Family Stories: How and Why to Remember and Tell Them

Date: Saturday, May 13 at 2pm
Stonington Opera House

Telling personal and family stories is fun – and much more. Storytelling connects strangers, strengthens links between generations, and gives children the self-knowledge to carry them through hard times. Knowledge of family history has even been linked to better teen behavior and mental health.

In this active and interactive program, storyteller Jo Radner shares foolproof ways to mine memories and interview relatives for meaningful stories. Participants will practice finding, developing, and telling their own tales.

Jo Radner is a storyteller for all moods. She delights in eccentrics, believes that humor and gravity are good bedfellows, and favors characters who shape admirable lives around unavoidable misfortunes. Jo has performed and taught from Maine to Hawaii to Finland. Although she tends to make stories about the people and history of northern New England, she also performs traditional folktales and her own modern tales and riffs on well-known classics. Her major stories include “Burnt into Memory,” a performance created from oral histories she gathered from survivors of the 1947 wildfire that destroyed the town of Brownfield, Maine, and “Braving the Middle Ground,” which juxtaposes Native American oral traditions and stories told by her own New England settler ancestors.

Jo teaches storytelling to teachers in Lesley University’s Creative Arts in Learning M.A. Program. She also conducts workshops for adults on creative storytelling, finding and telling personal and family stories, creating stories from history, and (especially for caregivers) on helping others tell and value their own stories. 

This is a Maine Speaks event

Maine Speaks supports individuals and organizations bringing people in their community together to learn from a gifted speaker who shares their expertise and lived experience in engaging ways.


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