Speak Up: 5 Storytelling Events around the Valley

Sara EdwardsJune 2019
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Storytelling is a form of artistic expression where a performer steps up to a mic and tells an honest, personal story.

One of the most well-known storytelling groups, The Moth, hosts these live events in over 29 cities across the U.S., bringing these stories to the stage and into the spotlight.

I was first introduced to storytelling while reporting on Chatterbox, a small storytelling group that met every Wednesday at Fair Trade Cafe in Downtown Phoenix. Each week had a different theme, such as “Long Distance,” where storytellers told raw and poignant tales about meeting online friends in person and moving away from family.

But all good things must come to an end; the group announced on Facebook that it would be retiring in April. But fear not, fellow storytellers – here are five other storytelling events in Phoenix that allow anyone to step up to the mic and tell it like it is.

Vinyl Voices
The Coronado in Downtown Phoenix combines vinyl music with storytelling performances in its monthly Vinyl Voices event. Storytellers step up to the mic and tell their story while a vinyl record accompanies them in the background, setting the scene and mood while the story is told. Storytellers of all performance levels and backgrounds are invited to tell their story with a song every final Tuesday of the month.
The Coronado
2201 N. 7th St., Phoenix
602-252-1322, thecoronadophx.com

The Whole Story
Each quarterly First Friday, Phoenix Art Museum hosts The Whole Story, a storytelling event that celebrates the African-American narrative through personal stories. Each event, five people and their stories are selected and performed in the packed Whiteman Auditorium at Phoenix Art Museum. Aspiring storytellers can email Rachel Eseoghene Egboro, who started the event in January 2016. Egboro works with each storyteller personally to ensure their story is stage-ready. The Whole Story Part X will be held August 2. Tickets can be purchased on the Phoenix Art Museum’s website.
Phoenix Art Museum
1625 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix
602-257-1880, phxart.org

The Storytellers Project
Started by journalists from the USA TODAY Network, Phoenix is one of the 20 locations that host these storytelling events. Arizona Republic reporters and editors find and curate storytellers and set up the event, to which anyone in the community can apply to tell a story. Prior to the storytelling night, expert coaches help the storytellers prepare their stories to flow and engage the audience. For more information on the Arizona Storytellers or how to pitch a story, click here.

A Slice: Stories and Cake
Would you like some buttercream frosting and pink crystal sprinkles with your storytelling? Is chocolate fudge or spongey yellow cake more delectable before stepping up to the mic to tell your story? After recently celebrating one year of storytelling, A Slice: Stories and Cake hosts a monthly event at Space 55. Attendees can enjoy a piece of cake with every ticket purchase, step up to the mic and tell a story, or enjoy hearing the tales of the tellers. The event has a featured storyteller and a different theme every event.
Space 55
1524 N. 18th Ave., Phoenix
602-529-1150, space55.org

Bar Flies
For those writers and storytellers who like to express themselves on paper, Bar Flies focuses more on written stories. Although storytelling is usually done by memory, these storytellers have the choice of doing either. This event is typically 21+, but Bar Flies also has an event for teens and young adults called Shoo Flies. Each month, storytellers can bring their notebooks and loose sheets and tell their story with a live DJ to bring it to life.
Valley Bar
130 N. Central, Phoenix
602-368-3121, valleybarphx.com

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