Matthew Dicks knows how to tell a good story. The internationally bestselling author and elementary school teacher is a favorite of The Moth stage who has earned accolades as a 53-time Moth StorySLAM champion and 7-time Moth GrandSLAM champion.
For the past 10 years, he has also been teaching the art and craft of storytelling all over the world—to individuals, corporations, universities, religious institutions, schools, and anyone else eager to learn. “Storytelling is useful to everyone,” he says. “It’s a way to start to make sense of your own life, remember and recognize the things that are important today, and recapture the things we’ve forgotten about.”
This August 20-21, Dicks will be bringing his storytelling expertise to the scenic Catskills hamlet of Phoenicia. There, he’ll lead a two-day storytelling workshop and perform at the Phoenicia Playhouse, home of the Shandaken Theatrical Society, a non-profit that has brought community theater productions to the area for over 40 years.
On Friday and Saturday, Dicks’ beginning storytelling workshop will equip 25 participants with strategies to rapidly improve how they tell stories, from the dinner table to the stage, using a combination of prompts, games, breakout sessions, and something he calls “Homework for Life.” Saturday evening’s performance, which will be held outdoors at the Playhouse, will feature several of Dicks’ own stories alongside those of the workshop participants.
Dicks’ workshop and performance marks a recent move by the Phoenicia Playhouse to include more multifaceted and accessible programming for the community. The expansion was prompted in part by the need to think outside its traditional theater space, given a full year of no performances due to Covid and the theater's ongoing renovation.
“We’ve been using this time as a renaissance to rethink everything that we’re going to be doing," says Phoenicia Playhouse Artistic Director Michael Koegel. “This workshop checks all the boxes our theater is supposed to. It involves the community, it’s educational, and we can still provide a nice evening at the theater on top of it all.”
Registration for the two-day Storytelling Workshop with Moth GrandSLAM Champion Matthew Dicks is $250, and tickets for the Saturday evening show, Phoenicia Playhouse Storytellers, are $25 each. Sign up for the workshop here or purchase tickets to the show here.