Jan Wositzky’s Storytelling Workshop

Workshop for Primary & Secondary

“The guest storyteller at our Junior School Arts Festival, Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky, was so entertaining and a great presenter! Jan was very flexible and he was able to adapt his workshop formats to suit our requirements and mould his sessions to best cater to multi aged groups of 5 – 12 year old girls, with approximately 28 girls in each group. Not an easy task, and with only one day’s notice! Over the course of the 3 days, Jan presented 8 storytelling workshop sessions, and included music and humour in every session. Thank you Jan for taking part in our Arts Festival and for doing such a fabulous job!”  (Marissa Caluzzi, Ivanhoe Girls Grammar)

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For thousands of years stories have been our most powerful way of communicating. Stories are embedded in our religions, books, films and teaching, and in this workshop I incorporate all my storytelling influences. I go back to the original storyteller, the person around the campfire, with only his or her voice, body, a musical instrument and an occasional prop to paint a picture,  and I tell various stories: Australian Dreaming stories (with permission); Greek myths; outrageous yarns; personal tales; song stories and parables from around the world.

I talk about how these stories work, their structure and their purpose in showing us how to express ourselves, resolve conflict and live our lives.

The workshop can stop at this point, or go on as I guide students in the telling their own stories, either orally or in writing; assisting them in structuring, sticking to the theme and fleshing out the detail.

My Storytelling Background

My love of storytelling began with my refugee family telling tales of their journeys to Australia.

Then as a teenager I boasted a prodigious repertoire of jokes – our most basic form of three-part story structure.

And growing up in the Dandenong Ranges out of Melbourne I spent a lot of time swinging a pick with the local ‘old blokes’ who during ‘smoko’ would spin yarns of tramping on the dole during the Great Depression or being a guard at the Cowra Breakout during WW2.

Later I got interested in mythology and theatre, and oral history with such people at Phar Lap’s strapper, Tommy Woodcock, and later again I began script-writing documentaries for radio and television, bringing a basis of story to all these projects.


Whilst there’s no subject called ‘storytelling’ in curriculum, storytelling is the oldest, most versatile and entertaining way to educate. The telling of stories can be applied to any curriculum area at any level. Teachers can take elements of this workshop to use in their teaching. Students can take tips from my storytelling to use in their class work or assignments.

Practical Details

Duration       60 – 90 minutes                                                                                                                                                                                                            Set up            60 minutes                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Numbers        25 – 100                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cost                $5-6 per student. $500 – 600 minimum per workshop – depending on whether a 60 0r 90 minute       session. Plus travel in some locations

Enquiries/ Bookings