Episode 9: Island Women Speak: Connection, Truth and Storytelling in Maine
Debbie talks about her most important Gap Year project: producing and directing Island Women Speak, a multi-generational women’s storytelling event in Stonington, Maine. She interviews performer Amanda Larrabee who in turn interviews audience members who call it the “cultural event” of the season.
In this episode Debbie talks about the most surprising result of her gap year: she created and produces and directs Island Women Speak, a popular multi-generational women’s storytelling event in Stonington, the small coastal town in Maine she now calls home. She calls it a gap year accomplishment because it’s a new and unexpected thing she never imagined herself doing.
She has coached and edited nonfiction writers for years but this was her first foray into coaching storytellers and producing a live stage event. To her surprise and delight, the recurring event has been a resounding success. The audience in this remote coastal community yearns for truth and authenticity, especially from performers everyone knows.
Island Women Speak, inspired by The Moth, premiered at the Stonington Opera House in January 2018. Since then, twenty-two women, ages 20 to 95, have each performed five-minute stories that they’ve written and rehearsed. The stories were on themes ranging from falling in love and leaving home to coming out as gay and dealing with depression and anxiety. The most recent Island Women Speak, in January 2019, focused on the topic of standing up and speaking out.
The theme was not meant to be overtly political but it was fitting following a year of #METOO revelations and coming on the heels of the record number of women elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
In the opening of the podcast, you will hear Lorraine Knowlton, 85, a lifelong resident of Deer Isle, performing her story about overcoming extreme shyness as a child. Debbie also interviews storyteller Amanda Larrabee about the impact of the event and why it has been so powerful for both performers and the audience.
Mentioned in episode
- Island Women Speak
- Videos of IWS performances
- Stonington Opera House
- Generation Women (produced by Georgia Clark in NYC)
- The Moth (the art and craft of storytelling)
- Island women to speak out about their lives (Ellsworth American, Jan. 2019)
- Island Women Speak shares life stories of eight local women (Island AdVantages, Jan. 2018)
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