It is safe to say that everyone has a story to tell. It’s also safe to say that some are better storytellers than others. The folks at The Moth, an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling, has dedicated itself to giving everyone the tools they need to tell their story, and tell it well.
The MothSHOP Storytelling Workshop on Martha’s Vineyard takes place from August 14th – 17th with a final performance on Saturday, August 18th. The Moth receives hundreds of requests a year to hold storytelling workshops all over the country. Until now, the Moth has limited offering these workshops to large organizations and underserved populations.
Writers and seasonal residents Bliss Broyard and Adam Mansbach both spend summers writing on the Vineyard. Recently, they decided to pool their expertise, as well as bring in the expertise of others, and created Stone Farm Workshop - a place where Island residents and visitors can work with high-level instructors in creative writing and storytelling with an eye toward creating work ready for presentation to publishing professionals.
According to Broyard, “We are interested in helping to cultivate a vibrant literary community on the Island, to connect residents and visitors passionate about writing and storytelling with top notch instructors with significant publications and teaching experience. We hope by next summer to have workshop offerings in fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry, and welcome input about the kinds of offerings or opportunities island writers would like to see.”
This summer, Broyard and Mansbach were able to convince the folks at the Moth to offer their first workshop ever open to the public on Martha’s Vineyard. “It is a testimony, I think, to the beauty of the island and to its reputation as being home to many good storytellers,” said Broyard.
The MothShop Storytelling workshop teaches participants how to find and craft a five-minute personal story from their lives. They’ll learn the Moth’s seven principles of storytelling, they’ll workshop their stories and receive feedback, and tell their stories—without notes—in a final performance of friends and family on August 18th at the in Oak Bluffs.
“Everyone has many stories to tell, but not everyone is a natural raconteur. The principles of storytelling help the teller identify a compelling beginning to draw the listener in, to find the narrative arc, which keeps people engaged, and to move toward a clear and powerful conclusion. The principles of storytelling also help the teller root his or her tale in a specific world, with vibrant settings and vivid characters, so the audience may enter that world with the teller and experience it as he or she did,” explained Broyard.
Broyard has worked with the Moth directors on five different stories she’s performed on the Moth main stage over the past twelve years. The first time she told the story that became her bestselling memoir, “One Drop: My Father’s Hidden Life — A Story of Race and Family Secrets” was on the Moth stage in 1999. “It was their second year maybe, and they were looking for people who had stories on the theme of identity. The show was called: Who do you think you are? And someone I knew, knew the director and passed along my name as someone who might have a good story on the theme. Telling the story gave me a chance to see if I could frame it and how it felt to share it. I never before realized that your knees really do knock when you are incredibly scared. But it was incredibly exhilarating and it gave me the courage and confidence to write a proposal for a memoir project and I had a contract to write the book a few months later.”
Moth shows are renowned for the great range of human experience they showcase. Each show starts with a theme, and the storytellers explore it, often in unexpected ways. Since each story is true and every voice authentic, the shows dance between documentary and theater, creating a unique, intimate, and often enlightening experience for the audience.
Facilitators for the workshop are Kate Tellers, Producer and Director of MothSHOP, and Meg Bowles, Curatorial Producer for the Moth. Strictly limited to twelve participants, the cost for the four-day workshop is $550 and includes one ticket to the sold out show of the Moth at the , Monday August 13th.
For more information or to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.