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WOW Weekends


What is a WOW Weekend?


A WOW Weekend is a "Working on Our Work" Storytelling Weekend facilitated by Scheherazade's Legacy - Mary Hamilton & Cynthia Changaris. Wow Weekends provide an opportunity for storytellers of all experience levels to gather as peers and grow in the art of telling stories. Each storyteller participating in a WOW Weekend is guaranteed the same amount of time (minimum one hour) for the group to focus their attention on the teller’s work. Using an artist-centered process, each participant will be able to use the collective wisdom of the group in service to the storyteller’s work.

Want to try out a new story? Participate in a WOW Weekend. Have an idea for a new workshop and want to talk through it? Participate in a WOW Weekend. Got a gig coming up that calls for you to make a familiar tale five minutes shorter? Participate in a WOW Weekend. Got a gig coming up that calls for you to present a program of stories you haven't told in a long time? Participate in a WOW Weekend.

In other words, the agenda for each teller is determined by the teller. Truly, a WOW Weekend fosters a gathering of artistic peers listening, thinking and responding in support of one another's work.

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Where?

Storyteller’s Riverhouse Bed and Breakfast, Bethlehem, Indiana. (Bethlehem is in southern Indiana, along the Ohio River, approximately 45 minutes northeast of Louisville, KY and thirty minutes southwest of Madison, IN; 90 miles from Frankfort, KY.) To learn more about Storyteller’s Riverhouse, email Cynthia at cchangaris@aol.com or call 812-293-3845.

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When?

Dates of WOW Weekends vary from year to year. To learn currently scheduled WOW Weekends, call or email Mary at 502-223-4523 or mary@maryhamilton.info or Cynthia at 502-645-2930 or cchangaris@aol.com. If no scheduled dates match your calendar, we will gladly work with you to schedule a WOW Weekend for your group of four – six people.

What's the schedule for the WOW Weekend? A note about time: Storyteller's Riverhouse operates on the same time as Louisville KY and Cincinnati OH.

Friday night (attendance optional):
You may arrive for your WOW Weekend as early as 2:00 p.m. on Friday for fellowship or for quiet working on your work time. Both types of spaces will be provided on Friday evening.

Saturday and Sunday: Breakfast will be available by 8:00 a.m. on Saturday. You may arrive in time to eat and enjoy fellowship with those who arrived on Friday evening, or you may choose to arrive no later than 9:15 a.m. At 9:30 a.m. we will hold an organizational meeting to plan the schedule for the rest of the retreat. The amount of time allocated for each teller will be based on the number of participants with at least one hour guaranteed. At 10:00 a.m. we will begin our first WOW session. We'll work, with breaks to stretch, walk about a bit, eat meals, etc. until about 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. (depending upon the number of participants). On Sunday, breakfast will be available at 8:30 a.m. and we'll begin our first WOW session at 9:45 a.m. We'll keep working, with appropriate breaks, until about 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. (again, depending upon the number of participants).


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Fees and Registration

Cost: $150

What do you receive?

  • Six meals (Friday light supper; Saturday breakfast, lunch, dinner; Sunday breakfast, lunch).
  • Two nights lodging (room sharing expected, bed sharing voluntary only).
  • A minimum of one hour for your turn to work on your work.
  • Attention and support of other participants.
  • Mary and Cynthia's leadership and experience - they will participate as peers and will help the group and the storyteller effectively use the Artist-Centered Response Process.
  • You may also arrange additional lodging at a reduced rate of $50 per night.

To Register: Send a non-refundable deposit of $50 (check or money order) for each WOW weekend you want to attend to hold your WOW Weekend space. WOW Storytelling Weekends are limited to eight participants. Make your check payable to Scheherazade's Legacy, and mail it to Mary Hamilton, 65 Springhill Road, Frankfort, KY 40601-9211.
In addition, we need to know:

  1. How to reach you: postal address, phone, fax, email, etc. We'll send directions.
  2. Which weekend(s) do you plan to attend?
  3. Do you plan to stay overnight at the Storyteller's Riverhouse?
  4. Will you arrive on Friday or Saturday?
  5. Any dietary restrictions or needs?
  6. Any mobility restrictions or needs? Most bedrooms are upstairs.
  7. Do you want to schedule additional lodging at $50 per night?

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How Do We Work on Our Work Together?

We use the Artist-Centered Response Process. The Artist-Centered Response Process is a combination of storytelling coaching techniques developed by storyteller Doug Lipman and artist-centered critical response process developed by dancer Liz Lerman. We'll use a step-by-step process with the artist deciding how far to proceed along the five steps:

Step 1: Listen (to the work, to the ideas, to whatever the artist want to use the brains of the group to consider). Sometimes, Step 1 is the only step the artist wants because the artist just wants to "put the work out there" to see how it feels, but does not want to discuss it with the group. That's fine and allowed at a WOW weekend.

Step 2: Give affirmations - the group lets the artist know what they heard that is working. Artists are encouraged to use Step 2 to benefit from the opportunity to hear from peers. While some may feel, "I don't need to hear affirmations. I want to focus on what needs to be fixed, so I plan to skip Step 2!" it is important that the artist hear affirmations. It is in Step 2 that artists often learn about aspects of their work that are indeed working well that the artist had not realized were successful or had not acknowledged as strengths.

Step 3: Artist asks questions - this is the artist's opportunity to bring up those issues the artist wants the group to consider, ponder, give opinions on, etc.

Step 4: Listeners ask questions or state reactions - this is the artist's opportunity to hear (and answer if desired) questions from the group. This step can help the artist become aware of sections where the listeners "didn't get it" which can really help the artist figure out where tinkering may be needed. "State reactions" does not mean "pass judgment" but instead means the listeners can tell the artist where they were lost or confused, or found their attention wavering, or what they are wondering about. If a listener feels a strong desire to make a suggestion during Step 4, the listener should ask the artist's permission first.

The Final Step: Check back in with the artist. Often, after the listeners ask questions, the artist discovers she/he has more questions about the work or more comments to make, so a final check with the artist is always the last step in the process.

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About Scheherazade's Legacy

Scheherazade's Legacy
, the storytelling production partnership of two full time professional storytellers Mary Hamilton and Cynthia Changaris, began in 1990. In addition to developing our individual storytelling talents, we work to support other tellers in their growth process. To that end, we have facilitated over twenty-five WOW (Working on Our Work) Storytelling Weekends at Storyteller's Riverhouse.

From 1992 — 96, we produced the Louisville, Kentucky venue of Tellabration! The Night of Storytelling. We also produce storytelling workshops. We've hosted workshops led by other storytellers including Jim May, Chuck Larkin, Loren Neimi, Elizabeth Ellis, Doug Lipman and Pam McGrath. We've developed and presented our acclaimed tandem-led storytelling workshops for teachers, librarians, storytellers and others wishing to develop and apply their storytelling skills.

Our workshop venues have included the National Storytelling Conference (Indianapolis, 1997), Riverwinds Whirlwind Weekend (Belleville, IL 1999), the Kentucky Heritage Touring Conference (1999), plus workshops for numerous school districts and educational consortiums in Kentucky, and several open-to-the-public workshops
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Mary Hamilton, Professional Storyteller
65 Springhill Road, Frankfort, KY 40601-9211
Phone & Fax: 1-800-438-4390
Email: mary@maryhamilton.info