"Olive has taught storytelling workshops for adults in their 60s-90s at San Francisco Village since the winter of 2016. She is a captivating performer, weaving together fables, folk lore, and personal stories. Many of the adults in the room haven't been on the listening side of storytelling in decades, and slowly realize that one of the greatest gifts of the class is to experience what it's like to be told a story, to be present and listen.
Olive comes prepared with everyday objects to spark memories, knowing that holding a wooden spoon or smelling a freshly cut rose will invite you to pay attention to the senses and share more details, helping one be a better story teller. Olive creates a safe space for vulnerability, for finding ways to share those enormous moments and those little moments, allowing the storyteller to be seen, to be valued.
Participants took the techniques they learned from Olive, those written down in her handouts and those they experience by listening and by sharing, and brought the gift of captivating storysharing to other groups, enhancing how we talk to each other, how we listen to each other. Our community is stronger and closer because of Olive's workshop."
"Stand Downs are a way for homeless veterans to reconnect to a time in their lives when they were thriving in the service with clear purpose. We provide an array of resources to provide a hand up to get them back on their feet, and also some relaxation and entertainment. Olive’s story telling at our Stand Downs was a unique opportunity for our veterans to connect to their stories and the stories of others to promote healing and wellness."
"Olive is a consummate storyteller. Time seems to stop when she starts a story and the journey turns inward as we follow along through the fables' forests and winding paths. These tales are all mirrors to ourselves, in one way or another, and Olive unfolds them with compelling care and delightful drama. In the world of fashion, it's never true that one size fits all, but these stories are fitting for all, young and old."
"Olive uses the dramatic effect of strategic silence like an experienced fisherman casts a net: we fall, mesmerized, waiting in the palm of her hand for her resonant voice to lift us out of the void.... Her voice imprints the images of which she speaks like holograms in the air around the ears of the listeners."
"Olive has an amazing, intuitive gift for communicating with people of all ages...even a group of thirty Episcopal priests at the end of a very long day. They were mesmerized by Olive's 'word pictures' and her ability to get at the heart of the story and the relationships. I loved her image of the circle of ancestors and grandmothers who stand behind us, always giving us images and songs and inspiration to continue to tell their/our stories."
"Olive's work with our highly-trained, technically astute graduate students took them to new and richer places in their professional lives - to 'story,' which is exactly what the business world is really about."
Young Adult Audiences
"Olive's storytelling experience serves my middle school language arts program in many ways: rekindles the love of language of all peoples through their stories...empowers students to use their voice and bodies to express themselves...enhances listening skills, reminds us of the common threads running through our lives."
"My daughter gained so much through storytelling: reading comprehension, analyzing, condensing, speaking in groups and in front of a group."
"I immensely enjoyed hearing and experiencing the many different tales of various cultures that Ms. Shaughnessy so vividly told. She captivated all of us, not only with her incredible stories but her voice and spirit. Ms. Shaughnessy didn't merely tell us the stories, she showed us, she brought us into the story and into our imaginations which made us experience and feel the story as if we were actually there. This is very important for be because, as a child, I wasn't told many stories, but this has given me another chance to relive my childhood."
Elementary School Audiences
"Having been a language arts teacher for over twenty years and a director of education for the Onion River Arts Council for the past three years, I have had many opportunities to work with storytellers. I can honestly say that you, Olive, are the most compelling storyteller I have ever had the pleasure to experience. You do not just tell a story but become the story. This is evident to the audience. People of all ages are drawn into the worlds you create with words and gestures. It's amazing how people accustomed to fast-paced media images gather attentively and quietly around you as you weave your tales."
"As soon as Olive began a story, the inevitable fidgeting of eight- and nine-year-olds would come to a halt, and they calmly and attentively took in and experienced these wonderful stories. Next, Olive was able to weave into her performances and subsequent discussions the themes and ideas which we had been grappling with as a class, such as: What are characters, setting, and good endings? What is the difference between a fairy tale and a folk tale? Finally, Olive facilitated an experience for the students and for me which empowered us as storytellers ourselves. In their evaluations of my class, my students said that one week with Olive was their favorite in the quarter."
"I do not know where to begin with expressing my deepest gratitude for your presence, wisdom, and very nurturing soul. From the time I entered the program eight years ago as an intern to becoming a head teacher, I looked forward to our weekly encounters. I was and always will be mesmerized by the magical presence you bring. I have equally enjoyed collaborating with you and learning so much about the power of story telling and inspiring children to embrace their imaginations and develop a voice of agency."
"Thirty-four two- to five-years-olds sit in a circle completely enthralled as Olive weaves her words into fairy tales and folk tales from around the world. Olive's wisdom and skill make the words come alive: dragons are slain, villains are vanquished, witches outwitted and wishes fulfilled. All is well with the world. In the words of Lewis Caroll, they have received the "love gift of a fairy tale." These stories told by a master craftswoman will be with them all their lives."