Beyond Storytelling 101
Have you been telling stories for some time already and wondered how you can improve your storytelling skills? If yes, then Beyond Storytelling 101 is for you! Beyond Storytelling 101 aims to enhance participants’ ability to adapt stories for telling and to hone their delivery skills over 12 hours of coaching.
- How to choose and adapt stories for performance
- Telling for children vs. telling for adults
- Vocal skills: speech clarity, projection, expressiveness
- Presentation skills: awareness of body language, use of gestures, working with props/visual aids
- Rehearsal skills: regarding different methods of preparation
- Performance skills: physical & vocal warm-ups, how to overcome nerves, coping with gaffes
- Participants who are able to communicate fluently in English are welcome.
- Please come dressed in loose, comfortable clothing so that you will not feel constricted while doing the various breathing and vocal exercises.
- Please have ready 2 stories that you would like to learn to tell or to improve the telling of.
- Please make available a fair-sized room that can easily accommodate all the workshop participants and the facilitator (seated in a circular formation). Please make sure that any other tables and chairs are stored against the wall or outside the room so that the participants have space to move freely about the space when they do the various exercises.
- Please make sure that the room has been vacuumed thoroughly before the workshop. The participants will be doing deep breathing exercises; thus a dusty environment would not be conducive at all.
- Please provide a large whiteboard and pens as well as access to computer/computer projection to show PowerPoint slides.
- Please make copies of handouts that will be emailed to prior to the workshop.
What aspects of this workshop benefitted you the most?
“The tools given to improve breathing, change voice, tone and volume at the right time, articulation and intonation. Awareness of our body movements, facial expressions and body language. Exchange of constructive criticism coming from you and fellow students. Handouts with relevant information. Useful voice and facial exercises, standing positions. Thank you very much for teaching us all these wonderful new things.”
“Preparing our voice, using the exercise and projection of voice, warming up the body. Crafting the story, having a clear storyline. Knowing when to dramatise, when to hold back. Enjoying the story while telling! I think the last exercise, of using a personal anecdote to craft a story was an eye-opener. The workshop has been very rewarding and helpful.”
“The correct alignment, voice observations, & exercises. The different process for storytelling, the different techniques. What I learnt is very helpful. And there’s so much more to learn.”
“The technique. The perspective. It opened up a new world of characters, perspectives, control & discipline of telling a story.”
“I feel that I greatly benefited from the vocal skills training. The training taught us how to explore our articulators and I have gained a greater awareness of how I can manipulate my voice for more effective telling. It was a very enjoyable series of sessions that I believe have greatly helped me hone my craft, particularly in the use of intonation, gestures and body language. It was also humbling as it made me realise how much more there is to learn about the storytelling craft, how to engage the audience and bring them into the world of story. You are an excellent coach. Thank you, Verena!”
“Your frank assessment of my presentation makes me want to be a better storyteller… I am grateful and thankful for opening your resources and expertise to groom us to be good storytellers. You are a great teacher.”
“All aspects of the workshop was beneficial but the one that struck me the most was learning to own the story and fleshing out the characters as how you see it.”
“The technical parts of voice-making and voice using. It’s exactly what I expected for… Instructor is very observant & sharp to notice the strength and weakness of the participants.”
“The different expressions/tone and body movements I can create with just a verb. This will definitely prove exciting for children who can imagine & create from movements. I learnt much. Thank you.”
“Vocal variety. Using action to create voice. The mouth exercise.
Experience the power of storytelling in this experiential workshop. See your story come to life.”
“Theoretical aspects. Vocal practices. Performance appraisals — self & others.
Was lots of fun, thoroughly enjoyed it.”
“The techniques of voice projection + vocal modulation. An enlightening experience!”
“Understanding the importance of character placement in the story, the thought that if the character is real for you-then he is real for the audience, the importance of voice and other exercises.
The workshop was fabulous!! It’s been an eye opener in terms of what goes on behind the scenes to say a good story with impact. An absolute blessing to learn from a powerful storyteller like yourself !! Thanks ever so much!”
“1. The Voice Modulations. 2. How to Control body movement.”
“Voice technique. Variation of the voice, using your body movement. Visualising the story, & telling it from a different angle.”
