“Thank you, Ed. What a wonderful gift these films are…you brought the audience right into the session powerfully, and then you kept us in it every moment. Bravo!”—Dr. Julian Ford, UCONN Health

On Storytelling. I’ve been telling stories since I was a kid. My passion for it grew from listening to my father share his life experiences–these powerful accounts of his times growing up in Poland, serving in the army, and his incredible escape from Germany with the help of the underground resistance. He would tell me all about it in vivid detail. He came to America to start a new life. His stories about these experiences were life changing for me. Because of him, I wanted to tell stories, too.

I have been writing, directing, and teaching for most of my life. That’s how I tell my stories. I create projects for theatre and film. I have also written and produced many educational and cultural programs for television. People also ask me to create films and curriculum to help them teach and train—and I try to tackle these projects with interesting storytelling methods, often within a collaborative, creative community. All combined, these platforms for “storytelling” make up my professional portfolio. They are my living, breathing storybooks.

The classroom is a creative space that I especially enjoy. Working with serious creative students has anchored me. It has offered me the most intimate stage to showcase my storytelling abilities. A well told story touches our senses and opens our minds, so I try to use my craft to take students into the world of an artist, writer, or performer; or inside a key moment in history; or to teach a complicated concept in a relatable, captivating way.

THE KEY. Whether it’s staging a play, developing a film, creating a website, or leading a group of young actors in a project on Shakespeare—when I take the time to really listen, good things always happen. I find that my relationships begin to grow and expand — and the more actively I listen, new and interesting creative perspectives emerge. I like that feeling of engaging with others and collaborating on a fresh idea.

My father never took a class beyond grade school. He never made a film or directed a play. But the challenges and hell he went through during World War II forced him to listen from within; and demanded he listen carefully to others to learn to survive. I am convinced that his vivid stories kept him human, and filled him with hope during those times when he questioned his purpose, worth, and place in the world. One thing he knew for sure—that a person’s “voice” and faith always mattered. That’s what he taught me, and that’s what I hope to inspire in others through my work.

— Ed Wierzbicki