Workshops

Customized Workshops

You just went to a storytelling concert and want to learn how to do that. You’re an experienced performer looking to deepen your telling. You want to bring a fun, interesting, new educational experience to your community. You think storytelling could bring new perspectives to your craft or organization. Laura is an experienced, thoughtful, and dynamic workshop leader. She shapes every workshop for the participant group and is always happy to design new workshops for your needs.

As a booking agent for a large library system, I need my presenters to have well-developed content that is tailored to my community.  Laura is professional yet approachable, shows up on time, engages with the customers, responds quickly to emails, and is extremely easy to work with!  She’s a fan favorite with my community and I never give a second thought to bringing her back again and again!
– MidContinent Public Library Story Center Programming Director

A sample of her current curriculum includes:

  • Storytelling belongs everywhere, not just on stage. Whether you’re in industry, academia, or service, storytelling will help you and your organization be more effective, connected, and focused.

    For more information about organizational storytelling please visit thinkstory.com

  • Everyone needs to know they are not alone in their experiences. Whether through personal narrative, traditional material, or fiction, storytelling helps us talk about the difficult things that happen so we can recognize common ground. Sharing these stories requires special attention to the needs of both the teller and the audience. This workshop will help you shape your difficult story so you can tell it safely, so the audience can hear it without worrying about you, and will give you the tools you need for a crafted, powerful story.

  • Coaching helps storytellers improve and become more true to themselves, their audience, and their craft. This group coaching experience allows selected tellers to be coached by Laura Packer, in front of their peers in a safe, supportive environment. Listeners benefit by seeing coaching in progress, often realizing certain tips would work for them, too. This is a great opportunity for those interested in coaching, and those who want to coach.

    If you’re interested in one-on-one coaching please go here.

  • Storytelling, when combined with images and data in a presentation, is an immensely powerful tool to connect, influence, and persuade. Learn what stories to use when and how to make your presentations effective and memorable.

    For more information about organizational storytelling please visit thinkstory.com

  • The storyteller’s body is their instrument. Learn how to use your body to enhance your telling, through gesture, position, voice, and more.

  • Every storyteller should have a few scary stories. Learn how to craft frightening tales that are appropriate for your audience, whether they are pre-schoolers, jaded teens, or adults looking for dark terror.

  • Some stories are meant to read from the page. Whether you’re a teller who is uncomfortable without paper or you have something that must be verbatim, there are times when reading aloud is essential. Learn how to read out loud smoothly and still establish a relationship with the audience.

  • Storytelling is a live, in-the-moment experience. This means that tellers may need to adjust on the fly to suit the needs of their audience. They may also encounter situations where the story is effected by outside forces (crying babies, trains, etc). Having a flexible approach to performance helps; improvisation gives you those skills. What’s more, improvisation play can help tellers find new stories, go in unexpected directions, and delight their audiences. This fun, playful workshop will introduce you to improvisation techniques that will help you weather the worst interruption, delight your audiences, and find new ways to develop material.

  • Designed for newer storytellers, this workshop covers basic storytelling theory, technique, and practice. With an emphasis on interactive exercises, participants will leave with a story to tell and a sense of how to share it with different audiences.

  • It can be hard to share your story when it means so much to you. In this safe and supportive environment participants will explore their story through writing, sharing, and telling. This is not a therapy session, but a chance to share the stories that matter most.

  • What are your big dreams and how do you plan to get there? When you understand your own Right Livelihood – the work that most benefits you and your community – you can follow the work of your heart. Learn how to discern your callings and craft a plan to pursue them.

  • Fairy tales and myths speak to the basic truths about what it is to be human, but some don’t really fit into our world of screens, cities, and cell phones. Learn how to fracture a fairy tale so it makes sense for you, by changing elements and recrafting the story so it’s unique for your voice. You’ll come out of this workshop with a greater understanding of traditional tales and a brand new story of your own.

