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Think Out Loud

Telling Stories On Stage

Pete Springer/OPB

Storytelling is the oldest form of entertainment and it seems to be steadily gaining popularity, even as we find more ways to amuse ourselves with digital devices.

The Moth may be the most ubiquitous example. The live storytelling series requires participants to eschew notes and memorization. The Moth Main Stage events spread far and wide — long  ago breaking out of their native New York City, bringing stories to sold-out crowds across the country. You’ve probably also heard their radio show, made up of some of the best Moth stories. The local storytelling series Back Fence PDX is following a similar trajectory — starting with live events on stage and expanding to a radio version debuting on OPB.

Portland audiences hungry for true, personal stories can also attend a Moth StorySLAM, where storytellers compete to see who can spin the best yarn. Portland Story Theater offers workshops for anyone with a burning desire to hone a story before presenting it to an audience. And the traveling Mortified event gives performers a chance to share embarrassing diary entries from their teenage years.

What is it that draws people in to listen to — and tell — true, personal stories?

Do you attend live storytelling events? Have you ever told a true story in front of an audience? What motivated you to do that? What was it like?


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