SpeakeasyDC

Rating: 4.9 stars   214 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

Location: 1525 Newton St, NW Washington DC 20010 USA

Mission: Through the art of autobiographical story performance, SpeakeasyDC (formerly Washington Storytellers Theatre) gives voice to the authentic experience of ordinary people, provides a creative outlet, builds community, and promotes cross-cultural understanding. We have a three-part mission: to produce high quality storytelling performances; provide extensive training and performance opportunities; and preserve the oral tradition, while experimenting with new definitions and expressions that speak to and enrich contemporary life.
Geographic areas served: DC, MD, VA

2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I enrolled in the Speakeasy Storytelling 101 class because I wanted to learn how to better tell my story. Stephanie and Kevin did an amazing job of coaching our class of 12 to storytelling fame! The time they spent with each of us offering feedback and recommendations to continually improve our stories was incredibly valuable and in the end, I was able to go on stage and tell my story to a packed house. I now understand the true art of storytelling and am a better storyteller thanks to this class. I would recommend this to anyone who desires to improve their presentation and storytelling skills.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 4 stars  

Speakeasy DC was contracted by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies to design and deliver a four hour session for 50 state arts agency arts education managers as part of the 2012 Professional Development Institute (PDI).

The session goals were: 1. gain an understanding of story structure and the qualities of a good story, 2. share stories with one another and find potential “story seeds”, and 3. observe the coaching and story development process.

The first two hour session included several activities where managers built on and developed their skills in understanding effective narrative storytelling and how it can be used as a tool to communicate the value of arts education.

A one hour session with four individual managers followed. During the one hour session, four randomly selected arts education managers worked one on one with two Speakeasy DC teaching artists to fine tune their stories to present to the full group the following day.

The session concluded the following day with an hour of storytelling. Each of the four selected managers were asked to tell their refined stories to the group. After each manager presented their story, the teaching artists and managers spoke about the process they went through to refine their storytelling techniques.

The Speakeasy DC session at the PDI was very well received by many of the arts education managers. The participants noted the Speakeasy DC session as a hi-light of the PDI, stating that the teaching artists were very skillful, a pleasure to work with, and had high energy; that the session was not only a creative activity, but meaningful; and that the skills the managers learned in the session were easily transferable to other areas of their work.

Amy at Speakeasy DC was a pleasure to work with. She listened to our needs and thoughts and developed a very thoughtful session that was appreciated by the arts education managers.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 4 stars  

Nonprofit NoVA hosted an event for nonprofit CEOs and Executive Directors and Amy Saidman was a fantastic speaker on this topic. Often, nonprofit leaders need to tell their own story and their organization's story in a short period of time but in a very compelling way. Amy broke down the parts of a story and used a great sample story from our audience. These busy CEOs were very engaged in the discussion and were eager to learn more after the event. Amy did a great job of putting structure to something that our members have to do every day, and breathing new life into something that can get redundant for those who have been at their jobs for many years. Thanks to Amy and SpeakeasyDC for a great event! We look forward to working together in the future!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Quite well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

SpeakeasyDC recently created and performed at our university for a group of approximately 60 first-year students. Amy, the Executive Director, worked with our programming staff to ensure the program would connect directly to the outcomes of the other Welcome Week programming happening around this evening. As clients, we felt our feedback and desires were considered and could see these play out in the event itself. The storytellers the group brought told engaging, funny and poignant stories and spurred conversation from the students on being a new resident in the District. Every student thoroughly enjoyed the event and a few even got up and told their own story!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

SpeakeasyDC coached me by phone to tell a story for one of the Peace Corps' 50th anniversary events. Amy did an amazing job of pinpointing key entry points for my story, key elements that brought out my motivation for telling the story, and appropriate opportunities for humor. SpeakeasyDC was also clear about the format and expectations for the event itself. It put me at easy and gave me confidence to tell my story well.
At the event, I enjoyed hearing other stories, and seeing the range of emotional responses elicited. It gave a good feeling for Peace Corps' range itself.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

N/A

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

N/A

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

SpeakeasyDC truly added value to Peace Corps’ 50th Anniversary Story Slam event. Amy Saidman, the Director of SpeakeasyDC, was wonderful to work with and her coaching helped our story-tellers to provide entertaining, dynamic and high quality storytelling performances. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with SpeakeasyDC!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Storytelling Event

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

n/a

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

During a Peace Corps-sponsored story telling presentation, the staff of SpeakEasyDC provided a considerable amount of instruction and constructive input to enhance my public-speaking skills. In a short period of time, I was able to stand before an audience of 60 people and tell a 10-minute story with the right amount of clarity, humor, and sincerity. Thanks to the folks of SpeakEasyDC!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Gaining confidence and improving the way I articulate my thoughts.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wouldn't change a thing.

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Rating: 5 stars  

As part of the Peace Corps story slam event, I was connected with Amy to refine my personal story. She was extremely helpful in helping me figure out what made my story compelling, as well as giving me ideas to make my telling of the story a bit more entertaining. We spoke on the phone for about a half hour and throughout the conversation I felt like she asked all the right questions and even better, let me respond and talk out my ideas and experiences.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I'm sorry, I do not understand this question. Life?

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I think it was a great experience. If anything, I'd like to learn more about Speakeasy and have more interaction with them.

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 4 stars  

I have attended about 20-25 SpeakeasyDC shows over the past 4 years. For 2 hours of solid entertainment, the $10 price of a ticket can't be beat anywhere in the DC area. The stories are always highly entertaining, often thought provoking, and have helped me to appreciate the perspectives of people that come from very different backgrounds that are substantially different from mine. I have never participated in their storytelling lessons (which they call "boot camp" or something like that), however, a couple of my friends have, and I have been very impressed with the results, as have they. Although I haven't necessarly liked literally every single story I've ever heard at SpeakeasyDC shows, I can honestly say that I have never seen anyone on stage who had not clearly put a great deal of time and effort into crafting and polishing their story.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The performances are always highly entertaining, often thought provoking, and have helped me to appreciate the perspectives of people that come from very different backgrounds that are substantially different from mine.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The one and only change I would make is that I would probably try to keep the stories "PG-13," with the possible exception of specific performances where it would be made clear that this was not the intent. In fairness to the organization, their events are for ages 21+, and I have immensely enjoyed the vast majority of the shows that I have attended; however, on occasion a few of the stories at a couple of the shows have been gratuitously raunchy.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 4 stars  

A great way to re-acquaint your left and right sides of your brain.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the increase in time and energy that I devote to creative pursuits. I'm writing, reading, and creating more.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Offer individual feedback on behind-the-mic time as it's happening (during class) rather than at the end.

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Review from Guidestar