Friday, February 15, 2013

Storytelling Workshop with Tim Lowry

Recently I was among 24 storytellers who attended a storytelling workshop at the Ft. Caswell Baptist Assembly, just south of Wilmington.  Our workshop leader, Tim Lowry conducted an educational, yet fun workshop, complete with many helpful exercises and activities. 
Tim's telling of two historical stories was absolutely fascinating.  He explained that he incorporates them in his school residencies to teach students the importance of history and the understanding of history.  In addition, he emphasized how the two World Wars continue to affect our lives as they are today.  
As he told the stories he invited several of us to play the parts of various world leaders.  Each of us wore a different guise to signify the specific country we represented.  I quickly saw how this activity involving students could enhance and enliven history for the classroom.  My boring old textbooks would never have compared to learning history through lively, exciting storytelling like this. 
Another group activity involved all workshop participants.  Tim directed us to pay attention to how we use our voice by taking part in a play.  He selected a couple of acts from three plays with enough parts for everyone.  This activity demonstrated how important it is for storytellers to understand feelings of emotion portrayed in a story when performed on stage. 
The more my group practiced we began to perceive first hand the meaning of this exercise.  After each practice session I realized how we became more and more comfortable with our parts.  Each person’s speaking part was beginning to sound more and more real, as if the scene was actually happening.  The highlight came Sunday morning as our three groups took turns reading, acting and feeling the emotion of our parts in the company of the entire group.  We were amazed at how powerful each play had become. 
      When I returned home I was so inspired by the workshop that I selected two history topics and began to research them.  I’m presently researching ‘powder monkeys’ and ‘German U-Boats along North Carolina’s Outer Banks’ during World War II.
I may decide to change the focus I have in mind, but I’m having an exciting time as I work on this new material.  If the research leads me down an unintended path, this was meant to be.  My goal is to write and add two engaging stories of North Carolina history to my repertoire for use in the classroom.