Thomas Doty – Storyteller

Workshops & Residencies

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

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

A Journey into Mythology & Performance

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Thomas Doty spent two decades as a Master Teacher in the Arts in Education program where he was praised for his innovative, hands-on teaching methods. Doty has been Native Storyteller in Residence in communities throughout the West, including schools and universities, museums and theatres, outdoor schools and summer camps, Indian tribes, national parks and monuments.

Storytelling Skills & Cultural Awareness

Thomas Doty's workshops and residencies are explorations into the art of storytelling, with an emphasis on performance skills that are uniquely native and rooted in ancient cultural traditions.

Native stories have a strong sense of place. How they are performed strengthen ties between people and their homeland. Programs sometimes include treks to ancient cultural sites, including native villages, solstice and rock writing sites.

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Learn how gestures used in traditional native storytelling performances have their origins in Indian sign language and rock writing symbols. Discover how to create a visual map of a story in an empty space using movements, gestures, and voice. Develop skills in using facial expressions that mirror the moods of mythic masks, and graceful movements that emerge from primal dances. Gain a better understanding of the importance of sacred numbers and the integration of native world view into old and new native stories.

And most importantly: find your own story as you experience native worlds, and begin to establish or enhance your unique style of expressing your story.


Workshops are versatile in length, age-appropriate content and scope. They can be done on their own in single sessions, or combined with performances and other workshops to create a residency that lasts from a few days to several weeks.

In addition, Doty conducts staff in-services, guiding teachers to accurate resources on native people, and providing ideas for follow-up activities to his programs.

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Native Storytelling (Basic Skills): An entry-level exploration of the importance of stories to native people. Participants actively participate in the ancient and living tradition of storytelling by telling a story or singing a song with Doty that has been passed on to them orally.

Native Storytelling (Advanced Skills): This workshop begins with basic skills and goes deeper. Participants learn storytelling techniques that have their origins in ancient aspects of native culture, including sign language, rock writing symbols, traditional dance, and more! These skills are incorporated into individual performance styles in either traditional myths or original stories.

Reading the Rock Writings: Stories and messages carved and painted on the rocks are a form of storytelling and native literature. Doty teaches this interactive workshop by having participants act out short stories with gestures and movements based on rock writing images. They explore the meanings of basic symbols, and how they combine to create stories. Additional sessions have participants creating original rock writings. This workshop can also be presented as a talk, called Stories the Rock People Tell.

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We Are All Story People: Get to know the wise and diverse People of native mythology ... Coyote, Bear, Rock Old Woman, and others. Through the sharing of stories, this workshop explores the native world view that "Everyone is People" ... Plant People, Rock People, Animal People.... Oral tradition emphasizes the interconnectedness of all of these People. And everyone has a story.

Making a Mythology: A place is chosen ... an alpine meadow, a fishing site along a river, an Old Time village site where native people once lived, a cave or canyon with ancient rock writings, a prominent hill or mountain.... Participants create new native stories about this place, creating a mythology from the ground up. These stories can become the foundation for a curriculum in outdoor education, native studies, oral communication or writing. More stories can be added with additional workshops, making the new mythology a growing, living tradition, a process native people have been perpetuating for thousand of years.


"Tom's enthusiasm and deep mastery of his craft are a gift he shares with wholeheartedness and skill. I am so glad he shared them with me."

Melani Marx, Energy Alignment Master, Certified Life Coach, Teacher, Mentor and Writer

"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