You know what it’s like talking to that one cool aunt or cool uncle? They have a way of making you laugh and making you think all with the same words? That’s what it like talking with Sheila Arnold. I have seen her live at storytelling shows and over and over again on YouTube. On this day, though, I get to speak with her one-on-one about storytelling.
“Aunt” Sheila has a long history in storytelling. She’s been telling stories on stage since 2003. She holds storytelling workshops at The Muse writing center in Norfolk, VA. A friend asked her to do a storytelling class. After doing a 4 hour class, people wanted more. And for 12 years, Sheila has done just that; given them more. Now she offers story telling classes over a number of days for varying levels of learners.
In between the engaging stories Shelia shared in our interview, she also shared what storytelling can be. Everything from the telling of Personal Narrative (i.e The Moth), to retellings of timeless stories (i.e Aesop’s Fables), to stories that teach history (i.e. The Civil War experience). To appreciate storytelling is to appreciate music. Both have many forms and appeal to many people. All you have to do is pick your taste.
What you get out of a Sheila Arnold storytelling workshop series is a steady journey in telling stories. In her Level I class, Sheila gives a broad overview of storytelling. She connects students to stories from different parts of the world. Then students get help relating those stories to their personal lives. Students get practice writing stories using prompts and activities that get them going in the right direction.
Level II, builds on Level I. These students will be on a stage performing. In addition to more activities, students will also be shown how to present the story, how to work with a microphone, and get more in-depth feedback on the stories they are working on.
Finally, Level III is the “What’s Next” series. Former students get one-on-one coaching with Sheila as they prepare for present stories at different venues. Students that haven’t been to Level I or II can get the same coaching for a cost.
What can you expect in a class or workshop with Sheila? It depends on what is being accomplished for the students. A seminar can have up to 20 people. Workshop classes have 10 – 15. A Storytelling retreat is between 4 – 8 people. The more people you have, the more general the lesson. The less people, the more individual work the student gets. In all cases, you’ll need to bring an open mind and plenty of curiosity. There will be surprises you find in class, and surprises you will find in yourself. Getting to know the broad spectrum of storytelling will help you to see the impact of story in your life. And besides, who wouldn’t want listen to cool aunt Sheila make them laugh, and make them think at the same time?
Check out more about Shelia Arnold and her storytelling workshops in the links below:
Classes at The Muse Writing Center (Sheila’s next class is in Apr 2019 for 3 Sundays)
Shelia Arnold’s Website
Sheila will be performing with Jessica Robinson on 16 Jan 2019 in Vienna, VA. Get tickets here
One of Shelia’s Stories from Better Said Than Done