Seventeen USA TODAY Network newsrooms across the United States will inspire community connection through a series of nights featuring true, personal stories told by the people who live and work in their communities.
Editors and reporters will curate a series of shows, coaching 10 to 30 people from their communities to develop entertaining, compelling stories that reflect on such themes as growing up, neighbors, food and family, and holidays in some cities, and style, vacations, bad advice, obsessions and generosity in others.
“We are so excited to pass the mic in communities across America, inviting everyday people to tell their own stories in front of their neighbors,” said Megan Finnerty, founder and director of the Storytellers Project, part of the USA TODAY Network.
“When people feel empowered to tell their stories and others feel excited about listening, a community changes,” she said. “People feel closer to each other. They feel more accepting of those unlike themselves. They feel more connected to their city and the people in it.”
Since its launch in 2011 at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix, the Storytellers Project has helped more than 6,000 people tell brief, personal stories on stages in front of more than 60,000 people. And during the pandemic, the shows were aired online, reaching millions since March 2020.
The Arizona Storytellers Project, part of the Arizona Republic's newsroom, will kick off the series on Feb. 9, 2022, with "Stylish Stories" at the Tempe Center for the Arts. The Des Moines Register will follow with "Love: Stories of companionship, desire, and commitment" on Feb. 15 at the Hoyt Sherman. A series of “Growing Up” shows are planned in 13 other cities in March and April. A total of 64 shows are planned across the country.
Tickets, which are $8 and $12, may be purchased at https://www.storytellersproject.com/all-events/ and storyteller hopefuls can apply to tell a story on stage at https://www.storytellersproject.com/tell/.
The series is returning to 11 cities, from Rochester, New York, and Nashville, Tennessee, to Southwest Florida and coming to six new cities. New markets include:
Palm Beach, Florida
Wilmington, North Carolina
2022 main themes
March-April: Growing Up — You’ll feel energized, inspired, and maybe a bit nostalgic as we share stories about growth.
June: Neighbors — You’ll feel heartened, uplifted, and more connected to the world and people around you as we share stories from the neighborhood.
August-September: Food and Family — You’ll feel full of warmth, hopeful, and a wee bit sentimental as we share stories about food and our family traditions.
November-December: Holidays — You’ll feel comforted and ready for loved ones, presents, and the lights of the season as we share stories about the holidays.
Become a storyteller
We are looking for storytellers from all backgrounds who are willing to share their hearts, and jokes, with their neighbors. Tellers work with storytelling coaches to shape their true, first-person story around the theme of the night. Each story is 7-10 minutes and tellers receive between three and five hours of training to develop their stories.
Tellers begin working with the project coaches about two months before the event, but you can apply now as tellers will be selected in the coming weeks.
Tickets are now on sale for all 2022 shows. Purchase season tickets or individual shows. Seats typically sell out quickly and far in advance. To reserve your seats today, visit https://www.storytellersproject.com/all-events/.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Storytellers Project producing live journalism events in 17 cities