Island Women Speak: A Live Storytelling Event on Deer Isle, Maine
Island Women Speak is the popular women’s storytelling event that I produce and direct at the Opera House in Stonington, Maine. We were back for a third performance on Jan. 31, 2019 and again, there was a packed house on a frigid evening, with a rapt audience listening to seven remarkable local women, perform their stories. Seven women, seven generations – ages twenty to eighty-five – seven true stories. Our theme this time was “standing up and speaking out.”
Media coverage: Island women speak out about their lives (The Ellsworth American, Jan. 28, 2019)
L to R in photo at top: Hazel Woodward, Hollan Oliver, Kristie Billings, Kyra Alex, Robin Alden, Evelyn Duncan, Lorraine Knowlton (and me, Debbie Weil).
This unique event (inspired by The Moth) premiered at the Opera House in January 2018. Eight local storytellers, ages twenty-one to ninety-one, each performed a personal story that she had written and rehearsed. The stories were about falling in love, leaving home, why a path to public service, and more. Then in May 2018, seven local women, ages twenty to ninety-four, took the stage to tell their stories on themes such as coming out as gay, dealing with depression and anxiety, and acknowledging white privilege and racism.
At all three evenings there was intimacy, there was truth-telling, there were surprises.
We’ll be back in 2019 but no date set yet!
Line-up for Jan. 31, 2019
Team 20: Hazel Woodward
Team 30: Hollan Oliver
Team 40: Kristie Billings
Team 50: Kyra Alex
Team 60: Robin Alden
Team 70: Evelyn Duncan
Team 80: Lorraine Knowlton
Photography: Dan Rajter
Producer & Director: Debbie Weil
Tickets sold totaled $1,680. Half of that amount will be donated to Ready By 21 Mentoring, an Island organization that works with our high school students.
If you have questions, please contact Debbie Weil.
Jan. 2018 Team Photo: from left to right: 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).
May 2018 Team Photo: from left to right: 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).
Photography: Lily Felsenthal
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
With thanks to Georgia Clark and Generation Women in NYC, who inspired me 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: I performed as Team 60 with Generation Women in October 2017. The first sentence of my story was “I’m 65 and I still have sex… ” and the mostly younger audience went wild. More photos of Generation Women events here.