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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

76 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

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!

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 Alycia E.

Client Served

Rating: 4

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

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is by far one of my most favorite things to do in DC. The art of storytelling is one of importance that I don't think people think too much about. The stories are engaging, thought-provoking, humorous, and heartfelt. It's one of those events that seem to draw different types of crowds that are all there for one thing: to listen to the stories. This is a great organization led by passionate people that you just can't help want to get more involved.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to the Valentine's Day show and had a wonderful time. Now I am looking for blind lesbian love.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Speakeasy is an INCREDIBLE resource that I was so lucky to have stumbled upon. I am a middle school theatre teacher, and professional theatre performer/director. With a background in playwriting, and 15 years of experience, I was curious what the Storytelling 101 class would really have to 'offer' me that was new/fresh/interesting/compelling. Honestly, my school paid for it, so I went.
I was BLOWN away by several things.
1. The teaching staff (namely Kevin Boggs and Vijay Nathan) was warm, constructive, enthusiastic, and a WEALTH of experience, ideas, and information.
2. The format was packed, well structured, and challenging. This class really forces you to "do the work" and dig in. I found myself challenged mentally, time-wise, emotionally, and creatively. I loved it. The schedule of 5 weeks, including watching a pro performance, rehearsing our performance, and performing our stories, was well crafted and filled to the brink. I hate to waste my time, and the Speakeasy folks respect our time, money, and intelligence.
3. The "community". I found (without knowing I was looking for) a tribe. I found people from all walks of life comign together once a week for a few hours to share stories, make mistakes, and listen and support one another. I was excited and inspired by my classmates, I looked forward with great anticipation to each class, and I was truly, honestly, deeply moved by their performances. The "result"- sharing a well crafted, personal, and honest story with others was touching enough- but the process to get there- watching the story and the storyteller grow and arrive at art- was astounding.
4. The resources! They offer fantastic handouts that I was able to adjust to fit the needs of my students. The opportunity for one-on-one coaching just seems too generous- even in a class, the faculty really make you feel as though they are personally, deeply committed to your success.
Overall the class, the experience, and the artists have motivated me to continue to attend performances, take additional classes, make personal connections, and find my stories. What a gift this has been.

Review from Guidestar