Originally published to Facebook on May 13, 2020
Our #WCW this week goes out to Jessica Myles Henkin and Laura Wexler of Baltimore-based live show and podcast, Stoop Storytelling Series. Check out their website at www.stoopstorytelling.com and read on to learn more about this touchingly intimate program!
Here's a quick Q&A with Jessica Myles:
Q: What inspired you and to start The Stoop-- how did it begin?
A: The Stoop was inspired by the storytelling techniques on National Public Radio shows such as This American Life. Laura was inspired to start The Stoop when she attended San Francisco’s Porchlight storytelling series in 2005. The best part, she felt, was being a part of the audience and really feeling like one with the storytellers. She’d never experienced anything like it. She came back to Baltimore, where she is a writer and editor, and enlisted my help. Laura thought “I’m the writer part of it, and if Jessica was the performer part of it, we would make a good team.” My background was improv comedy, first in NYC from 99-03, then in Baltimore ever since. I was one of the founding members of the Baltimore Improv Group and have since created the Maryland Improv Collective. At the time, there were two big storytelling series – The Moth in NYC and Porchlight in San Francisco. We named it The Stoop as both an homage to Baltimore and because moths and porchlights can be found on, well, stoops! We knew wanted to create an event that would build community through the sharing of personal stories, but we had no idea how it would go. In fact, we picked the first show’s theme, “Legends of the Fall: Stories of Failure,” (Feb 2006) just in case it flopped. It didn’t. Our first show sold out at Creative Alliance as did every show afterwards, causing us to have to look for a bigger venue after 2 years. We moved to Center Stage in 2008 and eventually to The Senator Theater in 2013.
Q: When your audiences finish listening to an episode, what would you like them to come away with?
A: We are both a live show event and a podcast. We do about 8 shows a year, with our mainstage shows being at either The Senator Theater or Centerstage and with special events at places such as The Baltimore Museum of Industry. The stories shared at these shows are featured on our podcast. We hope the live shows and the podcast, in their own unique way, creates intimacy, initiates discussion, and ultimately fosters a better sense of community and connection. Connecting people and creating empathy for others’ journeys is what The Stoop Storytelling Series is all about
Q: What is the most rewarding part of working on this podcast?
A: We so grateful it’s still going strong after 14 years! We’re deeply proud of our archive (over 3000 stories!) and we still really like working together. We also couldn’t do it without our amazing sponsors (including The Park School, Golden West, Baltimore Magazine, Trohv, and The Wine Source) and producer, WYPR’s Maureen Harvie
Q: Where can listeners find The Stoop?
A: You can download our podcast weekly on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, or on our website, which also features all our upcoming events – www.stoopstorytelling.com
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