“Voice warm up, modulation. Narrative technique.”
“I have learned the difference between theater and storytelling. More importantly, I learned a lot of new techniques: hot to change from one character to another faster within a story. The workshop structure is well organized. It’s great!”
“The vocal training & correct body alignment. Using different body movements to create different voices. Valuable feedback on my storytelling style. Feel that I have met my objective. Thank you very much for the valuable feedback. It really helps.”
Tang Souw Ngo
“Using different methods to project a character. Pointing out the weak points in my storytelling style.”
“Good feedback to scenarios. Actually going through the stages instead of the shortcuts. Seeing proper situations from peers — help us reflect.”
“Voice (diaphragmatic), warm up, voice exercises that helps me to narrate/portray characters ‘realistically’. Beneficial for teachers and people who want to perform/tell stories. Verena is knowledgeable and talented.”
“Helped me to gain confidence in a way that now I can look at the audience in stead of staring at the empty air.”
“Allowed to develop my own style. Patience by Verena to guide me.”
“Some of the vocal exercises were helpful for making us aware of the need for vocal range.”
Ng Seng Chuan
“Great as it was.”
“The vocal exercises for better clarity. Feedback given by Verena on my ‘voice dropping’ & rhythm. The personal hours for extra coaching were good. I enjoyed the course, very useful. My confidence level has improved.”
“Voice-projection. How to tell a story in a ‘performing’ style. Crafting a personal tale into a ‘tellable’ story. Very specific and constructive comments which helped improved my storytelling.”
Lim Peng Peng
"Physical exercises for voice projection. Crafting a story. Storytelling — usage of space. Learning from different participants.
Really enjoyed the course as it definitely expanded my knowledge in storytelling in that storytelling is not just about telling stories to kids but it's how we tell stories or present to any audience."
"I loved the physical exercises, voice projection techniques (always struggled with that!) & ways to craft a story out of nothing (or a small object). I now have an awareness of being aware of my body while I'm telling a story. Also loved the individual attention.
Thank you, Verena! It's been an enlightening & eye-opening experience."
"Physical exercises and vocal warm-ups were really helpful. The tips on stories, e.g. telling from a different POV to keep material fresh."
"Engaging with participants and experiencin their stories. Experiencing their delivery and improvement after Verena's exercises and insightful feedback."
"1. Experienced facilitator who gave constructive comments. 2. Engaged & experienced participants with varied storytelling styles. 3. Lots of exercises & tips on storytelling."
"Experience the techniques. Get feedback on my own delivery and that of others."
Ana Sousa Gavin
"1. Voice exercises. 2. Debriefing us during storytelling sessions — lots of learning points! 3. Hearing others/different styles of storytelling."
"The actual work on the stories. I really enjoy your perceptive and supportive teaching style."
"The need to be particular about which character to emphasize. Different styles in telling and if certain styles are applicable to a certain audience or not.
Thank you for your honest feedback."
"Watching other storytellers perform. Verena giving feedback, & pinpointing ways to improve. Different ways of vocal techniques.
I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the workshop. It was extremely refreshing to view different aspects of storytelling."
"Vocal exercises. Practicing storytelling & getting feedback. The feedback was very valuable in improving as a storyteller.
It was wonderful to have this opportunity to get unbiased, valuable feedback both from Verena & the group. It was great to see others telling stories & learning from their experience as well."
"Awareness of body => every part, being deliberate in every action, inflection, tone. Preparation: entering a space of calm.
I should probably prepare better in future! But I like that verbally telling a story seems to push the envelope on telling stories in written form. Preparing for spoken storytelling challenges you to rethink perspectives."
About the Facilitator
A Singaporean writer, editor, storyteller and theatre practitioner, Verena Tay has published a short story collection, Spectre: Stories from Dark to Light (2012), and three play collections, and edited various fiction anthologies, including the bestselling Balik Kampung series of short stories published by Math Paper Press. She possesses three Masters: English Literature (National University of Singapore, 1993); Voice Studies (Central School of Speech and Drama, London, 2005); and Creative Writing (City University of Hong Kong, 2015). Since 2005, she has been helping people to improve their communication skills and has taught voice, speech and presentation skills, storytelling and creative writing.