Guy Mendilow Ensemble

Ages Grades 5+
Length 60-120 minutes | 3-5 days  
Group Size Please contact us to discuss your objectives


How can we make our own stories include others, so that they resonate more deeply?

How can we increase the relevance of our stories so that others will listen? 

What is the role of music in adding emotional power to our words? 

Building Engagement In Place of Dismissal

Young people have stories that are important. Yet all too frequently, stories and young storytellers alike are dismissed by adults. I believe that it is part of our responsibility to give young people tools to make their stories more resonant, speaking powerfully in both intellectual and emotional ways by making others who are different —including adults — part of the story.

StoryFire residencies are designed to give young people such tools.

A Reason to Relate Across Demographic Differences

StoryFire sparks vital opportunities for participants from different demographics to forge meaningful connections with through collaborative art. 

In StoryFire residencies, students from one school often create audio that is then animated by a similarly aged cohort of students in a different community. The joint project impels pre-production student conversation via Skype followed by post-production presentions their mutual work in both schools, complete with artist receptions and talk-backs (the artists are the students

We believe that it is increasingly important for young people to be able work with, and appreciate, peers from cultural, linguistic and socio-economic backgrounds different from their own. Likewise, it is crucial for young people to navigate their day-to-day lives knowing that there are many possible “correct” perspectives besides their own, and feeling a personal need for social justice and equality. Yet many young people do not have the opportunity to develop relationships with others from vastly different backgrounds. For other students, “diversity” is an abstract intellectual concept that doesn’t touch their personal lives, even though it’s touted by adults around them. Springboard Residencies provide a framework for meaningful engagement across cultural, socio-economic and linguistic boundaries. Youth from urban and suburban schools work together on tangible projects in which each person has a stake, to which each person contributes substantially, and from which all derive a feeling of capability and accomplishment. 


In the long term, both residency and performance gave legitimacy and merit to our overall education goal.  Because it was such a successful process with such an overwhelmingly positive outcome, it lends credibility to our continued efforts to expand our educational outreach.  And, it should encourage continued giving to the theater.

The residency certainly made strong impact not only on the students but also the faculty and staff.  The reaction was so solidly affirming — even students who as a general rule don’t speak up or engage were doing just that by the end of the residency sessions.

The performance made a lasting impact on our patrons.  It was thought provoking and not soon forgotten. This was a highly skilled style of musical storytelling, a unique departure from the ordinary, and it surpassed attendance expectation.

Guy Mendilow was not only a pleasure to work with, his process and product exceeded expectations.  The ensemble was worldly, interesting and humble.  Such a treat for us to have the opportunity to present." 

—  Erin Butler, Executive Director, Wyo Theater, Sheridan, WY

StoryFire Student Flier


A Residency in Phases

Phases I & II: Songwriting Workshops & Recording Session
With the guidance of Guy Mendilow, Courtney Swain and Chris Baum, 15 fifth graders from Roslindale MA’s Sumner Elementary School wrote a song that they later recorded at Futura Productions Recording Studio in Roslindale.

Phase III: Animation
Students from the Lesley Ellis School in Arlington interpreted the lyrics of the song written and recorded by the students of Sumner Elementary School in Roslindale and animated them with the help of teacher Pell Osborn.


Additional Videos & Podcast Interviews

The Wyo Theater (Sheridan, WY) asked the Guy Mendilow Ensemble to lead a songwriting/storytelling residency at the WY Girls School, a therapeutic and educational facility for the treatment of court-ordered “delinquent” girls between the ages of 12-21. The residency purpose was to arm these courageous young people with techniques and tools to make their stories resonate with others, including adults who might ordinarily dismiss them. This is the result.