The Art of Personal Narrative

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

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: 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 2:1 teacher-student ratio allows for a great deal of individual attention and is a reflection of our commitment to your success. Cost: $250

Please call 503-284-2226 before registering if you require a disability accommodation. We will do our best to accommodate your needs.

PREREQUISITES Everyone over 18 is welcome to participate. Check below to make sure that you meet all of the prerequisites for this workshop.

PAYMENT POLICY Full payment is expected when registering. 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. 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.

Immigrant & Refugee Editions

We are offering two Immigrant and Refugee Special Edition opportunities this coming season. To qualify, you must be an immigrant or refugee. Please see our invitation, which is offered in:


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.

If you are applying to participate in an ADVANCED EDITION, you must get instructor approval.

Workshop Schedule

More Sessions to be Offered in the Fall
September-October 2017
Tuesdays 9/12, 9/19, 9/26, 10/3, 10/10
+ an individual session, date TBA
Friday 10/6 (Urban Tellers® show)

October-November 2017

Wednesdays 10/11, 10/18, 10/25, 11/1, 11/8
+ an individual session, date TBA
Thursday 11/2 (Urban Tellers® show)
Friday 11/3 (Urban Tellers® encore)
Made possible, in part, through the generous support of The Collins Foundation

November-December 2017
Mondays 11/6, 11/13, 11/20, 11/27, 12/4
+ an individual session, date TBA
Friday 12/1 (Urban Tellers® show)

January-February 2018

Thursdays 1/18, 1/25, 2/1, 2/8, 2/15
+ an individual session, date TBA
Saturday 2/10 (Valentine’s show)

February-March 2018
Mondays 2/5, 2/12, 2/19, 2/26, 3/5
+ an individual session, date TBA
Friday 3/2 (Urban Tellers® show)

March-April 2018

Tuesdays 3/13, 3/20, 3/27, 4/3, 4/10
+ an individual session, date TBA
Friday 4/6 (Urban Tellers® show)

April-May 2018
Mondays 4/9, 4/16, 4/23, 4/30, 5/7,
+ an individual session, date TBA
Saturday 5/5 (Urban Tellers® show)

May-June 2018
(Season Finale)

Wednesday 5/9, 5/16, 5/23, 5/30, 6/6,
+ an individual session, date TBA
Friday 6/1 (Urban Tellers® show)

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