Green Shirt Studio

The Story Behind Our Storytelling Program

The Story Behind Our Storytelling Program

The next round of Green Shirt Studio’s Storytelling Program starts up Saturday August 15 with Level 1: Intro to Personal Storytelling. This is the first of three levels where we work on the fundamentals of storytelling by creating a 5 minute story. Then in Level 2: Start Your Solo Show we expand that story from 5 to 20ish minutes, and in Level 3: Finish Your Solo Show we focus on the theatrical possibilities of your story to expand it into a full length solo show. I’ve been teaching and storytelling coaching for a few years now and that work has crystallized into this 3 part program. 

Why do I want to help students make solo shows by challenging them to write and expand on true stories from their lives?

When I started telling stories it was 50% an outlet for grief and 50% artistic catnip. I was so into telling stories because I loved the artistic possibilities and ability to share my real thoughts and feelings on stage in a supportive environment. My feelings and impulse to write needed somewhere to go and I found events like The Moth, Storyclub Northside, No Shame Theater, and many other open mic type events. Then when my life really took a left turn and my brother Andrew died of a heroin overdose, I had a lot to synthesize and process so I started working on a full length show with a close friend and collaborator Cordie Nelson. A year or so after that I started touring my show to colleges and universities to help students talk about addiction and tackle stigma around substance use disorders. 

Creating my show and touring with it gave me so much insight into the incredibly powerful, positive side effects of solo performance and storytelling. The writing process was so therapeutic. I turned over a lot of grief stones and came to understand so much about myself and my relationship with my brother. While writing and telling short stories was helpful, I needed the long form format to really dig into and explore what I wanted to say. Getting to perform it at first was terrifying but also an incredibly good time. I love performing and getting up on stage to share deeply personal things with strangers is a rush – that may sound shallow but for me it’s totally true. But most importantly, the way my story was able to connect with my audience and spark meaningful conversations after the show was the most fulfilling experience I’ve ever had in my artistic practice. The talkbacks, conversations as the audience filtered out, the coffee dates days after and the connections I’ve made through my story have inspired me to help people tell theirs. 

While many may have an impulse or an idea for a solo show, not everyone has a Cordie Nelson they can collaborate with. In creating Green Shirt’s Storytelling Program, I hope to offer a space for people to dig deep into their most important stories and create radical change in their internal and external lives. If you’re curious about our storytelling program please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions at