New Victory Arts Break: Sharing Stories

From journaling and filmmaking to just telling your family about your day, stories are everywhere, and there are so many ways to share them! In this set of Arts Break activities, we’ll explore a few different styles of storytelling that celebrate our own skills and memories, and that also honor and involve those close to us. Let’s get started!

Stay up to date on Arts Break and other arts-based activities! Sign up for New Victory email.

Explore All Arts Breaks
New Victory Arts Break title with inset photos of Peter, Jaden and Xiomara

Some of the videos in this Arts Break were filmed at the New Victory Theater. We acknowledge that New Victory resides on the seized homeland of the Lenape people and the intertribal territory of many First Nations. We celebrate and pay deep respect to all Indigenous peoples, past, present and future, and we encourage you to learn more about these vibrant communities.

Tell the Tale of Your Special Skill!
Wow! How did you do that? The first style of storytelling we’ll explore today is one based on our own special skills. It takes time to perfect a skill, and that learning journey is just as vital as the destination, especially when teaching your skill to others. New Victory Teaching Artist Peter Musante has a formula for sharing your skills through storytelling. Let’s join him, along with Jaden and Xiomara from the New 42 Youth Corps!

What’s your special skill? Give it some thought, or visit Peter’s previous Arts Break on inventing a trick shot, and then let’s step through his formula for going from skill to story.

Step One: Share your spark. When did you first discover your skill? Use descriptive language to paint a picture.

Step Two: Describe your learning journey. What steps did you take to build and improve on your skill? Use this sequence to help: “First… And then… Until…”

Step Three: Share a first step. What would be the very first thing a learner should try to get started? Keep it simple, and then build confidence through exploration.

Nice storytelling! Once you’ve shared the story of your skill with a family member or friend, encourage them to practice the skill themselves and make it their own.

Aiming for a basket, Xiomara bounces a ball of paper off of her arm. Instead, it hits Jaden, and then bounces off of him into the basket. They high five in celebration!


If you’d like to expand this formula into a monologue—a longer speech for a solo performer—incorporate these extra elements into your storytelling formula!

  • Location: Where were you when you first discovered your skill?
  • Time Spent: How long do you think you have spent practicing this skill?
  • Performance: Finish off your monologue by completing the skill!
New Victory Teaching Artist Heidi Stallings
Craft a monologue that answers the who, where, what and why of your story with New Victory Teaching Artist Heidi Stallings.

Act Out a Story with Objects!
The next storytelling style we’ll play with today is storytelling through props and objects! For this activity, we’ll supply some story prompts, and you can focus on the props. Let’s try it out!

Materials: Paper, something to write with, three random objects from home

Step One: Pick three objects from around your home at random—a toothbrush, a pair of socks, a small statue! Have fun choosing objects that might not normally go together.

Step Two: Copy the story ideas below onto tiny scraps of paper. You can also brainstorm your own!

Story ideas

  • A surprise gift exchange
  • A marriage proposal
  • Stealing a precious gem from a museum
  • Looking at art at an art gallery
  • Feeding a flock of pigeons
  • A tea party
  • A surprise dance battle

Step Three: Gather an audience of family or friends. Place all of the scraps of paper into a hat or bowl and select one at random.

Step Four: When you read the story idea, take a moment to think about how you can use your three objects to depict that story. You can add sound effects, but try to avoid using any dialogue. See if your audience can guess what story your objects are acting out.

Can you guess what our objects are doing?

Instead of pulling a scrap of paper from your bowl, ask your audience to offer a random scene for you to bring to life!

Share a Memory Through Illustration!
Not all stories need to come from random prompts. Some of the best stories are ones we’ve lived! In this next activity, we’ll draw on our own memories as inspiration and then share our stories through illustration rather than words.

Materials: Paper (or our memory storytelling template), coloring utensils, pictures of the people from the memory (optional)

Blank template, a full-page white cloud divided into four blank quadrants

Step One: Think back on a memory of you and your family or friends. It could be a holiday celebration, a fun vacation, that time someone did something very silly or anything else that comes to mind. Here are a few memories that come to mind for us:

  • Losing my first tooth
  • The best birthday
  • The most fun family dinner
  • Meeting my best friend
  • Finding our family pet

Step Two: Break this memory down into four moments and write them down. What happened first? What happened next? And then? Finally? We chose “Losing my first tooth!”

  • First, my tooth felt a little wiggly—I was excited!
  • Next, I had something crunchy for dinner because I wanted my tooth to fall out.
  • And then, because of the crunchy meal, my tooth fell out!
  • Finally, I put my tooth under my pillow, and the next day I woke up to a surprise!

Step Three: Dream up an illustration to represent each of your memory’s four moments. These can be abstract drawings like a smiley face to represent a victory, or super detailed with cutout photos and illustrations of everyone in the memory! Feel free to add text or leave your illustrations up to interpretation.

Four quadrants depicting the tooth story. 1. A smiling jiggly tooth. 2. A kid holding an apple with a bite taken out of it. 3. Smiling kid, one tooth in hand. 4. A bed with some money under the pillow.

Keep Telling Your Story!
Thank you for exploring storytelling with us this week! Continue sharing stories in artful and innovative ways with the Arts Break activities below, guided by New Victory Teaching Artists.

New Victory Teaching Artist Marisol Rosa-Shapiro
Honor the story of a loved one by transforming it into a flip letter with Marisol Rosa-Shapiro.
New Victory Teaching Artist Dwayne Brown
Get moving! Choreograph the story of your morning routine with Dwayne Brown.
New Victory Teaching Artist Alberto Denis
Sketch a multi-panel comic strip and let your imagination fill in the gaps with Alberto Denis.
New Victory Teaching Artist Drew Petersen
Enrich your story with some dramatic lighting and sound design with Drew Petersen.
New Victory Teaching Artist Lauren Sharpe
Get spontaneous and turn your story into a piece of performance art with Lauren Sharpe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments Leave a comment