The Moth storytelling group brings its Pop Up Porch Tour to Atlanta this week

To mark its twenty fifth 12 months of dwell storytelling occasions the place on a regular basis folks take to the stage with true, unscripted tales from their lives, The Moth returns to its Georgia roots by bringing its Pop Up Porch Tour to Atlanta, Wednesday by Sunday.

The nationwide storytelling group obtained its begin in New York in 1997 after Georgia native George Dawes Inexperienced, a novelist, started to carry storytelling occasions in his condo. He was impressed by the sensation he’d get from gathering associates and sharing on a porch in St. Simons Island. It was named “The Moth” in honor of the bugs attracted by the porchlight.

“George moved to New York and felt like nobody ever listened to one another,” mentioned Jennifer Birmingham, managing director of packages for The Moth, in a telephone interview. “He began a storytelling salon in his lounge with the essential guidelines. All people’s going to have 5 minutes. All people’s going to pay attention. Nobody will interrupt. Nobody will then say, ‘Oh, that occurred to me,’ and begin on their very own story prepare. It’s very nice once you go to a storytelling occasion and have a delegated position as viewers. You may put down that impulse and simply pay attention.”

Since its inception, The Moth has grown considerably, holding greater than 6,000 dwell occasions worldwide. Its tales are featured on a weekly podcast, and greater than 570 public radio stations broadcast the Peabody Award-winning present The Moth Radio Hour every week.

The Pop Up Porch Tour is actually bringing an prolonged, open porch, connected to a tiny home, to Ponce Metropolis Market starting at 11 a.m. Guests can cease by the positioning and meet storytelling professionals and coaches, receiving free recommendation on craft and pitch their very own tales to the group. Additionally there, they will take heed to tales from The Moth archive and participate in workshops.

“We particularly constructed the home to show folks storytelling and to encourage folks to take heed to extra tales,” Birmingham mentioned. “So once you come to the home, one complete facet of the home opens. We purposefully did that. We wished folks to really feel very welcome to stroll in, to have the ability to see from the road what it’s, in order that they didn’t need to be nervous about what they’d discover once they obtained in there. You may see the entire thing, proper from the porch.”

The Moth
The Moth staff works with aspiring storytellers to hone their skills. (Photograph by Phil Clarkin)

Birmingham mentioned the story coaches are educated to softly encourage folks to share their voices and their experiences.

“In our storytelling workshops, we actually need to work at not sharing in response,” she mentioned. “As an alternative, we actually reply to somebody particularly about their story: what resonated, what scene they notably constructed nicely. We keep centered on the storyteller.”

She understands that among the finest tales come from people who find themselves reluctant to share onstage. The objective of the Pop Up Porch is to assist and encourage folks.

“We’ll pay attention, take notes and ask questions,” she mentioned. “After which we’ll assist them map it right into a story map, actually. When you do this, you’ll be able to see the place an viewers wants extra info to stick with you and your story. Or you’ll be able to see the place you don’t want as a lot info and trim that again. By the top, folks usually have a full story arc, and so they’re able to go (for the StorySLAM).”

The touring set up started in September. It has made stops in Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama on its approach to Atlanta.

As a part of the week’s occasions, The Moth Atlanta will maintain its October open mic StorySLAM at 7 Levels in Little 5 Factors on Thursday at 7 p.m., hosted by poet and storyteller Jon Goode and produced by Meredith Williams. The present’s theme is “Crossroads.”

Some tickets for that occasion will probably be given away on the Pop Up Porch, Birmingham mentioned. Some storytellers who prepare on the porch could also be inspired to take the stage on the slam.

Month-to-month Moth StorySLAM occasions — the place folks take part in an open mic and inform true, five-minute tales with out notes based mostly upon a theme — have taken place in Atlanta since 2017.

The Moth
Goode says audiences for The Moth StorySLAMs are heat and supportive. (Photograph by JoyMedia for The Moth)

Goode, a bunch of The Moth Atlanta occasions since 2017, has develop into a go-to StorySLAM host nationwide for the nonprofit group. Since then, he has appeared on the radio and in addition emceed different occasions throughout the nation and internationally, together with their anniversary celebration on Broadway in April. 

He mentioned he’s looking forward to the porch to reach in Atlanta.

“For me, the Moth itself is sort of a household,” Goode mentioned. “A number of the individuals who journey with the porch aren’t individuals who usually journey with the Moth. Until you go to New York, you gained’t see them. That is like household coming to go to for the primary time. However as a substitute of coming to your own home, they introduced their very own home. So I’m going to go there and welcome them to Atlanta.” 

Goode went to Tulsa to host the primary StorySLAM of the tour, so he mentioned it feels becoming that he ought to be the host of the tour’s final present, too.

“What I inform all the brand new storytellers who come on stage is that The Moth viewers is likely one of the warmest, most loving audiences you’ll seem earlier than,” he mentioned. “They’ve all come right here to listen to you at your finest and offer you all of the love on this planet. This isn’t the Apollo, they haven’t come to boo or dance you off the stage.”

Although totally different cities have their very own vibes, the Moth audiences are extremely supportive, he mentioned.

“All you need to do is stroll on the market, take a deep breath, be your self and inform them your story, and so they’re going to completely love you,” Goode mentioned. “Because the host of the Moth, as somebody who’s gotten to journey with the present, I’ve gotten to really feel that vitality right here and overseas. That love is common. The tradition is totally different in different areas, however the crowd is identical.”

Goode’s recommendation for storytellers new to The Moth is to not utterly commit each phrase of their story to reminiscence.

“For lots of people, I counsel them to not memorize your story,” he mentioned. “Comprehend it. However don’t memorize it. That method, you don’t get thrown off in case you miss a line. Comprehend it, know the beats, know the way it strikes, know the define of it. It’s a narrative you’ve lived, so you understand how to get to the top. Simply inform it to the room such as you’d inform it to your finest buddy or your loved ones at Thanksgiving. Simply chill out into it.”


Benjamin Carr, a member of the American Theatre Critics Affiliation, is an arts journalist and critic who has contributed to ArtsATL since 2019. His performs have been produced at The Winery Theatre in Manhattan, as a part of the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Brief Play Competition, and the Heart for Puppetry Arts. His novel Impacted was revealed by The Story Plant in 2021.