storytelling processes with individual critique, group activities and partnered exercises that delve into the way a mythic tale has personal resonance and meaning in the engagement of live storytelling. The retreat is potent for advanced storytellers, healers, writers, educators and business people dedicated to genuine communication and is extremely helpful for beginners as well.

The last day of the Retreat is a walk about storytelling festival, culminating in a feast and a harvest of ideas for going further.

There will be readings and journal activities leading up to the retreat and correspondence after the retreat. There is a discount of £35 for those who have attended a storytelling retreat with Laura before (more than three days in the US, or UK). COST: £460 including food, accommodation and tuition. Email Fiona in the UK  or Laura at in the US  to book a place. To confirm a place a deposit of £100 will be required.

ABOUT LAURA SIMMS –  Few storytellers today have developed a way of teaching that strengthens the specific skills of an engaged storyteller. Laura has been performing, teaching and coaching for the last 45 years worldwide. She is a senior teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of meditation and the psychology of mindfulness awareness practice. She combines both experiences with a heightened awareness of performance as ritual and spontaneous oral poetry. In the last fifteen years she has designed projects in deep listening, transformative education and healing. Laura UnlockingLaura has been the student of traditional Native American elder Vi Hilbert and has studied with Joseph Campbell,The Venerable Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche and  Pema Chodron. She often teaches with naturalist  writer Terry Tempest Williams, and her son author Ishmael Beah (ex child soldier).  She conducts workshops for NGO’s working in the aftermath of conflict and natural disaster. Laura works with large group trainings but in all instances teaches tailor made programs for her constituents and works individually, when possible.  She created and led the Storytelling Residency for 27 years in Northern California; was a Senior Research Fellow at the Urban Peace Institute for Rutgers University and  has an ongoing long distance mentor program to help prepare storytellers (in all fields) to work with story in the reciprocity of living presence. Her teaching is unforgettable, profound and its benefits are enduring.


“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

“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

“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

“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

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