Although she was famed for her storytelling performances, Diane Wolkstein also excelled in teaching the storytelling art to beginners and professionals alike. Her workshops were for everyone who loved stories, wanted to hear more stories and wanted to learn to tell more stories.
In her workshops, she incorporated exercises dealing with voice, gesture, and character development. Depending on the focus of the workshop, she would speak about story content, understanding of story genres (folk tale, fairy tale, myth, epic), and understanding the persona of the storyteller.
Everyone who attended one of her workshops also had the opportunity to tell at least one story.
Among those who attended her workshops were parents, librarians, actors, therapists, educators, writers, dancers, lawyers, and even taxi drivers. Dianes workshops always drew a cross–section of people and of interests, creating lively participation and interaction.
Participants at Diane’s workshops often came away with an increased appreciation of the skills and importance of storytelling as well as with a treasure: a new story — their story.
Responses to her workshops
Your workshop gave us an idea of how voice and gesture may be adapted to a variety of materials. Even more important, you showed us the power that is created when the storyteller enters the world of the story and allows herself to be ‘present in the tale.’ Your willingness to be vulnerable and to experience the story anew inspired the participants to tell the stories they needed to tell and to ask the questions they needed to ask. I was particularly struck by your insights into the way stories take on life in various cultures. The trust that was created within the group during the course of the day culminated with the sharing of personal stories that each member created under your guidance. By precept and example you gave the assembled storytellers a great deal to reflect on and to emulate.
Louise Love, Dean of Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.
The childrens librarians are still talking about the workshop. They rated it exceptional. I never attended a workshop where so many people had such a wonderful experience. Your performance was captivating and I thought it was the best storytelling program I ever attended.
Wendy Ramsey, Program Administrator, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, Ohio.
I offer my sincere thanks for the brilliant storytelling workshop you presented at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum. Those who attended loved every minute and left feeling exhilarated. You were the key factor in the success of the day.
Helen F. McKay, President, Storytellers at the Writers’ Centre, Australia.
Teaching Posts & Visiting Lectures (a select list)
New York University, Mythology, 1984–2002
Pacifica Graduate School, Mythology, 1992–2000
The Open Center, New York, Storytelling, 1995
The New School, Mythology, 1988–1991
The Open Center, New York, Egyptian Mythology, 1987
Sarah Lawrence College, Mythology, 1983 1984
Bank Street College of Education, Storytelling, 1972–1995
Singapore International Storytelling Festival: The Stories Guide Us Home (keynote), 2012
EEC–City University of New York: Honoring the Self, Honoring the Other (keynote), 2008
Theosophical Society, London, Inanna, 2007
Vanderbilt University, Judith, 1999
Vanderbilt University, Hannah, 1998
Union Theological Seminary, Preparing for the Light, 1994
Andover Theological Seminary , Text and/or Midrash, 1993
University of Windsor, The Role of the Helper, 1992
Jewish Theological Seminary, Biblical Heroines, 1990
Syracuse University, Initiation in Psyche and Eros, 1989
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, The Trickster, 1988
Brown University, Descent to the Underworld, 1987
Rutgers University, Researching Ancient Myths, 1986
University of Kentucky (Lexington), Creation Myths, 1984