From August 22 to August 23, Barret O’Brien, professional actor and award-winning writer, will lead “Finding Our Tales,” a theatrical writing workshop at The NOCCA Institute.
As an actor who has appeared on a variety of stages throughout his career, including performances in Brooklyn, Budapest, Pennsylvania and Paris, O’Brien is a veteran in the acting world. He’s taught at the Dwight/Edgewood Project, the Beargrass Writing Retreat, the Theater Apprentice Program, Camp Shakespeare, Young Artists Institute, The University of Montana and Southern Oregon University, to name a few. He is equally fluent in the language of pedagogy.
A native of New Orleans, O’Brien is excited to share his talents with the community. “I’ve led Finding our Tales throughout the country and am thrilled to bring it to my hometown, where my theatre career began,” O’Brien said. “The mission of the workshop is to unearth the stories we all carry and utilize the language of theater to give them shape and structure.”
“Stories underlie all we do. They always have,” O’Brien continued, speaking on the very human endeavor of storytelling. “The big challenges facing our society are tasking us with creating new stories, better stories, stories of cooperation, compassion, and interconnectedness. Traveling the country as an actor, it was easy to say, ‘Heck yeah, I’m part of new stories.’ But it was an entirely different question to ask, ‘Oh, yeah? Then in what tangible way did your work onstage today add to the solutions?’”
For O’Brien, this series of workshops at NOCCA is a major step forward in finding that solution. During their time at the workshop, participants will explore the tools of theater and how this relates to the structure of storytelling. While exploring these concepts each group member will create, cast and stage their own five-minute play.
On day one participants will begin to look at the sources of their inspiration, and from here they will be encouraged to craft their own material, which will serve for further exploration. Then, on day two, the morning will start with collaborative exercises, followed by revisions, casting and rehearsal, prioritizing the process, not perfection. And the weekend comes to a close with the group sharing their work for invited guests, such as friends and family.
The workshop events will take place on Aug. 23, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Aug. 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the NOCCA Institute Campus (2800 Chartres Street). Admission into the weekend program is $160. To register visit the official website for Barret O’Brien, here.