by Matt Webster
Instructor Matt Webster believes that Story Theatre is one of the most creative, most imaginative, most unique forms of theatre ever to make its way to the stage. His course introduces the style of theatre called story theatre, explores the steps needed to choose the best stories to perform, explains how to adapt a story into a script, and demonstrates a variety of story theatre styles from simple and contained to complex and crazy and everything in between.
When you are finished with this course, you’ll be able to bring nearly any story to any stage and present it to any audience. That is the power and promise of story theatre. Learn how to bring the page to the stage.
The overview introduces Story Theatre, and outlines the 13 sections of the toolkit.
The first step in dramatizing a story for story theatre is to choose which stories you want to adapt. In order to narrow our choices, we’re going to look at fables, fairy tales, myths from around the world (not just the ones from ancient Greece), picture books and chapter books.
Once you have chosen the story or stories you want to present, there’s a process to follow in order to adapt a story into a script, outlined in this resource.
This section will assemble the concepts that have been presented so far to build a simple performance on the stage. This style of story theatre is called
stories on stools and it is at the same time deceivingly simple and astonishingly creative.
There are a number of different ways to present dialogue – from simple to complex – and combine those dialogue forms with a variety of staging styles. These different pairings will give you an assortment of options to use when you’re deciding how you want to stage your stories.
How would you like to bring every aspect of your story to life using just your actors? This is one of the most complex forms of story theatre, but it’s also one of the most exciting. Once you understand the concept of people as props, you will understand how it is possible to stage any story, no matter how complicated, in a creative, dynamic, living way.
If you want to incorporate props into your story theatre performance, consider using them in an atypical, not necessarily realistic manner. Props can engage the audience’s imagination and allow us to build scenes, sets, and entire worlds out of objects we have readily at our disposal. When you combine imagination and props, amazing things happen.
This section will provide some tips for adapting your performance for the different spaces you may encounter. This information will help you avoid potential pitfalls that could derail your production.
Once you have perfected the process of story theatre, it’s time to think beyond the walls of your classroom. What community performance opportunities exist in your area?
The scripts in this section are sample adaptations of the fables in the previous section. How do these scripts compare to your adaptations?