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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Services, Cultural & Ethnic Awareness, Performing Arts, Theater

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

Programs: Produce monthly storytelling performances that encourages local participation in storytelling and nurtures newly developing performers

produce series of workshops and educational programs to support and develop the local storytelling community

Community Stories

214 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 4

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.

Client Served

Rating: 4

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

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.

Review from Guidestar

1 Alycia E.

Client Served

Rating: 4

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

Review from Guidestar