The Art of Personal Narrative

Portland Story Theater Home StudioPortland Story Theater’s Art of Personal Narrative workshop gives participants an opportunity to discover and craft a personal story and deliver it in its true form: naked, fresh, revealing. Every participant will perform a 10-12-minute story before a live audience at an Urban Tellers show. This is a modern take on an ancient tradition: personal narrative, spoken straight from the heart. Only six (6) adults (18+) are eligible to participate in each workshop. The 3:1 teacher-student ratio allows for a great deal of individual attention and is a reflection of our commitment to your success. Cost: $275 ($225 Early-Bird)

REGISTRATION and PAYMENT POLICY Please call 503-284-2226 to register. Let us know if you require a disability accommodation. Check below to make sure that you meet all of the prerequisites for this workshop. Full payment is expected when registering. Payment plans can be arranged. Please note that Portland Story Theater does not give refunds (full or partial) for voluntary withdrawal from the class. Because there are only six (6) spaces available in each workshop, we typically have to turn people away. Should you choose to withdraw, we will have a vacancy that we can no longer fill.

What to Expect

Each workshop has seven (7) sessions: four group collaborative sessions, an individual coaching session, the showcase performance and a final debrief session.

In every workshop we share insights about finding the stories we need to tell and why we need to tell them, how to use our voices and our bodies, how written stories are different from spoken stories, and how to structure the narrative arc of a story for spoken word delivery.

During the collaborative sessions, themes emerge. People work hard and approach the work with courage, dignity, and humor. We guide each participant through a unique process that we’ve perfected over the years. You will learn to trust your story and to speak extemporaneously — no scripts, no notes, no net.

Each person participates in an individual session which is scheduled separately. The Urban Tellers® show is at The Fremont (2393 NE Fremont). The final gathering is held at Portland Story Theater’s Home Studio for celebration and feedback.


You must be able to commit to attending all the dates in a workshop series. There are 7 sessions over 5 weeks, all held in NE Portland: 7:00 PM – 10:30 PM.

You have attended at least one Urban Tellers® show prior to registering for The Art of Personal Narrative. It’s important that you experience what it’s like from the audience perspective before you get on stage.

You will use your real name and are willing to share your story digitally on the internet after the live performance. This entire experience is about being open, honest, and authentic and sharing your story with others.

You must have a passion for the spoken word and a strong desire to tell your personal story. You must have a willingness to discover, craft, and share stories that have meaning for you and resonate with the audience.

You are ready to accept coaching and suggestions from the instructors.

You can create a story line that the average audience member will readily grasp and follow, without obscure metaphor and symbolism.

Respect for the confidentiality of information shared by others during the workshop is of utmost importance.

You are enthusiastic for the performance showcase and dedicated to building audience by inviting friends, family, and colleagues.

Workshop Schedule

September 2016 Season Opener
Wednesdays 9/14, 9/21, 9/28, 10/5, 10/12
+ an individual session, date TBA
Friday 10/7 (Urban Tellers® show)

October 2016 Wordstock Edition
Thursdays 10/13, 10/20, 10/27, 11/3, 11/10
+ an individual session, date TBA
Friday 11/4 (Urban Tellers® show)
In partnership with Literary Arts

November 2016
Mondays 11/7, 11/14, 11/21, 11/28, 12/5
+ an individual session, date TBA
Friday 12/2 (Urban Tellers® show)

January 2017
Wednesdays 1/4, 1/11, 1/25, 2/1, 2/8
+ an individual session, date TBA
Friday 2/3 (Urban Tellers® show)

February 2017
Tuesdays 2/7, 2/21, 2/28, 3/7
Wednesday 2/15 ‘cuz 2/14 is Valentine’s
+ an individual session, date TBA
Friday 3/3 (Urban Tellers® show)

March 2017
Thursdays 3/16, 3/23, 3/30, 4/6, 4/13
+ an individual session, date TBA
Friday 4/7 (Urban Tellers® show)
Made possible, in part, through the generous support of Oregon Cultural Trust

April 2017
Tuesdays 4/11, 4/18, 4/25, 5/2,
+ an individual session, date TBA
Friday 5/5 (Urban Tellers® show)
Saturday 5/6

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