"Deborah is a natural-born leader. I have witnessed her in action as a teacher, and have seen her nurture and encourage her storytelling students to write and speak with truth and honesty. Teaching is one of the cornerstones of the directing profession, and Deborah knows how to get the best out of a group of vastly different people. Of course, they all fall in love with her at the same time."
Artistic Director Belfry Theatre
"Having participated Deb Williams’ story workshops in various formats over the last years, I can confidently say that she brings together these key elements to her story-telling workshops: 1) in-depth knowledge of the story-telling form; 2) demonstrated skill and experience as a performer – actress, story-teller, dramaturge, director; 3) excellent organizational skills for promoting her “product” and thus ensuring financial success and greater awareness of the value of story-telling; 4) rigorous yet flexible workshop content and formatting; and above all 5) the ability to guide participants in finding the true purpose of their story and how best to present it, no matter how in-experienced, confident, or terrified they may be. She also is fun, warm, witty, and deeply empathetic with the participants, without slipping into a love-fest or therapeutic exercise."
Marylee Stephenson, M. A., Ph.D.
"Storytelling is about connection and connection happens when we are able to be vulnerable.Deb takes her students on a journey of digging into the 'messy' of their lives by sharing her 'messy' and by being vulnerable. She uses empathy and compassion to show her students that the very thing they are trying to hide, and still tell their story, is the very thing that will make it a great story. I believe that is the magic of Deb's program. She then gives her students the tools to frame that experience into a story worth listening to. Deb has had many successes in her life - her storytelling program is clearly one of them."
Noreen Murphy, ED
Calgary Regional Association for Quality Child Care
"I’ve known Deb Williams for two years, as the co-founder and host of The Flame, as a teacher and as a personal coach for my 2015 Ted Talk. I’ve taken her storytelling workshops twice. I’m from New York. I’m a veteran TV host and writer. I have an MFA from Syracuse. Writing workshops were an essential part of my life in New York City. Since moving to Canada, I’d been looking to fill my writerly void. And I didn’t think I could do that—not until I found Deb."
"Deb is incredibly talented at encouraging people to find their own individual spirit and voice. I don’t think I’ve had a better teacher. (And I’ve worked with some very good ones, including memoirist Mary Karr and short story writer Tobias Wolff.)"
"Deb’s a comfortable presence. She knows how to create a safe space for writers to work in.
I’ll be honest: I think I underestimated Deb when I first met her. Everyone probably underestimates her. Unlike New Yorkers, Deb doesn’t boast about herself. So it took me a while to accurately assess the true scope of her talents."
"Like all or most Canadians, she’s so damn nice. Yet the longer I know her—and I will most definitely take her workshops and classes again in the future—the more I realize Deb’s true power. She’s a natural actor. She’s one hell of a performer, editor, writer, improviser, and storyteller. And she’s a terrific teacher.
Deb tangibly makes all of the Vancouver arts community exponentially better. If you have further questions about her or her classes, don’t hesitate to contact me. In short: Don’t underestimate Deb Williams."
Scott C. Jones
"Deb is my muse! How did that happen? Here is my story.
The first time I took Deb's class and in every subsequent class that I have taken, I have been astounded at the ease in which my stories emerge. I attribute that to the safe space that Deb creates, her style of storytelling and the encouragement she gives me to not only find my story but to risk telling it to her and my classmates."
"I leave each class exhausted, empowered and feeling full of myself-- in the best sense! Oh, and did I say how much fun I have??! I laugh, but I also might cry and somewhat mysteriously, somehow, I come out knowing myself differently than when I went in. And that is why Deb is my muse!"
Dr. Norma G. Pelkie
"I'm a professional writer who doubted I'd learn much from a storytelling workshop. Pride goeth and all that. Much to my surprise, I wasn't immediately good at storytelling. I struggled through the first day and a half of the workshop but finally had a breakthrough when I learned to leave my words on the page and trust my voice. I found it liberating to take a turning-point story that had been festering in my heart for many decades, tell it in public and let it go. Even if you never tell another story, Deb's workshop will leave you with much to think about, and the stories of your classmates will touch your heart and inspire you. A wonderful weekend, thank you, Deb."
