FIRST PERSON: Crafting Your Story for Performance, 2022


Come with a story. (Or two. Or three.) Leave with a performance. (Or two. Or three.)

Come without a story, and by the end of Day One, you’ll discover more compelling material than you’d ever think possible. “After all,” says theatre artist Gerard Stropnicky, “people are simply wonderful walking story anthologies.”

Why do some stories – some performances – spark your imagination, set fire to your soul, and leave you transformed, while others just sit there? Is it the content, or the telling? The framing, or the style? Can story be employed to bring laughter, or tears, or understanding, or lasting social change, or all of the above?

Gerard Stropnicky has been working in story for twenty years. This award-winning director has helped create compelling work from interview, gathered story, letters to the editor, even advertisements, recipes and children’s games. He’s written, directed and acted in countless styles; he’s coached diverse thousands of performers, professional and not, young and old, from every walk of life, to bring their stories to vivid life.

We’ll play with monologue. We’ll experiment with styles, colors and tones. We’ll make ourselves vulnerable to our stories, and to one another. The workshop will draw on the work of the late playwright and poet Jo Carson, Stropnicky’s long-time creative partner, as well as other practitioners of Story Work, and will culminate with a showing. This on-your-feet writers and performers story intensive is designed to release the enormous potential energy already alive in you and your story.

A repeat of previous summers’ sold out workshops – alums welcome!

Please note that many workshop participants choose to attend or take part in our KoFest Story Slam which will take place Sunday night, July 24, 2022, so you may want to mark  that in your calendars.



Gerard Stropnicky’s exploration of story has taken him from the coal mines of Appalachia to war-torn northern Uganda, from south Georgia cotton fields to Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale frack pads. He’s worked with moonshiners, church choirs, recovering addicts, former child soldiers, rural teens, Mardi Gras Indian Queens in New Orleans, and more.

A multi-faceted theatre artist (director, writer and actor), he graduated from Northwestern, studied with Alvina Krause, and in 1978 co-founded Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (BTE), where he worked for the next 34 years. These days he goes where he’s invited, applying community story to create original large-scale, site-specific performances in communities facing trauma, crisis, transition, or change. These transformative events, and the process that breathes life into them, offer communities both validation and challenge, bringing health, and changing lives.

For this work, as well as for his role in co-founding the national Network of Ensemble Theaters, Jerry was honored as a United States Artists Fellow in 2010. Stropnicky has acted in hundreds of roles and directed scores of productions, written and/or directed more than twenty “Theatre of Place” projects.


Workshops are geared for participants of all levels of experience, whose ages have run from 18-85. Workshops will meet from 10 am – 4 pm, Monday through Saturday, in the Studio Theater  in Emily Dickinson Hall on the Hampshire College campus in Amherst, MA.

Driving Instructions to Hampshire College

Hampshire College campus map

In order to increase access, workshops have variable pricing. Choose the level that is best for you: Patron Price $449, Standard Price $399, or Discounted Price $299, intended for those with SNAP/EBT cards or pressing financial situations.

Optional room and board are available on the Hampshire College campus for an additional fee. Housing, in a single with a shared bath in an Hampshire College dorm apartment is $266 for the week. All rooms are provided with a bed, desk, chair, chest of drawers, closet or wardrobe, and blanket. You have the option to rent linens for your stay (x-long twin sheet set, pillowcase  towels) for an additional $15. Studios, theatre, dining commons and dorms are all within walking distance. Meals in the Hampshire College Dining Commons can be paid for on a per meal basis, but the apartment is also equipped with a kitchen.

Email us, if you are interested in alternative housing. There are a number of hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts in the area.


STEP 1: Click HERE to download the registration form. ALL WORKSHOP STUDENTS PAYING BY CHECK MUST SUBMIT THIS FORM either via email or by post.
STEP 2. Print out your registration form and make your deposit check out to Ko Theater Works. Mail them to the Ko Festival of Performance 498 South Gulf Road Belchertown, MA 01007
Questions? For further information email us or call (413) 427-6147.

Additional information


$449 Patron Price, $399 Standard Price, $299 Discount Price, for those with SNAP/EBT Cards or pressing financial situations, Other Amount (variable) for partial payment ($199 minimum), with balance to be paid on the first day of the workshop, or to make an additional donation.

Go to Top