What Does it Mean to Tell A Story?

We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. Their isn’t a stronger connection between people than stories.

Jimmy Neil SmithFounder and President of the International Storytelling Center

From the beginning of time humans have always been telling stories. Stories have always been a way for us to connect and learn from one another. Stories from the Bible have taught us to be humbled by God’s will and to learn to love our neighbors with the same love Christ showed humanity. Stories from history have taught us not to repeat old mistakes. Though what does it exactly mean to tell a story?

Characters

Important to any story are the characters. Characters are key to how the plot will unfold, but they are important to how the audience will become invested. As an audience we become invested when characters are human. This doesn’t mean that characters in stories can’t be animals or teacups like in Beauty and the Beast, but they must relate to our humanity. When someone tells a story, the characters need to have emotions we can relate to. Characters who show their humanity allow people to empathize and this is what truly creates a story.

Plot

The next important element to a story is the plot. The plot is what the characters are going to go through during the story. This will put the characters in difficult situations as they attempt to make it to the resolutions. Then when characters show their humanity and allow an audience to connect, they are able to engage with the plot that is going on. Oftentimes these plots are based on problems people go through in their everyday lives. This helps audiences to see others going through challenges, how they can learn from the characters going through those challenges.

Your Story

This is important because life can be messy at times, filled with bumps in the road. Stories help to remind us we are not alone in this world, we have other people to help us out and guide us. Stories connect us in meaningful ways, to learn to understand different people. Stories matter for all sorts of reasons, though the most important story is the one you are living yourself. Never be afraid to share this one to the world.

At INSPIRE, the Musical Theatre program is always sharing wonderful stories on the stage letting people engage and connect. Come check out one of these productions, and if you’re a performer come help bring these stories to life.

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