a four-day summer course in the historic seaport of Marblehead, MA—with Judith Black


What will I be doing for four days in Marblehead?

We welcome you to four days of personal exploration in the world of story making, story shaping, and storytelling. The emphasis is on developing stories and techniques that will resonate with young listeners, but participants are welcomed to use their time in honor of any personal goals they set.

Our days generally run from 9:30 AM to 4 PM, but are usually extended if registration exceeds ten.


Optional gathering: from 9:00-9:30, eating and schmoozing time at my house.
Every morning there will be freshly baked goodies, fruit, tea, and coffee awaiting you at our meeting site. Come and settle in at your leisure, warm your belly, and get to know your peers in a less structures format.

The morning classes (starting at 9:30 promptly) will include three elements:

1. Warm-Ups: (dress comfortably)
These are physical and improvisational games to get the body, brain, and imagination moving. You will find them useful for your own creative work and in your work setting.
2. 'Trouble Shooting'
These are short sessions during which we discuss issues that have arisen within specific settings or audiences and brainstorm solutions that can be implemented to help resolve them. 
3. Morning Workshops
The various topics include:
  • Getting Stories off the Page
  • The Techniques of Telling
  • Addressing Children's Social/Emotional Issues Through Stories
  • Creating Participation in Tales
  • Using Stories to Reinforce Cognitive Skills 
  • Empowering Children to Tell
  • Tales From Authentic History
  • Creating Original Tales to Augment Curriculum Goals
  • Creating Original Tales to Cope with Specific Social/Emotional Issues in Your Work Setting
  • Stories Born in Personal Experience
  • Improvisation Workshop (Mouthing from the Hip)
  • Creating Midrash: The Bible as a Story Source
  • Authentic Interactionreating Original Fairy Tales Out of Personal Issues and Experiences
  • Stories and Issues of Diversity
  • Adapting Formula Tales for Special Occasions

Obviously we will not tackle all of these topics. This is a limited list for you to peruse and think about. I always offer the first two in the list, Off the Page and Techniques. There will be time for two or three optional workshops, which are determined by participants as we progress through the week. I want to be sure that you get what what you need from your time here. If you are interested in something other than the listed topics, please let me know and I'll try to include it in this list.


Our afternoons are spent primarily in coaching sessions. Each afternoon you will work with me and/or your fellow adventures, on the material of your choice. In the past, people have found that using coaching time around personal stories, new material and techniques, or exploring original creations has been a very positive experience. These times offer a warm, supportive, setting for exploration, and time and again people have remarked that they learn as much from one an others coaching sessions as they do from their own.  

The third afternoon will lead us to actual children who will listen to our tales! The Marblehead Parks Dept. and The Marblehead Children's Center has welcomed Telling Stories students, for over twelve years, to experiment our little hearts out on their little people. This afternoon is always filled with surprises and amazement at how much has been taken in and shared, so quickly.


Your evenings are yours to explore Boston, the North Shore, bone up on your work from the day or just sleep. Wednesday night we usually have a group dinner at an area restaurant. Those who choose often go to a wonderful spoken word open mike together.


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Copyright Judith Black 2007