What are Story Circles and why do we use them?
The Story Circle Methodology (SCM) is a powerful tool for community dialogue which we learned from John and Wendi O'Neal through a class with the Free Southern Theatre Institute (FSTI). FSTI is a part of Junebug Productions which grew out of the Free Southern Theatre (founded in 1963) which was the cultural arm of the Civil Rights Movement. Co-founded by SNCC field secretary John O'Neal, the Free Southern Theatre was “a theater for those who have no theater” and it used SCM to engage audiences and performers in critical dialogue with the goals of reflecting on and creating new plays that delt with the struggle for racial justice. John and Wendi O'Neal trace the roots of the SCM back to Africa while honoring the aural traditions of indigenous peoples across the world.
SCM is a tradition of democratic education and community in New Orleans, representative of the city's deep African, Hatian, and Amerindian cultural identity, that anchors our practice and principles as an organization. Our work would not be possible if it weren't for the wisdom of these traditions and the generosity and example of our teachers. We hold up this practice of honest story sharing about our struggles in life as a powerful path to personal and collective transformation.
To learn more about story circles, participate in one. Many "social justice" groups in New Orleans host story circles, though they aren't all the same in style, origin, or intent. Some groups we are connected to who regularly host Story Circles and who are models for the work we do and the vision we ascribe to are United Teachers of New Orleans, Students at the Center, and of course Junebug Productions.
Fall 2014 Monthly Roundtables
All roundtables are held at the United Teachers of New Orleans Office, 4714 Paris Avenue. See the calendar below for further details.