“When we started, we weren’t sure if other people would be interested in coming to a true storytelling event” muses Executive Director Megan McGee. “We thought ‘stories are powerful’ but I don’t think we could articulate why – it was more of a gut feeling.”
From a single experimental event at Art*Bar in November 2009, Ex Fabula has slowly but surely grown in size and impact. In 9 years of “strengthening community bonds through the art of storytelling”, they’ve engaged 26,000+ people through 300+ StorySlams and workshops and featured 600+ community members sharing 1100+ stories onstage along the way.
Community input has shaped Ex Fabula’s efforts from day one; for example, their December 2009 show theme, “Second Thoughts”, was suggested by an audience member at the inaugural event. For Season 10, Ex Fabula has made several updates based on audience feedback. First, three monthly Slams will be non-competitive events. As McGee explains, “At most events, attendees vote for an Audience Favorite, and we crown the person who received the most votes. We don’t reveal any other voting details because in our eyes, anyone who takes the stage is a winner. However, we’ve heard from people who would get on stage if there were no voting, so we’re trying this experiment with 3 StorySlams in Season 10.”
Also in response to community feedback, Ex Fabula has added new venues and Friday evening events. “Fridays night spaces are sometimes hard to come by,” McGee notes. “Fortunately, we have a track record of packing the house, so that keeps our venue partners happy.”
The full schedule of “regular season” StorySlams with locations and themes:
Fri 9/14 Garfield’s 502 Generations
Tu 10/9 Sugar Maple Misunderstood *
Th 10/25 Best Place Crush
Fr 11/9 Kochanski’s Concertina Bar Caught in the Act
Tu 12/4 Mr J’s Lounge Beginner’s Luck *
Wed 1/23 Turner Hall Ballroom SPECTACULAR: Gut feeling
Wed 2/20 Lakefront Brewery Damaged Goods
Th 3/7 Times Cinema Fear
Tu 3/26 Good City Brewing What’s in a Name? *
Wed 4/17 Cooperage Deal Breaker
Sat 5/18 Turner Hall Ballroom ALL STARS: Forgiveness
For all events, seating is general admission; doors open at 6:30 pm and stories start at 7:30 pm. Those who would like tell a story should sign up by 7:15 pm. 9 names are then drawn from the hat over the course of the evening. Each teller has five minutes to share a true, personal story related to the evening’s theme – without using any props or notes. At most Slams, the attendees select an Audience Favorite via secret ballot – except at noncompetitive events, indicated with an asterisk, which skip right to the storyteller bow.
Ex Fabula will also present several public storytelling workshops where experienced
storytelling coaches will guide attendees through hands-on, small group exercises to help them find, structure and share personal stories. Workshops scheduled to date include:
Sat 9/8, 10-noon Colectivo Coffee – Humboldt Blvd
Mo 9/17, 6-8 pm Artists Working in Education
Advance tickets for workshops and StorySlams, venue accessibility details, storytelling tips and more are available at www.exfabula.org.