The Power of Shared Story

This winter I had the opportunity to participate in a community development conference in Colquitt, Georgia. Joy Jinks and the people of Colquitt are revitalizing their town and economy through the arts. How are they doing this?

Dr. Richard Owen Geer facilitated a Community Performance workshop at the conference during which a group of participants—most of whom had never met before—shared life stories with one another. Dr. Geer opened the workshop by saying, “through the process of sharing our stories we each step halfway out of ourselves, that much deeper into our relationships.” By the end of the day, we participants found ourselves writing, directing and performing a theater piece that combined our shared stories in a greater work that harvested the ups and downs of our personal histories to elevate and inspire an audience.

At the start of the day, I would never have guessed that I would later have the opportunity to act in vignettes that retold transformational moments in other people’s lives, to see my own stories retold, or to sing in support of new friends with whom I’d become deeply connected. This work is part of what is helping the people of Colquitt to build a brighter future together. To learn more about their work and The Colquitt/Miller Arts Council, click here.

Peggy Rubin, author of Sacred Theater, opened the conference with a provocative keynote address during which asked us to consider our lives as the stage on which our deepest intents and passions continually unfold. She then begged the question, “what is it you plan to do with your wild and precious life?” Her suggestion: “play it with wonder, delight, devotion and joy, as if it is a work of sacred theater.”

What might happen if estranged members of our communities came together to hear of one anothers’ ups and downs? What if we found that we are not all that different in our dreams and strivings? What if there is a way to form a conscious ensemble with those around us, to share and care just a little bit more with the people who deliver our food or doctor our wounds? How might our sense of connectedness be transformed?

Thank you Richard, Peggy, Joy and the people of Colquitt for the roles that you have played on the stage of my life.

To learn more about Dr. Geer, founder of Community Performance International, click here.

To learn more about Ms. Rubin, founder of the Center for Sacred Theater, click here.

Together they will be cofacilitating a conference with Dr. Jean Houston this August in Ashland Oregon during the Shakespeare festival there. Learn more about Servants of the Possible: The Arts and Powers of Social Artistry.


4 comments on “The Power of Shared Story

  1. I have subscribed to your feed! Will I receive updates by e-mail? I was so struck by your content that I can?t wait for the new stuff! Please notice me when something new arrives here! Looking forward for it!

  2. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

  3. This blog post is very interesting. Would love to read a little more of this.

  4. Thanks for such a great post. I will be listing this in my monthly newsletter. Many thanks and i hope to help spread the word

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