True Stories Live is an intimate monthly storytelling evening at Norwich Arts Centre that has grown over the past year to become a sell out success. It celebrates it’s first birthday on 14 May with a ‘Best of’ evening, in the main auditorium, featuring special guests including comedian/writer/actor Sara Pascoe, together with a selection of contributors from over the year.
The premise of True Stories Live is simple – ordinary people tell their own anecdotal stories to a warm and friendly audience, relating to a different theme each month. Heartwarming, revealing, funny, shocking or sad – an evening at True Stories Live will have your emotions leaping from one extreme to another as you are drawn into each storyteller’s world. For some it’s their first time ever on stage; others are used to performing, but what they have in common is that they are telling their own personal stories about their own experiences.
One audience member described the evening as ‘like eavesdropping into people’s stories in the pub – and here I’m allowed to!’ A first time performer said ‘I was absolutely petrified before I went on but I feel amazing now, the audience was really receptive. I had so much fun… everybody should do it’.
True Stories Live is the brainchild of Norfolk producer Lucy Farrant, who runs Norfolk cultural event producers L J Hope Productions; She teamed up with Norwich Arts Centre to bring in Radio 4/Sky TV writer, poet and performer Molly Naylor as compere/host and to run workshops for those interested in taking part, helping with their confidence in public speaking and giving tips on how to make the stories interesting and fun.
Now Lucy and Molly are also taking True Stories Live out of Norwich for a UK tour of literary festivals. Dates are confirmed at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Llawn Festival in Wales and Chester Literature Festival, with at least one more to be added.
The idea came from an American organisation called The Moth, which has been the subject of BBC Radio 4 programmes. We believed that the people of Norwich have just as interesting stories to tell as those over the Atlantic – and we’ve been proven right.
I’m so excited to be launching our tour and celebrating our first anniversary with a special event at our home base. Over the past year we’ve been thrilled that so many people have shared their stories with us and it feels great to be part of Norwich’s centuries-long tradition of encouraging writers and storytellers, and pack out the Arts Centre bar on a Sunday night!