Galley Tables Workshop Teaches the Art of Storytelling

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Galley Tables is a monthly event where members of the community are given seven minutes to share a personal experience with an audience. Some audience members leave the performance inspired to tell a tale themselves, even if it’s just to a friend walking next to them, and an upcoming workshop is for those who want to take that impulse to the stage.

Celia Whitehead, a passionate storyteller and teacher of storytelling, will lead a Galley Tables workshop this weekend. Whitehead says a lot of people feel conflicted about how to choose a story that’s “good enough” to share.

“There’s no baseline. Basically a story that’s good enough is a story you like to tell or a story that’s important to you. Especially once you figure out the story, know what you want to say with your story. What is the core nugget of the story? It can be a very small, mundane thing that happened, but if it caused a change in your life or in your outlook, that can be really, really powerful.”

She says seven minutes is not as hard to fill up as people believe.

“Usually a great Galley Tables story is full of action and there’s minimal description. That’s what keeps people with you. You can fit in little bits of back story here and there, but keep the action going. Usually a great story goes beyond ‘here’s this crazy thing that happened’ to ‘here’s this crazy or mundane thing and here’s how it catalyzed some change.’”

Sometimes storytellers wing it, but not always. Whitehead says planning is a good idea.

“Bullet points, flashcards, whatever works for you to kinda cement the important details you want to include and help you tell through the flow, keep the flow of the story going. Trust your audience. They are smart. There’s such a tendency to try and tell everything in the back story of how you got somewhere or what you’re doing. The audience members will pick it up.”

And after planning, comes…

“Practice. Practice, practice, practice. In front of a mirror, practice alone in the woods, practice with people you trust, and those people you trust will help you figure out the details that are important and the details that just don’t matter.”

The workshop will be the second in the series and will serve as a standalone class. The entry fee is $10, with scholarships available, and it’ll be between 1 p.m. and 4 on Sunday in the Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium Drama Pod.

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