Dianne Hackworth, Storyteller

Concerts and Residencies


- General Information

....Residencies are an opportunity for a group or organization to benefit from a storyteller for a more extended period of time. Most of the time in a school setting, residencies are also an option for a community organization. 

Though always entertaining, residencies are predominately planned to be educational. When scheduling a residency, to make it a more effective learning experience, keep the following factors in mind. (These are best case scenarios, flexibility in some areas are possible) 

Multi-day, week-long, or multi-week residencies can be arranged. 

In a residency, up to six classes a day can be held with each class meeting every day. 

The number of participants in each residency class can be anywhere from 5 - 30, with 10 - 20 being the optimal number. 

Class Lengths 

Kindergarten - Grade 2 30 minutes each day Grades 3 and up for at least 45 minutes up to one hour. (longer if necessary in Grades 7 - Adult). 

Class Settings/Environments 

Classrooms, auditoriums, stages, etc. 

Space should be free (as possible) of noise and visual distractions A board or chart for writing is useful. 

Younger children (K - Gr. 2) are comfortable sitting on the floor or in chairs, but older students should have a seat and a writing surface if possible. 

Teachers should plan to remain with their class. When seeing the teacher eagerly participating, the students realize the importance, value, and fun of this residency. Teachers will not only see the student's reactions, but will learn along with their students and will be able to follow up on the residency utilizing the learned skills throughout the year and carry over the ideas into future years. (Teachers should also remain for legal reasons in case of emergencies) 

Artist/Instructor will need at least 5 - 10 minutes between each class. (15 minutes between classes is too much.) Would like to have a 30 minute planning/research period and at least 45 minutes for lunch. If planning period is not feasible, try to schedule a 1 hour lunch time. 


Some of the Basic Skills Taught in All Residencies: 


Different methods of learning a story, whether written or oral 

Ways to overcome nervous habits while telling 

Correct posture and stance for telling 

Speaking and Breathing Techniques 

How to use storytelling in everyday life 

Where to find and adapt, or write, stories for telling

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Pre-School - Grade One

- Residency Activities

Children are taught through example the necessary skills to tell stories to small groups. Introduction to new stories and re-introduction to familiar, traditional stories for this age group to tell. Children are encouraged to tell their stories to family members and friends and to ask parents to tell them personal stories about themselves, their parents, and their family

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Grades Two - Six

- Residency Activities

Necessary skills are taught to enable this age group to tell stories from either written or oral sources in both formal and informal settings. Along with their individual, personal stories, each grade level, two through twelve, will concentrate on a different type of story for telling such as Folk Tales, Fables, Tall Tales, Myths, Appalachian Tales, "How and Why" stories, repetitive stories, stories of animals, stories of other countries or cultures, etc. Residencies can be adapted to correlate with classroom curriculums as requested. Correlation between creative writing and storytelling skills is also emphasized.

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Grades Seven - Twelve

- Residency Activities

Necessary skills for learning to tell stories from written and oral sources are taught. How to find, select, and adapt stories for telling is a major component of lessons for this age group. How to write personal or other types of stories suitable for telling is also an option for this age group. Telling stories to peers, or lower grade students if time allows, is also utilized.

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Adult Residency Activities

Discuss various methods of learning to tell stories and common problems of storytelling Provide resources for stories and storytelling Discuss adapting stories for telling, how to make personal stories more interesting, places for telling, methods for collecting family stories.

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Adult Residency Activities for Experienced Storytellers

Along with the above activities, also include demonstrating styles of storytelling; exploring different types of stories; studying vocal techniques; emceeing procedures; learning self-promotion and fee setting tips; procedures for producing a storytelling festival; but most importantly, practice telling and critiquing stories.

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Senior Citizen Groups

Discuss how they can use storytelling in everyday life or for performing Demonstrate how to make their life stories more interesting for telling Provide opportunities for telling and improving storytelling skills

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Special Population Groups

Techniques used with mainstream groups are easily adapted to fit the various needs and abilities of special populations. These groups excel in storytelling as it does not depend on high reading skills, attention span, or even mobility.

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