A recap of this weekend’s Speak Up event, plus an update on the future of Speak Up

Thanks to everyone who came out to Speak Up on Saturday night. The event was an enormous success, with an enthusiastic, standing-room only audience of more than 200 people.

Real Art Ways decided to move our show into a much larger space for this most recent event, and for the weeks leading up to the show, Elysha and I were nervous that we wouldn’t have enough people in attendance to fill it. Doors were supposed to open at 7:00 on Saturday night but by 6:50, every seat was filled and people were finding places along walls and dragging benches into the space to create seating.

We couldn't have been more thrilled. Or relieved. Thank you for the support.

Many thanks to our storytellers as well, who were amazing.

Julie Threlkeld told us a terrific story about finding her first college roommate.

Bill Wynne told us a story of how a boy from New Jersey became an award-winning Hawaiian singer.

Charly Weiss reminded us that even after more than a decade of teaching, teachers can still learn a lot from their students.

LB Muñoz told a powerful and tragic story of how the loss of a friend changed her life forever. 

Trish Milnamow told us a story about her lifelong battle with nicotine addiction.

Barbara Klau offered us a hilarious and poignant view of what it is like to grow older in a world filled with body piercing, tattoos and more.

Okey Ndibe regaled us with amusing and thought-provoking stories about Nigerian culture shock in America.

It was truly a spectacular show. 

If you weren’t able to make the show, our next event is November 9 at Real Art Ways, and while our lineup of storytellers is not entirely settled yet, the storytellers who we have booked so far are fantastic.

If you would like to pitch us a story for the November 9 event, you have until Friday to do so. Email your pitch and your bio to speakupstorytelling@gmail.com.

We’re considering a couple of possible changes to Speak Up that we would like you to consider and comment on if you have an opinion:

1. Our first two shows were free, but we are considering charging an small admission price to future Speak Up events. The proceeds from this admission would be used to:

  • pay for advertising and promotion
  • cover our costs for each event
  • pay for the design and construction of a website dedicated to Speak Up (rather than the Facebook page which we now operate)
  • Pay for the production of a podcast where these stories could be later broadcast for people who are unable to attend an event
  • Help to cover some of the costs that Real Art Ways incurs for each show

If you have an opinion on what that admission cost should be, we would love to hear from you.

2. Based upon feedback, we are considering moving the start time from 7:00 to 7:30 or 8:00 in order to allow people to eat dinner before the show.  If you have thoughts on this, please let us know.

3. I am considering teaching 6-week storytelling workshop to help build the storytelling community in the Hartford area and give storytellers the skills and confidence to take the stage and tell a story of their own someday. The workshop would culminate in a storytelling event in which the participants would have an opportunity to perform in front of an audience of their friends and family. If you might be interested in a workshop like this, please let me know.

Thanks again for all the support, and we hope to see you on November 9th!

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