The Art of Personal Narrative

Portland Story Theater Home Studio where all workshops are held, including the Art of Personal Narrative

Workshop Space at the Story House.
Photo by O’Dubhda

If you’re ready for a creative challenge and have been thinking that you’d really like to explore storytelling in depth, the 7-session Art of Personal Narrative is the perfect opportunity to discover, craft, and tell your story to a live audience. Portland 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: raw, 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 (21+) 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.

    Everyone over 21 is welcome to participate.
    There are no prerequisites for this workshop, all you need is a desire to tell your personal story.
    Please let us know if you require a disability accommodation before registering.
    Due to Covid, all workshops are postponed until further notice so be sure you are on our mailing list to stay up-to-date on notifications about these workshops.

Six-Week Commitment
Evenings 7 pm – 10:30 pm
Registration guarantees your place

Call 503-284-2226 for registration details and information. Let us know if you require alter-abled | disability accommodation. We will do our best to meet your needs. You must meet all of the prerequisites for this workshop to participate.

Payment arrangements can be made and some limited scholarships are available. Please note that Portland Story Theater does not give refunds (full or partial) for voluntary withdrawal from the class.

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. This is a unique form of devised theater and people work hard to approach the work with courage, dignity, and humor. We guide each participant through the process of intentional storytelling 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 a performance venue. The final gathering is held at Portland Story Theater’s Home Studio in NE Portland for celebration and feedback.


Read these over and be prepared to talk about them when you call 503-284-2226 to find out how to register for the workshop.

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

You have attended at least one Urban Tellers® show prior to participating in The Art of Personal Narrative workshop. (This prerequisite may be waived with special permission from the facilitators.)

If you want to be a part of the Immigrants & Refugees Special Edition, we ask that you are a first-generation immigrant and/or refugee. Your story does not need to be about being an immigrant or refugee.

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, our process, and direction from the instructors.

You understand that this is a storytelling class, not a writing class and agree to not use notes on stage.

You love deep, heartfelt humor but you are committed to telling a story, not doing a comedy routine.

You are ready to deliver a story — not an essay, an angry rant, a eulogy, or a memorial talk.

You understand that this is independent work and couples, best friends, and siblings should participate in their own workshop experience.

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

Group Sessions 7-10:30 pm
Six-Week Commitment