Story District's mission is to turn good stories into great performances, to be a platform for diverse perspectives, and to serve as a pipeline and training ground for new voices and talent in storytelling. Named the "gold standard" in storytelling by the Washington Post and nominated for the 2012 DC Mayor's Arts Awards for Innovation in the Arts, Story District reaches an audience of more than 10,000 annually through the production of more than 25 performances, ongoing adult education classes, and custom trainings and performances for businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies. We value storytelling as a space for people to listen and be heard, connect with others, embrace different perspectives, examine their own lives, and explore what it means to be human.
A Brief history
Story District was known as SpeakeasyDC* from 2005 through 2015. Prior to that, The Speakeasy, which began in 1997, was a monthly open mic storytelling series started by the Washington Storytellers Theatre (founded in 1991). The name was changed in 2015 to reflect the exponential growth in programming, partnerships, reach, and impact that had taken place over the years. Since its humble beginnings, Story District has nearly tripled the number of performances, increased audiences by more than 10 times, added extensive educational programming and services; developed partnerships with respected institutions across the region; groomed a cadre of newly minted master storytellers and teaching artists; created opportunities for hundreds of budding storytellers; and performed in some of DC's best performance venues including the 9:30 Club and the Lincoln Theater.
Story District regularly produces shows with other groups, often giving voice to marginalized perspectives and experimenting with innovative formats --- such as Out/Spoken: Stories about Queer Culture in America (with Human Rights Campaign); Real to Reel: a Storytelling and Film Contest (with DC Shorts); Unraveled: A storytelling-improv mash-up (with Washington Improv Theater); My So Called Jewish Life (with Sixth & I);Unhinged: Stories about Living with Mental Illness; Bad Mommy Moments: A Storytelling Play-date for Moms; Crank & Groove: A Go Go Love Story; After-School Special: Stories by and about educators for Teacher Appreciation Week (with Teaching for Change); Wetbacks, Aliens, & Towelheads: Stories from the First Generation; Story Showdown: A Storytelling Game Show that parodies the Price is Right; Home Sweet Home: True Tales from East of the River, and more.
We've also brought some of the best storytelling shows from around the country including Stripped Stories, The Liar Show, and Risk from New York; Off-Broadway shows such as James Braly's Life in a Marital Institution and Faye Lane's Beauty Shop Stories. We've traveled to a few other cities compete including Philadelphia to compete in the First Person Arts inter-city story slam; to Chicago and London to compete in national and international slams hosted by Windy City Stories, and Atlanta to perform with Carapace.