Stop Press: January 2018

After two years, Story Wise Woodend will no longer continue. 

A heartfelt thanks to all who attended,  may you continue to tell and listen in equal measure. 

Story Wise Woodend

 True Tales Told Live

Monthly Open Storytelling Night in Woodend

This is an open mic night of personal stories, told live in Woodend, a small community 70km north of Melbourne, Australia. It is an open hearted, supportive space to be touched, amused, entertained and allowed to share what it means to be human. Ears are open, themes are loose and times are forgiving. No bookings are needed and entry is by donation ($5 suggested). Visitors are welcomed and warmed with story wisdom.

Storytelling in Woodend
Story Wise Woodend

First Friday of the month -March to November

 7.45pm Get a drink, settle in.

8pm, the stories begin.

2017 dates:  March 3, April 7, May 5, June 2,  July 7, August 4, Sept 1, Oct 6, Nov 3.

Holgates Hotel, High Street, Woodend, Vic.

This is an open opportunity for 10 people to tell a 5 - 10 minute true personal story, without notes, and for the rest of us to listen.

Open the door. Step into a story.

Tell your true tale or lean in and listen.

Be entertained. Be moved. Be heard.

Its free, its fun, its community.

Story Wise Woodend Themes

Each night has a theme. Themes are meant as prompts for memory, guides, helpful for those of us stuck. Feel free to be creative and think outside the box.  Here are the themes coming up in 2017:  

July 7, 2017 Theme: Friendship

Tell us about the dog that saved you, your best friend when you were 5 or 15 or 55,  the demise of a friendship, the betrayal of a friend, the loneliness of feeling friendless, the struggle to make friends, the challenge of letting a friendship fall, the odd friends we have and the odd friends we are. 

 Join the Story Wise woodend Community on Facebook 

Join the Story Wise woodend Community on Facebook 

August 4, 2017  Theme: Lost

Tell us a story about a time you lost your way, forgot the map, ended up back where you started. A time you didn’t know what to do next, you couldn’t understand what was happening, where it was all lost on you or on them, or the world.  When you lost the game, your wallet or your kid.

September 1, 2017  Theme: Help

Tell us a story about lending a hand, needing help, not asking, resenting being asked, regretting not offering, not knowing how to help, having your help rejected.  Help us understand you, your life and what help means to you. 

October 6, 2017  Theme:  Comfort Zone

Tell us a story about being outside your comfort zone - stretched, tested, challenged and pushed.  Share a story about a time you felt uncomfortable - too cold or wet, hot or thirsty; a time you were out of your depth or out on a limb, up ship creek or sailing too close to the wind. Tell us about when you’ve been longing for your comfort zone: your bed, the couch or the warmth of home.  

November 3, 2017   Theme: Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Tell us a story about the wrong tree, the dead end, the wrong idea.  Tell us about a time you were way off the mark, when you totally misunderstood, misrepresented or misheard, or someone did this to you. Tell us about the suspicions and unfounded conclusions, mistaken identity or chasing the wrong cat.

Story Wise Woodend Podcast

Story Wise Woodend podcast was launched at the November 2016 night.  You can listen here or subscribe in Itunes.  The episodes are moving, funny and fascinating stories from Story Wise Woodend. 

We really look forward to the first Friday of the month at Holgates, when a good number of locals enjoy hearing 10 people tell stories from their lives...
Having been in the audience 3 or 4 times I had a pretty good idea of what stories resonated with the audience and the theme of ‘Families’ did challenge me to share my daughters discovery of my four half siblings back in 2011.
— Russell Yardley

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to tell a story? 

No there is never any obligation or even pressure to tell a story, but there is always an open and encouraging invitation.  And often tellers find they come with no intention of telling a story but after hearing several stories and feeling safe and inspired, they step up and have a go.

Is there a theme?  

Yes there is, but the theme is meant to inspire, not to retrict, so feel free to be creative, think outside the box and if there is a story inside you, calling to be told, don't worry if its not on theme, tell it anyway.

How do I tell a story?  

Here are some tips for telling a story:

1. Go some where with your story, aim for a climax or a twist. 
2. Think about the structure and emotional impact of the story. 
3. If it’s appropriate, give the characters a voice, be dramatic
4. Think about your delivery: suspense and drama., and about how you end your story – try to end with resolution, making sense of the events. 
5. Practice your story on the dog, cat, chooks … on who/whatever. 
6. Time your story
7. Think about your audience – take them for a ride.

Also check out the blog posts on Story Wise for more tips and ideas, or sign up and receive the Story Wise Seven Step Story Crafting worksheet.

Why tell a story?  

Taking events from our life and crafting it into a story that is part gift, part message, helps us understand ourselves better, know who we are and where we have come from.  It helps us bring peace to experiences in order that we may tell them to an audience with resolution. It also connects us to our audience and allows us to share our we make sense of this world and our life. 

Who runs Story Wise Woodend?  

Story Wise Woodend is run by Kate Lawrence from Story Wise. Kate is a storyteller with a passion and purpose for personal storytelling. She is an experienced and trained facilitator, teacher and storytelling coach, with sense of fun. She has a deep and abiding faith in human stories and never tires of hearing them. She takes her craft seriously and as well as telling and teaching, she regularly reads, reflects and writes about storytelling. Kate is particularly good at creating safe and respectful spaces for people to explore their stories.  Kate has delivered storytelling workshops at the Williamstown Literary Festival and the NSW International Storytelling Conference.  

