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Community Conversation

  • Hampton Arts 125 East Mellen Street Hampton, VA, 23663 (map)

We were invited by Virginia based, Hampton Arts, to lead a community conversation about where stories come from and where they can lead us... 

This event is free and open to the public. All are welcome!!

We were asked a few questions in preparation for the event - here's a bit of that conversation:

What inspired you to create The Power of Story Retreat?

The simple answer is that we wanted to work alongside one another. And when we explored different ways that might look, we landed on the model of community conversations and workshops. 

For many years, Brian's been writing and creating stories in many different ways, through many different mediums. He's been a playwright, worked with marble and mixed media, and of course there's the recycled barn wood and tin sculptures as well as pen & ink and gouache watercolor prints that many people are familiar with through his company, StoryPeople. Fia's professional career as an actress and text/voice coach allowed her to deeply dive into theatre, which involves intense study of human behavior, body, voice and believability. 

We've both learned through our separate lines of work, that story is based on perspective. You take the same event from different perspectives, and you get different stories. They're all true and all false. When you know this, that your set of beliefs is based on repetition of story or perspective, then there can be empathy, compassion, and acts of love - even in the face of conflict and diverse preferences.  

What would you say to someone who might not have experience in public speaking to encourage his or her participation?

You have one body, one voice. Whether you're speaking to someone across the table or to an audience of thousands, it's the same set of muscles. What changes is intent. Technology has changed the ways we communicate. We still use words as our primary source of communication, but in a higher percentage of conversations that happen in a day, there is anonymity and physical distance... so time spent in screen communication versus real time and space communication is out of balance. 

Public speaking is simply speaking and desiring to be heard by a group of people. To engage in a conversation and to connect with others in order to discover something larger. If there is fear there, it's usually connected to the past, and not the present. What gets interesting is when the desire to discover something is more interesting than the fear. 

How are these skills transferable/impactful beyond the workshop itself? 

Again, you have one body, one voice, one mind. We invite participants to be in real time and space with us - so they can experience what it is to fully be present. And we offer ways to practice this - which may seem silly because presence is a birthright of everyone... but tension, fear, and ideology can affect what we hear, what we see, and ultimately, what we repeat enough to believe. It's amazing to us that re-discovering how the body is organized to function can help in this process. So, yes, all of the skills we address in the workshop are transferable to any activity with any person.