Name: Hannah Ezzell and Chloe Treat
What is your current project?
We are developing a workshop that empowers people as storytellers called, wait for it, The Storytelling Workshop. The workshop is a weeklong course that explores the relationship between human and story. Using the Hero’s Journey as a framework, the workshop’s participants generate a collective myth. This myth becomes the basis of the curriculum. Through the tradition of oral storytelling, the group develops empathy for different archetypes and perspectives. We practice seeing diversity in characters that are viewed in a singular or limited way, and using story as a conduit to confront issues in our own lives. We believe that we cannot have equality in our world until we see equality in our stories. The Storytelling Workshop’s solution to the disparity of story is to create and empower more storytellers with the aim of creating a more democratic storytelling world.
Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production?
There’s no particular venue or show on this project but we ARE looking for a community partner in NYC for The Storytelling Workshop. We have previously worked with high school students in San Antonio, TX, and with BFA students in Ithaca NY. In both previous versions of the workshop we were taken by surprise with how attached the group grew to this material and how much we learned about the community we were working with. This has driven us to seek new iterations of the workshop and we are so excited to bring it into a new community context.
What’s next for you?
We are seeking funding to bring The Storytelling Workshop back to Texas, to explore different facets of Texan culture. We are writing a Western fable called ‘Home Again’ (that was what were were TRYING to make when we happily stumbled upon The Storytelling Workshop) an epic female-centric journey story. We are interested in creating and reclaiming female-centric mythology and seeing how female heroes interact with the masculine structure of both the hero’s journey and the Western. We want to use The Storytelling Workshop as a means of better understanding archetypal Texans and how Texans use the lense of story to view their world.
What is the name of the last show you saw?
Chloe: The last three shows I saw were shows I worked on: Counting Sheep, (R)evolution of Steve Jobs and the closing performance of Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812. I guess I’m in a theatre going rut. But while I was in Santa Fe working on Steve Jobs I saw an amazing performance by a Ukrainian band called DakhaBrahka.
Hannah: I just saw The International Women Artists’ Salon monthly showcase at Dixon Place.
Any advice for your peers?
Chloe: This is the amazing singer/songwriter Grace McLean’s advice but it’s great so I’m sharing it. It is this: develop/seek/explore your weirdness. The thing that only you love. The thing that probably no one else cares about. That’s the path to follow. For me it was feminist westerns and I’m still not sure what’s going to come of that but it brought me to my most favorite collaborator (Hannah Ezzel) and this whole other project (The Storytelling Workshop) that I’m so excited about.
Hannah: Tell the stories that only you can tell, that wouldn’t get told if you didn’t tell them. Find stories within your family, your community, your heart and your bones – stories that are as old as dirt, yet feel like medicine for these times…forgotten stories that are still waiting to be shared, seen, and known. And don’t write alone. Throw out the trope of the mad, suffering genius, alone in a room…communal/collaborative storytelling is powerful. It creates more complex and layered work than what one person can create alone – a transformative model for the arts (and the world) moving forward.
Facebook: Chloe Treat
Chloe Treat is a New York based director and choreographer. Born and raised in the great, if not occasionally problematic state of Texas; she directs and choreographs musicals, plays, operas, outdoor dance rituals and feminist Westerns. Chloe’s work centers on the curation and creation of modern mythologies, and investigates theater’s relationship to communal imagination. In her work, Chloe collaborates with rural communities and improves female representation on stage and within creative teams. Hannah Ezzell is a sacred storyteller, frequent scribbler, and sometimes filmmaker. She is currently developing a truth-telling and reconciliation process that integrates oral history, community storytelling, and conflict resolution. In addition, she engages in work ‘doctoring’ scripts to increase on-screen representation, challenging traditional/formulaic story conventions, tropes, and stereotypes. She also teaches meditation, cultivates spiritual experiences, and travels as much as humanly possible.
Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about The Storytelling Workshop.