AZ Wordsmith, the group behind the monthly “Prose Open Mic at the Elks” sessions where Greater Prescott writers read their stories aloud to each other is launching a new program next month where storytellers step out from behind their manuscripts as they bring their tales to life.
AZ Wordsmith’s “Stories That Matter” will debut Oct. 8 at the Elks Performing Arts Center, providing a showcase for locals to spin their own yarn in front of an audience after learning the ropes from a coach with stage experience.
Lee Reeves, one of three local writers who founded AZ Wordsmith in 2019, said, “We feel that stories are kind of a glue for a community. They connect people,” an ethos that runs through both events.
She likened the impact the stories could have to learning about your peers when beginning a new class: “You look around and you don’t do it intentionally, but you judge people, and you think you know what they’re like. And then they tell a story about themselves and you’re a little shaken that you were maybe so off, because that story shows them in a much more complex, deeper way.”
The storytellers to be featured in “Stories That Matter” were selected after submitting their ideas to a “pitch line” at 928.351.7899, which is open for people to leave their pitches for future events. They have each been paired with a coach to aid them with stage and story presentation to polish their performances. “We’re going to work with people to tell their stories, not read them, and we’re going to help curate them in a way that’s going to be pleasing and impactful to an audience,” Reeves said.
Each event will have its own story theme, with the Oct. 8 show focusing on “Life Changes.” The timing of future editions will be determined afterward.