Why Learn Storytelling?
Human beings are storytelling animals. Our understanding of the world is based on the stories we construct to explain ourselves. From these, cultures grow. We first learn through stories as children. We continue to make emotional connections through the stories we hear as young adults, in whatever medium we encounter them. And whether it’s a TV show you like today or the saga of a sports team, we are continuously seeing, hearing, and reacting to stories in our environment.
We at Candlelit Tales believe in the power of storytelling and mythology, and we believe in giving you the tools to harness that power to engage, inspire, and leave your listeners with a lasting memory, no matter what story you tell them. Learning how to tell stories increases your ability to think narratively and absorb information more easily. It also helps you to construct a coherent linear chain of information, which makes it easier for people to absorb complex information.
Whether you are talking in presentations, conferences, on the phone, or at a loved one’s celebration, learning the skills of storytelling will increase your overall confidence in public speaking, and help you perform to your best.
Our highly practical workshops use a combination of game-based learning, practical exercises, and archetypal narrative structures to hone the skills needed to tell a compelling story. We focus on five key components of performance (listed in the modules below), and learn about story analysis in conjunction with these skills. Delving into narratives from Irish myth, we guide participants through the modules to apply all of their learnings with immediate effect.
We create a warm, dynamic, energetic atmosphere where participants are encouraged to learn by doing, with no fear of failure and no judgments. We want people to feel secure in experimenting with this new material. We encourage learning these skills while practicing fun and lively stories.
As well as the core narratives of Irish Myth, we will also work on personal and improvised stories, giving participants an opportunity to play with, adapt, and retell a wide range of tales. The structures of mythic stories are fundamentally simple, and provide a wide canvas for participants to bring their own interests and ideas, and elaborate on the perspectives that are most interesting to them. Irish myths exist in fragmentary and contradictory forms, and through this course, students will learn to distill disparate information into a satisfying, cohesive story.
Each week we will focus on these fundamental aspects of Story. We start each class with a short lecture on one of these aspects and we will use interactive games and exercises to apply these theoretical concepts to real stories.
These includes lectures on:
- Story Structure
- The 7 Plot Theory
- The Biochemistry of story
- Narrative Analysis Explained
As we learn the course covers five key modules, tailored to address the areas that are particularly useful for people. We end the course with a performance of an Irish Myth from each participant, that we will help them to select, which helps give people something to aim for and a real sense of accomplishment after we finish the course.
The 5 performance components we focus on are:
- Improvisation and Adaptability
- Physicality and Engagement
- Breath, Voice, and Communication
- Personalisation and Collaboration
Improvisation and Adaptability
Using tools and games developed to teach improvisational skills to actors and performers, the participants will learn to think on their feet, adapt to anything, and incorporate random elements into their narratives. We cannot account for how things happen in real life, and even with the best laid plans, or finely combed scripts, something can come out of left field and we must be able to adapt to that.
Learning to be in the moment when you are speaking is key, and you will learn to take the unanticipated in stride.
Physicality and Engagement
An integral part of any performance or presentation is how we present ourselves physically. Body language consists of roughly 80% communication. We are trained from a young age to pick up on subtle cues that help us analyse situations and people quickly.
To perform, we must learn how to best make use of the body as a tool for communication. Participants will be guided through ways of building rapport with an audience,, and learning how to best present themselves before even beginning to speak.
Mechanics of Voice
In storytelling, the voice is the most important tool. This module focuses on the mechanical aspects of voice, starting with the breath and where the voice comes from. Learning useful practical tools allows us to calm ourselves before performances or public speaking.
We will also target diction, projection, and modulation, as well as the dramatic scope of variation to convey the emotions of a good story.
Personalisation and Collaboration
In storytelling, we embroider, personalise, improvise, and play with the narrative, so that the same story is renewed no matter how many times it is told.
This module integrates all of the learnings from the previous three, and gets participants to think through how they can apply these skills practically in their work, putting their own personal spin on any story..
Recall and Collaboration
Storytellers learn to listen to a huge amount of information, and to look for the narrative structure underlying the information. With this comes a facility to get to the heart of the matter, and find the essence of what is being communicated.
Participants swap stories, and retell them back to the class. With practice, participants begin to uncover the narrative patterns that allow them to remember the story, and not become lost in the detail.
We will guide participants through an overview of the four main branches of Irish Mythology. Each participant will choose which story, cycle, or character most speaks to them, and that story will become their material for the rest of the course. We will provide sources and study material for participants to find out more about their chosen area, and over the rest of the course, they will work on their own version of the story, taking it from a different angle or perspective each week, and culminating in a performance of their “definitive” version at the end of the course. This gives an introduction to Irish myths, a window into where to find them, and an opportunity to do a deep-dive into the aspect of Irish myth that most excites you.
Who Delivers the Workshops
Aron Hegarty is an actor, storyteller and teacher. He has a Masters in Drama and Theatre Studies from NUIG, and has enjoyed an acting career that has led him to performing in Theatres such as The Abbey, The Gaiety and Smock Alley Theatre Dublin, as well as various TV and film roles. He works as an instructor with the City of Dublin Education and Training Board, giving classes in drama, improvisation, storytelling, and creative writing, and often working with marginalised groups. Aron has a passion for storytelling and the performing arts that is only outweighed by his passion for sharing what he loves with others.
After her degree in English and Spanish in Trinity, Sorcha travelled and worked as a ESL teacher in Latin America for a few years. After her return to Ireland, she worked in the corporate world as a branding consultant. Through this work with ADL she cast her eye at world mythologies and how to rework scripts for different cultures. This led her to teaching a course in Griffith College on story analysis for three years, where she formulated her teaching style.
Sorcha has also worked closely with Aron on constructing a Storytelling Course for My Streets, a social enterprise where people who have experienced homelessness are re-trained as tour guides and storytellers in their own right.
These workshops and training sessions will be done over a course of 12 hours online, in six sessions.
Each class consists of a two-hour Zoom class over six weeks.
The workshop relies heavily on practical exercises, with participants learning through practical exercises. While we record the sessions for review, participation is essential.
Two Candlelit Tales Facilitators delivering Storytelling Sessions who are available to give feedback and corrections outside of class hours.
Attendees are required to record stories each week in preparation for the classes in order to learn the material adequately.
We are aware that times are difficult at the moment so if you are interested in taking part in this course but you are experiencing any financial difficulties right now, please get in touch and we can talk about a sliding scale!