Think The Moth but food-themed. Live events capitalize on the visceral nature of a shared experience. During the performance of a story, a connection is forged between the audience and the storyteller. They have shared a singularly unique experience that cannot be replicated. In recent years it has become popular for storytelling events to include a meal as an additional chapter to the story being told. Preforming a story in front of a live audience can be invigorating and incredibly powerful. Practitioners should consider the resources they have available to host an event as well as the lasting impact of the experience and how that might be preserved.
Things to Consider
- Space: Where will the event be held, the space and location can tell just as significant a story as the storytellers themselves. Is the space physically accessible? Does the size limit how many guests can attend?
- Accessibility: Will there be an entrance fee? Does this bar certain people from participating?
- Food: Will a meal or snacks be served? Who will provide these and how will they be presented?
- Theme: Will featured stories be centered around a theme?
- Frequency: Is this a one-time event or a reoccurring series?
- Coaching: Will someone work with storytellers to make sure that their story is ready to be performed in front of a live audience? Does this negatively impact the authenticity of the story?
- Marketing: How will you spread the word to ensure this event is well attended? To whom and where will you advertise the event?
- Recording: Will the event be recorded and will the recording be posted somewhere accessible to larger audiences or is the goal of the event to create a one-time specific experience?
- Lived, visceral experience that creates a special connection to the audience and the narrator
- Possibility to serve food and use it as an extra chapter in the story
- Place-based experience can connect stories or experiences to the location of the event
- Depending on venue availability, possible for this method to be inexpensive
- Easily replicable
- Limited exposure if not recorded
- Less accessible to wide audiences
- Narrators unused to live performance might require extra coaching
- Stories might need to be edited and cut to fit within time constraints
- Many resources required such as event space
Live Storytelling Events to Explore
|Dinner for 30||5 part dinner series featuring dinner cooked by Detroit chef inspired by favorite food memory. Goal to change||http://dinnerfor30.mystrikingly.com/|
|F & B Voices from the Kitchen||An evening of food and storytelling presented by La Cocina featuring two La Cocina Entrepreneurs and other writers, chefs, food industry professionals. Focus on inviting POC storytellers||http://voicesfromthekitchen.org/|
|Food Archive: The Moth||Food stories presented by Moth storytellers, the first widely popular live storytelling event||https://themoth.org/search/results|
|From Lagos||Community Dinners using food and writing to explore social and political issues such as immigration, gentrification, and racial discrimination in the United States presented by chef, writer, activist Tunde Wey||http://www.fromlagos.com/|
|My Immigrant Food is…||Occasional dinner series put on by Nigerian Cook and Author Yewande Komolafe and other immigrant friends sharing food and stories of their distinct cultures||https://www.yewandekomolafe.com/dinner-series|
|Real Food Real Stories||Intimate gatherings featuring personal journey story shared by bay area chef, activist or entrepreneur||https://www.realfoodrealstories.org/|