  • Ancient stories inform our modern lives. Whether they are sacred texts, fairy tale tropes, or myths from past civilizations, our every day lives are full of echoes from the past. Learn how to tell ancient stories in modern times, how to respect the cultures the stories came from, and how to shape these stories so their relevance to your listeners shines true.

  • Storytellers can be each others greatest allies or impediments. This workshop will help you and your storytelling peers develop the tools you need to help each other become better at your craft. Emphasis is on listening, support, and building each other up.

  • Storytelling isn’t just about the words you use. It’s about your voice, body, place on the stage, audience interaction, and more. Learn how to be an effective performer with real-time exercises and practice sessions.

  • Personal stories can be poignant, funny, exciting, moving, and more. Through these stories both teller and listener recognized their shared humanity, but tellers need to ensure that they have processed the events enough that the audience doesn’t need to be their therapist. This workshop helps tellers excavate, craft, and share affecting personal stories that are appropriate to share with an audience.

  • We work hard on our stories and other arts, sometimes getting blocked or frustrated. Through play we move beyond boundaries, learn new things about character, plot, technique and ourselves. Expect to stretch your creative boundaries with improv, games, creativity exercises and more. Participants will learn several new creativity techniques applied to storytelling and will leave with the seeds of a new tale.

  • At its best, storytelling is a joyful dance between teller and listener. Learn how to play with your audience, obliterate the fourth wall of theater, and create mutual delight from the stage.

  • Living the life of a working artist is rewarding, challenging, and exciting. Before you take the leap into full-time storytelling, it’s important to know what to expect and to plan accordingly. This workshop covers the less-glamorous side being a working artist, including marketing, support, self-care, dry-spells, research, and more.

  • It is hard work to be a working artist. Without taking care of ourselves we can’t create meaningful work that will be shared and appreciated. This workshop will help you discover what self-care techniques are most effective for you, how to implement them, and how to remain accountable to taking care of yourself.

  • Your stories are more than words. They are a direct conduit into the brains and hearts of your listeners. Sensory detail – how something in your story might sound, smell, feel, taste, or look like – increases your audiences engagement in the moment. They fall under the spell of storytelling more readily when you include sensory detail. Learn how to include the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings of your story without overwhelming the audience or yourself.

  • Fringe Festivals give storytellers a stage for longer pieces and new audiences. They are a chance to roll out your most unusual, exciting, stories, but Fringe Festival success requires specific kinds of marketing and planning. This workshop is for anyone interested in storytelling at a fringe festivals. We’ll cover fringe basics including what they are, who to expect, what kind of performance to plan, how to market it, and more.

  • Public speaking is a top phobia, but it doesn’t have to be one of yours. Learn how to overcome your fear of public speaking, channel your energy, be heard in challenging situations, and more.

  • Some stories are better told after dark. Whether they are sexy, scary, or mysterious, storytellers need to know how to craft material that can’t be shared every day. Learn how what to include, what to exclude, how to work with the audience, and more.

  • While memorization can be an effect technique for storytellers, there are other ways of learning the story that give you greater flexibility in the performing moment. Learn how to use story bones, hooks, your body, and images to move through your story without memorization.

  • There is a big difference between telling a short slam or open mic story and a 15 or 30 minute story, 60, or 90 minute performance. Crafting and telling a long story requires a different approach to pacing, plot, physicality, and audience interaction. Learn how to create a longer story or performance piece that will capture your audience and leaves you with room to breath.

  • No matter your definition of “risky story,” storytellers need to craft risky material carefully. What do you want to reveal? Whom might you want to protect? How do you share this material without alienating your audience? Who is your audience anyway? This workshop will help you answer these questions and more.

  • While spoken and written narrative use different tools and techniques, they have the same goal: Connecting creator and listener/reader in a shared experience. Storytelling techniques can help writers find a more certain voice, work through dialogue and action sequences, and learn new things about their characters, creations, and craft.

  • While there is a significant difference between written and told stories, effective writing can help storytellers work through details, develop back story, and more. Use your pen to make your spoken word stronger.

…and more!

Workshops costs vary based on location, duration, and audience. Please contact Laura for more information.