"Deb teaches by seeing the person inside of the story, by teaching the story teller where to find her voice. Yes, her workshop makes participants better writers. But she does it by teaching people who have been silenced to give voice."
Cree from the Metis nation, Treaty Negotiator, Author
“Hi Deb I just wanted to thank you again for all your work at the storytelling workshop. It really was an amazing experience. I've been thinking a lot about what other stories I might be able to tell, and if possible I'd like to take you up on your offer of sending through stories to you as I write them, for your feedback. As a starting point I have attached the two stories I told at the workshop, if you have any thoughts on how they might be improved, I'd love to hear them.”
“Thanks for a great 3 days
Deb, I was very impressed....having us not back out and feel like getting up and performing...well done....your careful coaxing got us to such a great place."
Two different people told me after...The Flame at the fringe was their favourite event so far at the fringe...they loved the authenticity of the stories and the storytellers....well done everyone.”
James Edward Sibley
Faculty of Applied Science
University of British Columbia
I can understand why you are so successful in all things you do...you are not only talented but deeply heart centred! Thank you not only for an amazing and inspiring days but for leaving us all with images, audio and memories of the stories. I would love to perform the story at some point for the flame! I was inspired and deeply impressed with everyone’s work!
I feel very grateful to have been a part of these two days.
I feel my inner flame coming back to life when I work on these stories with Deb.
With Gratitude and much love!"
"Your warm messages trickling in over the weekend kept me warm during the dreary rain. It was a sincere pleasure to meet you all, see some familiar faces and hear all your stories. Everyone dug deep. Well done for the bravery of sharing.
Thanks Deb for being such a great teacher and making the journey bright."
Freelance writer and editor
"Five day workshop. Whew. I learned so much as you brought your kindling for the fire. Deb our 'Pit Master'. Burn, baby burn. Thanks!"
High School teacher
"I did not know after the workshop yesterday that I would be able to pull off my story. I went home and reworked my story with your suggestions. I believe I accomplished what I set out to do, which was to tell my story trusting my own voice. A lesson I can apply to other parts of my life. It was a wonderful evening and I so enjoyed everyone’s stories knowing how much sweat and tears it takes to do this. Thank you Deb for all your encouragement and creating such a safe environment to work in."
Instructor UBC School of Social Work
"Thank you so much. That was magical and life-altering!"
Actor, Playwright, Producer.
"Thank you all for an incredible couple of days. Thank you, Deb for inspiration, safety, and for making it all possible."
"You have tapped into something incredible Deborah. Your skill at assisting others to tap into their vulnerability AND have the courage to be brave has left me gobsmacked.
Thank you. So much thank you.
I bow to your skill, and generosity."
"The most rewarding and powerful part of the Flame storytelling workshop was its ability to connect us all together through the generosity of sharing stories. Deb is a wonderful facilitator who filled the room with so much trust, love, kindness, courage, and pure humanity."
SFU Theatre Student
"I recently participated in a storytelling workshop facilitated by Deb Williams and it was thorough, intense, and so beautiful to hear short morsels of the lives of so many people. The way participants were guided was so helpful and warm, and the level of honesty and vulnerability would not have been possible without the gentle encouragement from Deb. Thanks for a great opportunity in this workshop!"
Professional Costume Designer.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you for the storytelling workshop! How gracious, warm, welcoming, & encouraging you are. All the participants clearly shone because of you. Thank you too for nurturing me into sound. Yours is a great gift. With gratitude,"
"Thank you for that LIFE-CHANGING experience this weekend! It really was exactly what I needed, and I feel so charged! I’d love to do it again in the future. I’d also like to recommend it to June, and to friends, and to some of my former students. If there’s space in the workshop this weekend, let me know and I can plug it to some people. I will be effusing about it for a long time either way!"
English Department Head