True Stories Live @ NAC

First posted on May 30, 2018

Live storytelling?

It’s starting to be a thing. I first heard about it a few years ago in the states. A growing trend in cites all over the world where normal people take the stage and share. I wasn’t surprised when one showed up in Norwich.

And true stores live?

Started in the NAC bar and is now big enough to sell out the auditorium. Who could of guessed an event based around sharing would get a community of regular attendees?

Empty picture frames stand on easels as a log fire is projected on the curtain behind. Between the stage and the seating are twee lamps and a space for the performers.

This months theme is “blood is thicker than water.” The theme helps. It gives potential speakers direction and by the end something for the audience to think on.

Round one

The first story was a about the speaker’s grandmothers and the different lives they lived. Then the tale of a vasectomy that was both funny and educational. The next participant tries to top it “I’m trans and have had all of it off!” She gets a laugh but I found her story less structured and weaker. Maybe the most strong in terms of the theme in this half was the last. Two siblings separated for 40 years, reunited to find themselves different people. And that’s fine.

The audience

They are supportive. A good mix of ages. Slightly skewing female. Nicely dressed. The organisers have done well cultivating the sort of audience who would welcome both the speech of a teenager and the (at least) two LGBT+ speakers.

Wild card

The wildcard slot is for people who are seized with the need to share after seeing others do the same. A shorter time slot of an unprepared story.

The first tells a funny story of awkward family funerals. Pretty good for a spontaneous short. The second is a sixteen year old who has chosen “between blood and blood”. A parent on two continents and her mum she is soon leaving cries the audience.

Part two

Back to the regularly scheduled stories and we sit and listen and clap.

One story of siblings almost moved to tears, and I could see others were moved too. But that’s my weakness.

I should mention the compere. She does a great job. Both nudging enthusiasm from the audience and making good jokes at short notice.

The last speaker is polished but not as moving. She’s going to be hosting True Stories Live: Birmingham. I’m sure it will grow.

Should I go?

Listen to the podcast. If you think it’s for you it probably is. I can imagine quite a culture springs up around these places. A need to hear others and be heard. People bring their friends and family when they speak. They consent to it being played on the radio. I don’t think this is the place for me but it could be for you.

Book ahead. It does sell out.

Photo of the host in front of a banner reading true stories live

Less polished than an American counterpart I used to listen to. But this feels more honest and real than minor celebrities in Brooklyn.

Screenshot of my podcast app showing 1 day and 18 hours listened to Risk! True Stories bravely told.