Helping people tell stories effectively is something I do every day. It’s a place where my experience in marketing, content writing, theatre, and performing combine to help make history something that’s vibrant, catchy, and memorable.
I want everyone to experience history this way! I am available to provide theatrical training for tour guides and interpreters, tour design and research, and curriculum development assistance for researching the “local legends” of your town or region. Here are some of my current workshop offerings.
Bringing History to Life
How do we portray people and events? Where do we start researching? What kinds of things can spark an idea and inspire a historic portrayal or story series?
These workshops are perfect for those looking to create theatrical experiences rooted in real history, monologues or short-story stage productions, or museum tours. Bringing History to Life workshops can be adapted for any audience age, from school age to adults. They can be offered either in person or through an online format.
Bringing History to Life: Research
In this workshop, we cover basic research methods for creating effective and accurate stories. How do you choose a subject? Where do you start to create a character? How can you transport someone to a place that doesn’t exist any longer?
We will discuss basic research methods to learn about historic events, objects, and buildings. While research isn’t foolproof, these techniques will help you get on the right path. These include uncovering societal norms, the built environment, clothing, music, culture, and influential events that help create a rich and compelling story featuring objects, buildings, or people.
We’ll also discuss ways of considering and addressing problematic and uncomfortable parts of history one may encounter, and how to thoughtfully approach these topics with a modern audience’s cultural understanding in mind.
Bringing History to Life: Portrayals
There are many ways to make historical events compelling and interesting, including taking on a character role to engage an audience. But what do we know about them? What’s historical? What is fictional? What is legendary?
In this workshop, you’ll learn how to bring to life a “real person” from the past and how to create a person who’s fictional but realistic. Using a character sheet method, you’ll sketch out what you know of the character you’ll portray, and learn the basics of what you need to know to add depth and complexity to their stories.
Bringing History to Life: Objects
Every object, no matter how mundane-seeming, has a story behind it. But it doesn’t always have someone to uncover and tell it in a way that connects those looking at it. New England is rich in small house museums filled with objects that were used by real people every day. Sometimes we are so caught up in specifics about an item, that we forget its purpose and the people who may have used it.
In this workshop, we approach the challenges of presenting material culture in a way that connects it to human culture. This workshop is designed to help house museum staff and volunteers think outside the display case to find the story hidden inside the object. The goal of this workshop is to help house museum staff see their collections in a new light and consider ways they can create meaning and novelty for the guests who visit them.
Bringing History to Life: Presenting
Did you know that some people think that history is dull and boring?
That’s because a natural love of history doesn’t necessarily equate to a natural ability to educate and inform others about history. Even if some artifacts are dusty and dry, there’s no need for historic presentations to be!
The goal of the presenting session is to provide inspiration, theatrical coaching, and feedback for presenters and docents who wish to entertain and engage audiences while teaching about history. Using theatrical improv techniques, your existing knowledge, (and maybe a little on the fly research), we’ll provide a supportive, fun, and creative environment to help you bring the history you love to life!
Bringing History to Life: Tour Design
Walking tours have experienced a surge in popularity in the past few years, as people enjoy getting together outside in the fresh air.
Have you always wanted to create a walking tour experience for your community but haven’t known where to begin? This workshop shares techniques that I’ve used to create my walking tours. Learn how to use free and easy-to-manage tools like custom maps and online research to help create a tour for your area!
High School Programs
Learning Local History: Connecting with the Past
Have you wanted to get your high school students to become more involved in your community’s history? What can be learned in your local graveyard? How can we learn about the lives of real people in the past?
Using available resources like a local graveyard, monuments, and legend as a starting point, I’ll help your students understand how accessible the past can be with just a little bit of work. The lesson plan we create will be focused on your community and will help connect your students to the real history around them.
Learning Local History: Legendary Mainers
Was Paul Bunyon real? No, but Maine’s Jigger Jones was real, and men like him help to solidify the legendary status of figures like Paul Bunyon. This presentation features Mainers who led legendary lives, from politicians to lumberjacks to brewers to outdoors-women. We’ll consider history, legend, and where they intersect. We’ll cover how to separate fact from fiction using research and digital literacy (how to know what’s reliable),
Learning Local History: Average 19th Century Teenager
Life in the 19th century was more than just walking uphill both ways in the snow. Depending on the situation you were born to, it could be carefree or incredibly difficult. Real stories of young Mainers, gleaned from historic documentation and an understanding of the time period, help modern teenagers connect with Maine’s past. Clothing, social customs, music, technology, and work, this presentation focuses on stories of and told by young people in earlier times.
Content warning: While these stories are told in a sensitive way, the experiences of some young people were filled with hardship and adult challenges. For example, a young Bangor woman, age 15, is picked up for streetwalking and sent to the almshouse…the same year that her father is listed in the census as being unemployed. History is neither quaint nor sanitized, and this presentation may not be appropriate for all classrooms.
How to Book
Contact me via email! We can discuss what your organization needs and work together to meet your goals!
Looking for something else? I’d love to talk with you to see if I can help, or recommend a better resource for you!