Are there any rules for telling?  

Here are the guidelines for storytellers:

1. Stories must be true, personal stories i.e. they happened to you the teller. 
2. Stories must be told without notes and no longer than 8 minutes. 
3. Let kind hearts and common sense prevail - sexist, racist, misogynist and homophobic stories hurt people. Stories should also not be used to put anyone down, to take revenge or to embarrass anyone else.  
4. Stories are recorded as audio with the aim of publishing them on a podcast, but this is only done with a tellers permission, which will be given or not, on the evening. 
5. Photos will also be taken, to help promote the next event, but will only be used if there is no objection from audience or tellers. 

Past Themes

June 2, 2017 Theme: Light and Dark

Tell us about the shadows, the sunrises and sunsets, that creepy thing in the dark, the crack of light in the cave, the light switch you finally found, the lights going out, the torch that didn’t work, the warm lights of the house on the hill, or the time you wished you'd worn dark, or light clothes.

May 5, 2017 Theme: Sickness and Health

Tell us a story of the body, how a crisis of health, your own or someone around you, came to your life. Tell us about the vomit, blood, guts and pain.  Tell us about sickness in a relationship, your heart or your mind, tell us about the doctors and nurses, the patients, the tests, the fears and acceptance.

April 7, 2017 Theme: Water

Tell us a story about water: drinking, drowning, swimming and thirsting.  About floods and droughts, waves, wet pants and wet dreams, dams bursting, being washed away, boats and oceans, rivers and lakes, the local pool, waterfalls and islands. 

March 3, 2017 Theme: Chance(s)

Take a chance and tell a tale about a chance encounter, the luck of the draw, or a lucky break.  Tell us how serendipity smiled, you took your chances, you ran a risk, you were in with a chance, the dice rolled your way, or your fate rested on the toss of a coin.

November 4, 2016 Theme: Work

Prepare a story about work: your first day on the job or your last, being hired or being fired, the crazy customer, co-worker or client; the mistakes, challenges, lesson and victories.  Tell us about your struggles with the alarm, the boss, the clothing, the wages, or the soul sapping monotony.

October 7, 2016 Theme: Ancestors

Tell us about your elders, your ancients, your skeletons; the family jewels, family traits, family mysteries and secrets.  Share your genealogy, the legacies and inheritance from the endless line of forbears that make you who you are.  Tell us how you honour them, escape them, own them, laugh at, forgive and claim them as your lineage.

September 2, 2016 Theme: Money

Prepare a story about dough; not enough of it, too much of it, spending it, stealing it, losing it, finding it, earning it.  Tell us about the secrets, the awkwardness, the embarrassment.  A windfall, a sudden loss, the wrong change or the black market.  Prepare a story about betting, stealing, giving, begging or wishing.    Tell us how all that glitters is not gold.

August 5, 2016 Theme: Fire

Tell us a story about what lights your fire, cooks your goose or burns your fingers.  Tell us about a time you burnt the curtains, the toast or the car engine.  Tell us about living with fire, cooking with gas, an old flame or a sunburnt country.

July 1, 2016 Theme: Place

Prepare a story where place is a character or where things are out of place, where you or someone didn't know their place. Maybe there wasn't a place at the table, you came last or first place, you couldn't place the name or the face. The first time you went to his place or her place..

June 10, 2016 Theme: Boundaries

Prepare a story about boundaries, personal space, in your face, saying No; crossing the line, white line fever, nicking out of the school boundary.  Perhaps a time you had some lack of clarity about the boundary between you and your neighbours. Or maybe you were once a boundary rider. 

May 6, 2016 Theme: Family

Prepare a story about you and yours, kith and kin, your family or someone else's,  the in-laws, the out-laws, blood or thickened water, family two or four footed, similarities and differences, characters and quirky habits, clashing cultures, family dinners gone wrong; there really is no normal.

April 1, 2016 Theme: Tricks

Prepare a story about a trick you played or that was played on you, a trick your dog or pet kangaroo could do or about something, or a time  that was tricky, difficult, needing skill and attention.

March 4, 2016 Theme: Missing

Prepare a story about a time you were missing - in the physical, emotional or mental sense, a time something was missing (the sugar in the cake?), your dog, cat or canary, a time the thing you swear you left on the table just vanished.

February 5, 2016 Theme: Eclipse of the Heart

Prepare a story about a time your heart was overwhelmed, broken, blackened, or bruised black and blue. Or about a time you you felt a wave of love break over you, or when your love for another human or a bright shiny object eclipsed other obligations.

December 2015 Theme Endings

Prepare a story about an ending, a destruction, a release, a relief, a grief, a death, a birth or the last time you made it, did it, worked it, loved it, realised it, held it, felt it, saw it, heard it.

November 6 Theme:  Race Against Time

 Prepare a story about a time you were running late, missed the bus, boat, train or plane or a time you were in a contest, with yourself or others (whether they knew it or not), to get somewhere, something or somehow. Tell us about the count down to the final siren, the cooking time challenge, or the dash to medical help, tell us about your watch, clock, alarm failings. 

October 2015 Theme: Firsts

Prepare a story about the first time you… made it, did it, worked it, loved it, realised it, held it, felt it, saw it, heard it…