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Grantee: Elise Raime & Stacey Conner

Project Title: Listen to Your Mother (LTYM) Spokane - Storytelling, Connection, and Community
Year awarded: 2017, Round 3

For the past seven years, LTYM show is always on Mother’s Day Sunday at 7:00 p.m. at the Bing Crosby Theater. The audience of almost 400 members of the Spokane community hears the stories of 13 strangers who become their friends, neighbors, and peers.  The show begins with a slideshow featuring pictures of each LTYM cast member. The theater goes dark and the curtains open to a sparse stage with a music stand and a microphone centered in the spotlight surrounded by a semicircle of chairs.

LTYM readers are all community members who have auditioned through a competitive process to be featured in the show, many of whom do not have any experience, and have been guided through the process of public storytelling performance tools developed by Stacey Conner and Elise Raime. The storytellers must remember what they’ve learned – to enunciate and make eye contact, to pause where we have practiced, but most importantly, that their words are important.  Stacey wrote in their grant application, “They speak their truth, no matter how brutal, and without fail the listening audience receives them with open hearts.”

WITH SAGA SUPPORT

SAGA funds were used to support Stacey and Elise in their artistic efforts, and to expand outreach efforts, diversifying the stories LTYM can bring to their audience and the impact they have on the Spokane community. “Our outreach begins in September when we hold the first of five monthly sessions of our Creativity Salon.  The salon sessions are educational. We teach the basics of short creative non-fiction essays, and also the fundamentals of what makes a good essay for LTYM audition day.” Stacey and Elise’s classes aim to make an enormous impact on the participants as writers.