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Begin by setting up the story

The way I tell the story of Arachne is that I divide the audience into four sections and assign each one a key word to listen out for and to respond to in word/action: whenever Group 1 hears me say ARACHNE, they point proudly to their chests and say “I’m the Best!”

Setting up Group 2 (TAPESTRY) also enables me to explain what is tapestry before I start; likewise SHUTTLE and finally, I can eexplain that ATHENA is the goddess of Wisdom.  

Now they all know their roles, I can start the story!

Once upon a time,

when the grass grew greener,

the trees grew taller,

and the sun shone more brightly

than it does today,
there was a . . .

More ways To Begin




Sing a song (a verse, chorus) or hum the tune.Use an existing song or adapt the lyrics to a popular hit.  

This can provide an arresting way into a story. Teach the audience the chorus?

In a land that never was

in a time that could never be . . .

In a place,

neither near nor far,

and a time,

neither now nor then . . .

Variation 2

Once upon

a time

Variation 1

Once upon

a time


 Once upon a time

and twice upon a time,

and all times together

as ever I heard tell of

. . .  

(Hans Andersen)

“You’re a useless, good-for-nothing, lazy boy, Jack!” yelled his mother.

Openings 2

How could you live on $1 a day and still have money left over to



I remember a British stage actress sharing the following tip: if you find your audience is not responsive, note the seats where you do get a response - and play your next laugh line directly at them. They will laugh louder - and people around them will laugh too. Then play the next laugh line directly at the same person/group - and they’ll laugh louder, and draw more people into responding with them. Keep on targeting that group of seats until they have got the whole audience responding along with them!