Norah Dooley: Coordinator, Emcee, Coach

Just a few weeks ago, our story slam coordinator and emcee Norah Dooley, stopped by for a class visit. Sporting a warm and welcoming smile, Dooley took hold of her clicker, and wasted no time diving into her spiel on how we all have a story to tell, enthusiastically stating “we’re hardwired for that!” Dooley all the while conjured up some sort of joke that members of the class couldn’t help but chuckle at. Closer to the end of her presentation, Dooley evoked some class participation, beckoning us all to close our eyes, and to picture somewhere we think of when we hear the phrase “where I am from,” just to properly acquaint us with this year’s story slam theme. Meandering through all five senses, Dooley, in a cool, calm voice inquired: “What do you see to right? If you reach out and touch it, what does it feel like? Is it rough? Cold? Hot?” After being instructed to open our eyes, we were then challenged to tell our story to the person sitting closest to us in one minute. Of course a majority of us however, were unwilling to quit, even when Dooley called time, which was proof that Dooley’s pitch on storytelling was nothing far from the truth. Left fascinated by all that Dooley’s class visit had to offer, we caught up with Dooley, curious to know more about what stories she has to tell.

Now a storytelling course professor at Lesley University, as well as a professor at Tufts University’s Experimental College, Dooley says that twenty-five years ago, she never would have thought that she’d be a storyteller. “I was getting a degree in Creative Arts and learning, and I wanted to take a theater course as an elective my senior year, but they didn’t offer any.” Dooley’s mentors then nudged her in the direction of a storytelling course, and well, the rest is history. “I love it! It’s something very one of a kind, I’m always excited to hear other people’s stories, and it’s always fascinating to me what people bring.” Dooley is also a visiting author, and frequents homeless shelters, centers that host retirees, and youth developmental institutions.

When asked what advice she has for others who may want to get into storytelling, she replied: “Tell your story to just one other person, go to open mics, and remember to be engaged and present in the moment, and think only about the experience you’re talking about!”
Come out to Suffolk University’s story slam, and see what Dooley, some of Suffolk’s student storytellers, and what some GrubStreet storytellers have to offer, on Friday at 7 pm at the Modern Theater.

-Janaye Kerr

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