2022 Island Women Speak
2022 Island Women Speak
2020 line-up
2019 line-up
May 2018 line-up
January 2018 line-up
Director Debbie Weil
Full house at the Stonington Opera House
Storyteller Kristie Billings

Island Women Speak: a multigenerational storytelling event on Deer Isle, Maine

We came back in 2024!


Island Women Speak is the popular multigenerational women’s storytelling event created and directed by Debbie Weil. The event has been staged six times at the Opera House in Stonington, ME The most recent performance, on Jan. 25, 2024, sold out a week in advance. Listen to Maine Public Radio’s coverage of the event here.

Our deepest thanks to Opera House Arts for producing and hosting this unique event.

It was inspired by The Moth and premiered at the Stonington Opera House on a cold winter’s night in January, 2018. Following the five-minute story rule of The Moth, and under Debbie’s direction, eight local women from Deer Isle, representing eight decades, each performed a personal story that she had written and rehearsed. 

Island Women Speak was also inspired by Debbie’s experience performing with New York-based Generation Women in 2017. Generation Women, which continues monthly in NYC, is described as “an intimate literary salon… that creates space for intergenerational connection and community (between women).”

So popular was IWS’s premiere in January 2018, a new group of storytellers took to the stage in May 2018. This was followed by performances in January 2019, January 2020, January 2022, and the most recent in January 2024.

Themes and topics for the stories have included falling in love, leaving home, a path to public service, advice to my younger self, coming out as gay, dealing with depression, acknowledging white privilege and racism, and, in 2024, #ahotmess. All have revealed what life is really like on a small island.

To watch videos of some of the performances, click here.


Island Women Speak returns to Stonington (Maine Public Radio, Jan. 24, 2024)


On WABI Channel 5 TV: Stonington Opera House’s Island Women Speak coming back for a brand new performance (Jan. 27, 2022)

In the Maine Sunday TimesAt Stonington storytelling event, women speak to their past selves for posterity (Sunday Jan. 16, 2022) Or read online here.



Island Women Speak (Ellsworth American, Jan. 24, 2020)

Island women speak out about their lives (Ellsworth American, Jan. 28, 2019)

Island Women Speak shares life stories of eight local women (Island Ad-Vantages, Jan. 25, 2018)



Starting at the top.

January 2024 (L to R):
Top photo, representing seven decades from age 23 to age 83: Donna Stinson, Donna Brewer, Su Oliver, Julie Morringello, director Debbie Weil, Leslie McDonald, Liz Lincoln, and Hallie Lartius

January 2022 (L to R):
Erin Walker, Kira Jones, Cathy Boyce, Susan Senecal, Buzz Masters, Debbie Weil (director), and Anne West, representing six different decades (20s to 70s).

January 2020 (L to R):
Sue Steed, Judith Keenan, Esther Adams, Debbie Weil, Brighid Doherty, Alix Sarain, Nancy Wynne. Click the names of the storytellers to see videos of their performances:

Team 20: Esther Adams
Team 30: Alix Sarain
Team 40: Brighid Doherty
Team 60: Nancy Wynne
Team 60: Debbie Weil (surprise addition)
Team 70: Susan Steed
Team 80: Judith Keenan

The theme: When life surprises you or… when things don’t turn out as expected

Photography: Dan Rajter


January 2019 (L to R):
Hazel Woodward
(Team 20); Hollan Oliver (Team 30); Kristie Billings (Team 40); Kyra Alex (Team 50); Robin Alden (Team 60); Evelyn Duncan (Team 70); Lorraine Knowlton (Team 80); Debbie Weil.

Photography: Dan Rajter


May 2018 (L to R):
Amanda Larrabee (Team 30); Ginger Reiman (Team 90); Judith Jerome (Team 70); Melissa Jones-Bayley (Team 40); Suzy Shepard (Team 60); Becky Siebert (Team 50); Nicole Nolan (Team 20); Debbie Weil (producer and host).

January 2018 (L to R):
Debbie Little Wyman (Team 70); Anne Burton (Team 80); Kathleen Billings (Team 50); Cherie Mason (Team 90); Morgan Witham (Team 30); Jennifer Eaton Larrabee (Team Almost 40); Asia Eaton (Team 20); Debbie Weil (producer and host); Katy Rinehart (Team 60).

2018 photography: Lily Felsenthal 

Media coverage

Our first event (Jan. 2018) was written up in the local paper, the Island Ad-Vantages, highlighting our speakers and why they chose to participate: Island Women Speak shares stories of eight local women.

Channel 5 TV

We were also featured in a two-minute feature story on Channel 5 WABI-TV: Eight Women Share Stories of Life on Stonington and Deer Isle.

The inspiration: Generation Women in NYC

Thanks to Georgia Clark and Generation Women in NYC, who inspired Debbie Weil to bring a storytelling event for women across generations to Maine. As Georgia explains, “Generation Women blends a lively literary salon with the tradition of handing down wisdom from community elders.”

Photos: Debbie performed as Team 60 with Generation Women in October 2017. The first sentence of her story was “I’m 65 and I still have sex… ” and the mostly younger audience went wild. More photos of Generation Women events here.