Preface

This anthology was created as a result of the ongoing partnership between Storycatchers Theatre and the Fiction Writing Department of Columbia College Chicago. Our goal in this partnership was not only to engage each other on our creative processes, but to blend the two pedagogical approaches. As in all good partnerships, both sides have learned from each other and grown in their work.

This exciting process brought together teachers from Storycatchers and the Fiction Writing Department. Storycatchers has used theater practices to successfully generate dramatic material in a wide range of programs over many years. The Fiction Writing Department teachers are trained to use speaking and writing exercises drawing upon the acclaimed Story Workshop® approach originated by John Schultz. Our primary goals were to improve oral and written skills of the students, while developing team building and creative problem solving disciplines. Mid-year, the students also presented their initial prose stories in a musical staged-reading, effectively mixing prose, drama, music composition and performance. This mixing carries a particular power to tap the many creative talents of the participants. More broadly, this interdisciplinary approach clearly testifies to the power and potential of skills development through the arts.

Throughout these stories, you will notice a strong sense of individual voice, a sharp focus on image, a permission and encouragement for the use of the writers’ own cultural and linguistic backgrounds and a truly imaginative approach developed through Columbia’s Story Workshop® process.

Our thanks go first to the teachers directly involved in the collaboration: Storycatcher’s Hillary Johnson, who also serves as Program Manager, and Fiction Writing’s Aimee Goluszka and Patrick Andrews. We would also like to thank Meade Palidofsky, Storycatchers’ Founder and Artistic Director, and Executive Director Nancy McCarty for partnering with us to realize our shared mission of civic service.

Randy Albers

Chair, Fiction Writing Department

Columbia College Chicago

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