Barbara H. Clark Presents

“Tell Me A Story” Storytelling Workshop

In March 2020 when the COVID-19 Pandemic shut down the theater at the Institute of Musical Arts (IMA), it also shut down Barbara’s storytelling workshop TELL ME A STORY (TMAS). The workshop regularly met for one hour, weekly, September through May, with approximately 20 members, and had done so for 17 years. Members usually performed 2 to 4 shows a year. Health and safety regulations prompted by the COVID-19 quarantine precluded future TMAS meeting in its regular classroom format. If it was to continue, Barbara would have to “pivot” and establish a new format. So she decided to convert TMAS from a classroom setting to a series of salons.

SALON: A fashionable assemblage of notables (as literary figures, artists or statesmen) held by custom at the home of a prominent person. —Webster’s 7th Collegiate Dictionary.

The salon format has 20 registered participants divided into 4 salons of 5 members each, labeled A,B,C,D. Each salon meets once a month on rotating Thursdays 1:00 – 2:00pm.

Example:

  • 1st Thursday —Salon A
  • 2nd Thursday –Salon B
  • 3rd Thursday –Salon C
  • 4th Thursday –Salon D

When introduced to the new concept, twenty members immediately signed up. As there are 5 openings for each salon, members signed-up for the salon which best fit their schedule. Meetings began in September 2020. They are used primarily for discussion and oral presentations. Written work is submitted by email or US mail. Taking a tip from outdoor dinning restaurants, Barbara located the salons on the outdoor patio of her home. This is a 22×30 foot covered patio, enclosed on 3 sides, open to a scenic view on the 4th. It is large enough to set up 5 individual work stations with table and chair socially distanced 6 feet apart.

SAFETY MEASURES

1. Salon meetings are held outside.
2. Members have their temperature checked upon arrival at each meeting.
3. Members wear face covering as they arrive which may be removed once seated.
4. Members have individual work stations with table and chair at 6 foot social distancing. 5. Hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and additional masks are available.

Three members fearful, of COVID dropped out. Those who continue to attend say the social outlet of talking with friends is as important as developing new stories. The salons and shared storytelling will continue through 2022. We hope to return to IMA in 2023. When we do, members will be ready with stories for a new show.