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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Story District

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Nonprofit Overview

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

Mission: Story District's mission is to train ​and showcase storytelling talent in the Washington, DC, area and to be an exemplar of transformative autobiographical story performance as a way to enrich an understanding of the world, build community, promote compassion, and highlight our shared humanity.

Results: Story District storytellers and fans reiterate regularly that Story District is important because we create content and provide a space that promotes authentic human connection and give voice to diverse life experiences. They say that telling and hearing stories opens their minds to new perspectives and makes them feel more connected and grounded. Story District is most proud of celebrating our 20th anniversary, which reflects steady growth and sustainability, exemplary artistic works, excellent educational programs, and a thriving community that we have built over the years. “I Did It For The Story: A Tribute to 20 Years of Storytelling" featured 20 storytellers performing to a nearly sold out audience at the Lincoln Theatre. Story District has also been nominated for Innovation and Excellence in the Arts for the DC Mayor's Arts Award in 2012 and 2016, dubbed the "gold standard in storytelling" by The Washington Post, and featured on the cover of The Washington City Paper in September 2017. In August 2016, Story District moved into a space of its very own– storefront space in Park View – where we are able to host our classes, rehearsals, student showcases, board meetings, and community events. Each year, we produce about 30 performances for at least 10,000 patrons featuring more than 200 storytellers on topics like “Sucker for Love" with true stories about romance, “Mind Over Matter" with stories about living with mental illness, “Out/Spoken" with stories from LGBTQ community, and more. Our education programming includes a five-week Storytelling 101 series, a 7-week course for veterans twice a year, a one-day Boot Camp, and free introductory “flash" classes serving about 350 adult students, and occasionally youth, each year. We supported nonprofit organizations, universities, government agencies, and private companies through customized shows and trainings for professionals on the fundamentals of storytelling. Story District has built a library of videos for our fans to enjoy and our storytellers to have as a tool for their artistic development. In 2018, we plan to re-launch our podcast series with 26 new episodes that will feature live performances, interviews with storytellers, roundtable discussions about topics in storytelling, and live coaching. For the last three years, Story District has received funding and technical support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Through this program we have undergone in-depth external analysis of our capacity with recommendations for growth; professionalized our human resources infrastructure; put essential policies and procedures in place; improved our budgeting process and financial systems; rolled out a successful re-brand from SpeakeasyDC to Story District, and executed an extensive strategic planning process.

Target demographics: promote compassion and community through storytelling

Direct beneficiaries per year: 12,000

Geographic areas served: DC, MD, VA

Programs: Story District's mission is to train ​and showcase storytelling talent in the Washington, DC, area and to be an exemplar of transformative autobiographical story performance as a way to enrich an understanding of the world, build community, promote compassion, and highlight our shared humanity.

Community Stories

215 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 uttara Unnayon Songstha

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a doctor. I have an NGO name: - "Uttara Unnayon Songstha", Dighapatia, Natore, Bangladesh. We have been providing free medical care to ensure the future of poor, sick, orphaned, helpless, dying, underprivileged, and old people in the society, with good reputation for 6 years. In Bangladesh, where helpless, poor sick people are conducting free medical care camps.

There is no source of income for this organization, I manage to provide full medical care in my own sense. I want to provide free treatment to the poor, sick, orphan, helpless, dying, underprivileged, and old people in the society. But with sadness it is said that I have no money to help this helpless poor people in my hand.

I am requesting various organizations or individuals, "Uttara Unnayon Songstha", you need help with your help. You will be benefited greatly if you extend your support to a small amount. The poor, sick, orphan, helpless, dying, infant, and inferior paths of children and old people in Chalanbail area of ​​Natore's Singra Upazila.

To contact me:
Www.uusdn.weebly.com
E-mail: - uusdnn@gmail.com
Linkedin.com/in/uttara-unnayon-songstha-454b66103
Facbook ID: - Uttara Unnayon Songstha
Skype: - faruque.khan98
Phone: - +880 1716 830 527

Bank Address: -
BRAK BANK, NATORE, BANGLADESH.
SWIFT: - BRAKBDDH
Aria Cord-4501
Account - 4501203275328001

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I saw a storytelling show last spring, and really enjoyed it. My friends encouraged me to give open mic storytelling a try, and I really enjoyed it! Not only have I found a regular place to enjoy one of my favorite types of performance, but I've had the opportunity to participate too. I can't say enough about how great this organization is.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 4

I've been to many of the performances and am always astounded at the clever story telling of the performers. It is apparent that the guidance and coaching they receive from Speakeasy staff enables them to have the confidence and skill to make the story lively.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I told a story at speakeasy DC last year, and it was a lot of fun. I wasn't naturally the greatest at it, but my story was true and they were super helpful at helping me hone it into something approaching entertaining. Every time I've been back since I am amazed by how well organized and diverse their organization is--they are a great asset to the community, and the only thing like it in DC.

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love SpeakeasyDC! I go there with friends all the time and I bring my out of town friends there too whenever they visit and it's always a hit.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Storytelling is the heart of the communicative power of art. To do this well requires organizations like Speakeasy DC. Speakeasy DC garners appreciation in the oral tradition and human experience. It provides an avenue to learn the craft of narrative.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I attended the Valentine's Day show with my girlfriend and I was thoroughly entertained. I didn't know exactly what to expect since it was a surprise but I found the stories to be very engaging, sometimes invoking poignant regret and lots of reflection. I could identify myself as a person who vacillates between 'logic, luck, and love' throughout my 33 years. The show also provided a great conversation starter. Bravo to the cast. They were great!!!

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