Coincidentally, another friend had recently decided to disband his small, sporadic storytelling event, so we took it over, revamped it, and renamed it Fireside Storytelling.
Fireside Storytelling is carefully and consciously designed to create a very specific experience: human connection through storytelling. We keep the lights up, so the tellers can see and react to their audience. We keep the stage at about one foot high, so you’re looking the storyteller in the eye. We never use microphones, as they stand between the teller and the audience. We use a venue that has great acoustics with no aural distractions. Our storytellers don’t compete with each other, because storytelling isn’t a sport. We have an intermission in the middle of our six storytellers so the audience can connect with each other over what they’ve just heard.
We also structure the management of the operation such that any of the (now) six organizers can take a month or two off, should life demand it. That’s how we’re able to keep it running when it’s a third job for all of us.
We’ve been doing Fireside for over six years now, and we consistently hear that we’re the best storytelling series in the Bay Area, due to the quality of the audience, the quality of the storytellers, and the quality of the experience. Probably true, given we don’t advertise and yet consistently fill the house.
We don’t do Fireside for the money — we make enough to buy ourselves a nice dinner once a year — we do it because we believe in the power of personal connection through storytelling, and we believe that’s an endangered species worth protecting.