Workshops and Programmes

Facilitator’s Biography

Born in Chile, Lina de Guevara is an actor, director, theatre instructor and storyteller. She’s a specialist in the techniques of Transformational theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed and Commedia dell’Arte.  She’s lived in Victoria BC, Canada, since 1976. In 1988 she founded PUENTE Theatre and was its artistic director until June 2011. With its mandate to create and produce plays about diversity, the immigrant experience and intercultural communication, PUENTE has been a significant presence in the Victoria theatre scene.
Stories and the art of storytelling have always been important elements in PUENTE productions and in the training of the participants in its projects. “Story Mosaic”, “Sisters/Strangers”, “Storytelling Our Lives”,  and “Puppets & Traditions” are examples of  PUENTE Productions inspired in story telling.
At present Lina is facilitating, together with renowned storyteller Jennifer Ferris, the I.C.A. Interfaith Project Interlaced, in which participants from the Hindu, Jewish and Ismaili Muslim communities are using storytelling to describe how they live their faith. Their stories will be woven together in a public presentation at the Belfry Studio on June 23.
Lina is a strong believer in the power of the Arts to enrich life, to heal wounds and to add meaning and joy to our days. She sees storytelling as a marvelous tool for artistic development, community participation, and promotion of cultural diversity.
After her retirement as Artistic Director of PUENTE Theatre, Lina is keen on increasing her participation in storytelling events and sharing contemporary and traditional stories from her native Chile. She likes to tell stories in English and in Spanish.
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Participants in this workshop will tell their stories in an environment where it feels natural, safe and exciting. Roles of teller and listener will be examined and the elements of the art of storytelling will be defined and explored. The Visual Arts will be used as one of the possible sources of inspiration for creating stories. The workshop will end in an informal storytelling concert. Working towards a presentation helps to focus the participants and adds meaning to the work.

(For Storytelling presentations see my Storytelling Page)

Example Storytelling Workshop Plan

  1. Morning: Everyone is a storyteller.
    Getting participants to trust they can tell stories and feel comfortable telling them. Where do stories come from? How do I find themes? Opening exercises, warm-ups. Roles of teller and listener. Giving back stories. Group agreement. Storytelling protocol. Story circles. Story Sharing.
  2. Afternoon: The Art of Storytelling.
    What are the elements of the art of storytelling? Refining the story: structure, storyline, characters, descriptions, creating images in the listener’s minds, specificity, purpose of the story, focal points, endings. Remembering the story. Refining the telling: Voice, actions, addressing the audience, characterizations, etc. Warm-ups. Exercises. Practice.
    Because so many of the participants in MISSA are visual artists we will spend time examining how to connect storytelling and the Visual Arts.
  3. Morning: Visual Arts and storytelling.
    1-Sketching/colouring a story.
    2-Telling stories inspired in paintings (Participants will be shown projections of paintings and develop on the spot stories inspired by them)
  4. Afternoon: The Storytelling concert.
    Preparing for the Storytelling concert: Choosing stories, rehearsing, polishing and honing the presentation.
  5. The Concert: An informal presentation in a relaxed setting where participants will invite the rest of the school to listen to a selection of stories taken from the stories created during the workshop. The concert can last for about an hour and be programmed at a time that doesn’t conflict with other activities. The workshop facilitator will be one of the tellers.

Theatre of the Oppressed

 I have developed a variety of programs and workshops to deal with specific situations. Mostly but not exclusively I have based this work in Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed (T.O.): a way of using theatre to find solutions for problems that people are dealing with. Its techniques are empowering, democratic and very effective. Nowadays Boal’s methods are widely known in North America, but in the nineteen seventies, when I started, Headlines Theatre in Vancouver, was the only one in Canada to do Theatre of the Oppressed; they developed later a new perspective on it called Theatre for Living. Headlines Director, David Diamond helped us in our task of working with T.O’s techniques in Victoria.

Over the years I was lucky to attend three extended workshops with Augusto Boal: in New York, Manitoulin Island (Ontario), and Seattle. I also attended, with three PUENTE actors, the 7th Theatre of the Oppressed Festival in Rio de Janeiro,1993. There I facilitated our theatre forum piece about family violence and attended several workshops and discussions with international practitioners of T.O. I attended the 8th International Festival of Theatre of the Oppressed in Toronto, where I conducted a workshop on PUENTE’s experience of using theatre forum and image theatre with the immigrant population. I corresponded frequently with Augusto Boal. He was always very supportive and generous with his advice. (See my article: “Remembering Boal”)

Transformational Theatre

My intensive practice of Theatre of the Oppressed helped me to develop my own approach to creating what I called Transformational Theatre workshops where I integrated specific T.O. techniques with many practices: movement, voice and acting exercises, meditation, improvisation, storytelling, etc. In these workshops, theatre is considered a tool to achieve personal as well as social transformation. In Transformational Theatre workshops I always include mention of Playback Theatre and the Community Play Concept because they add important perspectives on how to use theatre to achieve positive growth and well being in communities of any kind. I strongly believe in the extraordinary healing power of the Arts in general, and of course, of theatre in particular because it addresses so many aspects of our creativity and of our ways of relating to others. (See my article:Theatre and Drama for Empowerment: The Immigrant Experience.”)


PUENTE’s mandate included a wide variety of objectives, and that led me to create different programs in which these objectives could be addressed. One of these, and a particularly successful one, was Worldplay, a series of staged readings of plays from around the world. “Living memories: Kenya’s untold stories” is an example of a particularly succesful one.
I wished for Victoria audiences to get to know and enjoy the quality of international theatre. It’s a way of promoting respect and appreciation for the many cultures that now coexist in Canada. The readings were an inexpensive and practical way of doing this. (Read more)


As a sequel to Worldplay, I created Workplay, a way for upcoming playwrights to present a work-in-progress. This provided playwrights with a deadline in which they would have an audience, feedback if they wanted it, and an opportunity to assess for themselves where they were in their artistic process. Because of PUENTE’s mandate the play in question had to have some connection with diversity and multiculturalism. This program started in 2008 and led to some fine writers, such as Justin Carter, Joel Bernbaum and Kayvon Koshkam, being launched in it.