Thomas Doty – Storyteller

School Residencies


"One of the best of Oregon's storytellers!"

"A cultural treasure." – "A master of his art."

Stories from Homeland & Home

Thomas Doty spent nearly two decades as a Master Teacher in the Arts in Education program where he was praised for his innovative, hands-on teaching methods.

In his school residencies, Doty shares stories from his native homeland of southern Oregon and northern California ... and students create and tell stories from their home.

Thomas Doty demonstrates his own storytelling style as a performance model, and then guides students on non-competitive journeys, encouraging students to discover their own unique styles of telling their own stories.

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Throughout a residency, students learn about native cultures as well as actively participate in the ancient art of storytelling. Residencies are a blend of performances and workshops.

Thomas Doty has residencies available for grades K-12. They are a minimum of five days long, with several 30-60 minute sessions per day. Residencies can include evening programs and staff in-services.

Thomas Doty has been Native Storyteller in Residence in communities throughout the West, including schools and universities, museums and theatres, Indian tribes, national parks and monuments.

"Thomas Doty is a thorough professional and one of the hardest working individuals I have met in my decades as an actor and director. He is constantly researching and exploring materials and means to bring added dimensions to the storytelling experience."

Michael Newell, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Old Globe Shakespeare Festival, Los Angeles County Schools

Workshops for School Residencies

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Here are descriptions of five of Thomas Doty's workshops available for K-12. There is flexibility in scheduling, and Doty will work with you to fine-tune topics and create a residency just right for your school. There are many possibilities!

  • Stories & Songs (Grades K-2. Length is 30-45 minutes.) Doty uses hands-on activities to give young students rich experiences of Old Time stories and songs.
  • The Importance of Stories (Grades 3-12. Length is 45-60 minutes.) Students learn how stories are the heart of native cultures. Stories entertain, they teach, they heal. Even during the dark years in their histories, native people have kept their stories alive. Students experience oral tradition by telling a traditional story with Doty that is passed along to them orally.
  • The Art of Storytelling – Basic Skills (Grades 3-12. Length is 45-60 minutes per session.) Students actively learn the skills of storytelling and oral presentation, including voice, movement, gestures.... Emphasis is placed on sharing, connecting to your audience, inviting them into your story. In multiple sessions -- great for residencies -- students expand their skills and create their own stories as a path to discovering their unique performance styles ... journeying yet deeper into this ancient art.
  • The Art of Storytelling – Advanced Skills (Grades 6-12. Length is 45-60 minutes per session.) This is a vigorous and intensive storytelling experience for students who have expressed interest or demonstrated skill in the performance arts. Available as a single session or a sequence of sessions.
  • Reading the Rock Writings (Grades 3-12. Length is 60 minutes per session.) Stories and messages carved and painted on the rocks are simply another form of storytelling and native literature. In the first session, Doty has participants act out short stories with gestures and movements based on rock writing symbols. A fun and active way to learn the concepts of the images. In a second session, students create their own stories using traditional and original symbols.
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Common Core State Standards

Thomas Doty's stories align with educational standards, and are relevant across content areas. Here is an outline of CCSS in "teacher speak," with links to specific passages in Doty's writing that support key concepts.

"Thomas Doty is a rarity -- a scholar whose work does not smack of lampblack or the dust of archaeology, a poet who brings the power of aptly chosen words to every facet of life, a teacher whose skills delight the young and the old."

Robert Casebeer, Poet and Emeritus Professor, Department of English, Southern Oregon University

Contact Thomas Doty