Free State Story Slam

Storytelling is not only a way to communicate and make sense of our experiences, it is also a rich source of humor, fear, celebration, and love. While we tell stories daily, the art of storytelling – in its purpose and in its pause – is often neglected. Fortunately, there’s been a resurgence in the celebration of storytelling, thanks to organizations like The Moth, and on a more local level, theĀ Free State Story Slam at the Lawrence Arts Center.

Story Slam takes place at the Lawrence Arts Center each month.

"Story Slam: Downstairs in Blackbox. Thank you!" (Always in Blackbox)

Story Slam takes place at the Lawrence Arts Center on the second Friday of every month (with the exception of the summer months and December). Live music starts at 7pm, and stories start at 7:30. While the event itself is free, donations are encouraged (to support the Lawrence Arts Center) and beer/wine is available for $4. David Hollond coordinates the event and welcomes everyone once 7:30 rolls around. Anyone is welcome to tell a story (keep in mind: this event is 18+ only), but there are a few rules to be aware of: stories must be true; stories must be your own (personal); and stories must be told without notes. Storytellers are limited to 5-7 minutes for their story, so practicing ahead of time is especially encouraged!

Blackbox. Bright lights. Showtime.

Live storytelling is totally entertaining.

Before the night kicks off, a basket is sent around the audience for interested storytellers to throw their name into. Every person willing to share will have their moment, but names are drawn at random throughout the night (adds a sense of thrill!). Want to come listen but too shy to step into the bright lights? That’s totally fine. I’ve attended Story Slam a handful of times, and just recently mustered the nerve (after a few glasses of wine, *ahem*) to share a short story. Which brings me to my next point – attendees are welcome to share a short 1-2 minute impromptu story between the longer ones. This is especially great because some of the longer stories inspire memories that relate to the topic at hand.

At the end of the evening, once all stories are shared, we vote on our favorite story. The best story of the evening will buy you a storytelling seat at the Grand Slam finale in May where all of the best storytellers will be welcomed back to share a new story.

The theme this month was "Brothers and Sisters."

Post-storytelling, we vote for best stories.

Since Story Slam only takes place once per month, a theme is designated prior to the evening. All themes can be found on the website, and the next Story Slam – in January – has the theme of “Escape.” Escape a city? A relationship? Yourself? … Interpretation is left to you. Hopefully I’ve sparked your interest by now; I hope to see you at the next Story Slam on January 11th. See ya there, Lawrence.

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