stories-live-slam-350Hushed respect and silence come over StoriesLive audiences as often as uproarious laughter and applause. The true, personal stories told by more than 6,000 high school student participants can elicit powerful emotions. Tales of survival in war-torn Bosnia or of a grandson saying goodbye to his dying relative mingle with silly mishaps with a microwave and triumphs in dance competitions; a lot can unfold in the space of three minutes on stage.

Boston’s massmouth has worked in 15 Massachusetts high schools delivering the only program of its kind, hosting the only intramural and regional high school story slams in the United States. They help students craft their narrative, through which they hone their college readiness skills and gain confidence through public speaking. StoriesLive competitions have distributed more than $22,000 in scholarship prizes, a hard-earned reward for the storytellers who complete months of preparation, in-class workshops, and coaching by massmouth educators.

The first three StoriesLive events were supported by Mass Humanities to encourage a love of writing and performance in new audiences. Videos, podcasts, and other materials are available from these and other performances on the massmouth website.

Massmouth, Inc. was awarded three $10,000 Project Grants over three years responding to the Engaging New Audiences initiative for professional Massachusetts storytellers to teach 10th, 11th, and 12th graders in Massachusetts high schools the art of personal storytelling while imparting formative public speaking skills and writing strategies. The programs culminated in intramural story slams. [Project Director: Norah Dooley; Date Awarded: 12/10/10, 12/9/11, and 12/14/12]

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