Loren Niemi

Why Use


My Books




I have over twenty-five years of experience as a professional storyteller researching, creating, performing and teaching the deeper meanings of stories ­ both old and new. I will be glad to custom build classes, workshops and coaching programs.

Here are some of workshops I offer alone or with my storytelling partners. The cost and time frames of these workshops is always tailored to needs and interests of the organization or individuals I am working with.

Mapping the Territory: Plot

How do you move beyond the standard narrative habit? This workshop presents ten elegant plot forms, including digressive, circular, meta-narrated and lists that you can be use to make lively narratives. It's a hand's-on approach that includes descriptions and examples of each plot form, exercises for the shaping of oral/written original or traditional material. This workshop is suitable for both beginning and advanced storytellers and writers.

  • Northlands Storytelling Network conference, Madison, WI (2006)
  • San Clemente, CA (2003)
  • Minneapolis, MN (2002)
  • Ann Arbor, MI (2001)
  • Frankfort, KY (2001)
  • Dallas, TX (2000)
  • Davis, CA (2000)
  • Washington Storyteller's Theater, Washington, DC (2000)
  • Sharing the Fire conference, Boston, MA (1999)
  • National Storytelling conference, San Diego, CA (1999)
  • Albuquerque, NM (1999)
  • Northlands Storytelling Network conference, Dubuque, IA (1998)

Inviting the Wolf In: the Difficult Story Workshop

This hands-on workshop taught with Elizabeth Ellis begins with a frank conversation about the value and necessity of telling the stories of sorrow and loss, wickedness and failure as well as those of humor and happy endings. We look at what stories we have avoided telling and why. We lead participants through exercises that prepare the teller and listener for telling/hearing difficult stories. We work with different models for moving beyond therapy or sentimentality into metaphor and meaning with small group and individual exercises in choosing, shaping and telling your difficult stories. Each participant receives a copy of our book, Inviting the Wolf In: Thinking About Difficult Stories.

  • Mississippi River Festival, St, Charles, MO (2006)
  • Illinois Storytelling Festival, Spring Grove, IL (2002)
  • Little Rock, AR (2002)
  • Florida Storytelling Camp, Kissimmee, FL (2001)
  • Chicago, IL (2000)
  • National Storytelling Conference, Kingsport, TN (2000)
  • Northlands Storytelling Network Conference, Dubuque, IA (2000)
  • National Storytelling Conference, San Diego, CA (1999)

Better, Stronger, More Effective: Storytelling as Organizational Improvement

Stories are the fundamental organizing principle for human beings to communicate identity and values. They can inspire leadership, build teams, share vision, invite participation or advocate for policies, programs and funding. Four kinds of stories - personal narratives, oral histories, metaphoric stories and community rituals - help define the culture of every organization. Learn how your organization uses these stories now and how you can to consciously identify, shape and passionately tell your organizational story.

  • Building More Effective Nonprofits conference, New Richmond, WI (2006)
  • Winona Statue University, Winona MN (2003)
  • MN Pollution Control Agency conference, Bloomington, MN (2002)
  • MN Center for Arts Education/CAPP conference, Minneapolis, MN (2002)
  • Search Institute National conference, Minneapolis, MN (2002)
  • Families & Children's Services, Minneapolis, MN (2001)
  • MN Regional Arts Councils, various MN locations (2001-2002)
  • Indianapolis Business Council/Story Arts of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN (2000)

Stories of the "Other"- A Dialogue on Race, Sex, & Class

This a chance to explore in a safe and respectful space, stories about the three "isms" - race, sex and class that are often the unspoken and troubling piece of the American Dream. This workshop invites an honest, perhaps even difficult, experience of listening and telling our stories of prejudice and injustice with a reflection on why it matters to "speak truth to power".

  • O.P.P.S Conference, Mount Vernon, OH (2006)
  • Northlands Storytelling Network conference, Madison, WI (2004)
  • Sharing the Fire conference, Boston, MA (2004)

Don't Look Away!!!: - The Scary Story Workshop

What do Edgar Allen Poe and Alfred Hitchcock have in common? In a mass culture of blood, guts and gore, there is a need for storytellers to tell a different kind of ghost story -- one with an appreciation for subtle menace and the unspoken, that scares by analogy and implication. This hands-on workshop focuses on how to craft and tell all kinds of ghost stories, from the traditional to the psychologically disturbing. Learn to balance creepy content with audience pleasing wit and charm in the well-told story.

  • Mississippi River Festival, St, Charles, MO (2006)
  • East Tennessee State University - Storytelling Institute, Johnson City, TN (2002)
  • Northlands Storytelling Network Conference, Madison, WI (2002)

A Rose by Any Other Name: Romance & Eroticism in Stories

This hands-on workshop identifies the emotional or sensual detail of personal and traditional stories for adults, by adults, and about adults as romantic or erotic texts. It is a juicy and nuanced look at how we tell our most personal and intimate stories of love, desire, and the explicit with exercises designed to identify our discomfort and techniques to help us tell these stories comfortably. This workshop is for intermediate or advanced storytellers and writers.

  • Washington Storyteller's Theater, Washington, DC (2002)
  • Sharing the Fire Conference, Boston, MA (2002)
  • Florida Storytelling Camp, Kissimmee, FL (2001)
  • Northlands Storytelling Network Conference, Madison, WI (2001)

Telling Without a Net: Improvisational Stories

The improvisational stories are often seen as the riskiest kind of storytelling, yet no other form gives the storyteller as much freedom to tell to the audience in the moment. This is a dynamic hands-on workshop about finding and developing your ability to create successful stories on the spot. I guarantee that you will successfully tell six improvisational stories by the end of this workshop. The focus will be on having FUN while building confidence in your story making and experiencing the joy of telling in the moment!!

  • Children's Home & Family Services, St. Paul, MN (2005)
  • Somerville, MA (2002)
  • Madison, WI (2001)
  • Sharing the Fire Conference, Boston, MA (2000)
  • Chicago, IL (1999)
  • Northlands Storytelling Network Conference, Dubuque, IA (1999)


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