Community Storytelling

Outreach.

Diversity of participation. Breadth of experience. Depth of content. This storytelling series is an opportunity for the microphone to find its way into communities with stories that need to be shared. All theVOM events are the culmination of an engaged outreach process with local artists, social advocacy organizations, and community groups with the goal of giving voice to transformative stories.

Lead teaching artist Dustin Ballard conducting a community workshop.

Lead teaching artist Dustin Ballard conducting a community workshop.

Education.

The workshop series provides an intuitive and fun educational experience that encourages each participant to creatively engage with their own personal narrative on their own terms. 

In Workshop #1 each participant will have the opportunity to: 1) Explore a shared theme and individual stories  that connect. 2) Create image-based work to expand their explorations. 3) Structure a textual outline of a personal story

By Workshop #2, participants will further develop their textual outline by exploring dramaturgical and performance techniques including: text analysis, rhythm, sequencing, meaning, memorization, style, and physical presentation. 

In Workshop #3, participants will be prepared to share and refine a complete and memorized 8-minute personal narrative of a true event from their own lives. 

Performance.

The final step in theVOM process is to allow stories to transition from private spaces to public audiences. theVOM provides a supportive, non-competitive environment for storytellers and communities to gather, share, and engage. Through the sharing of stories, theVOM encourages the empowerment of communities to build empathy and inspire action. 

Community activist participating in a coLAB Arts curated story slam with the Esperanza Neighborhood Project.

Community activist participating in a coLAB Arts curated story slam with the Esperanza Neighborhood Project.

Through their storytelling workshops with our center, coLAB Arts created an environment in which survivors of sexual violence could take ownership over their stories. The workshops gave a group of people who are often silenced an opportunity to find their voices and feel heard. The coLAB teaching artists provided survivors with a structure that made telling a traumatic story empowering in a manner that was supportive, kind, and trauma focused.
— Samantha Dooley, Social Worker, Middlesex County Center for Empowerment

theVOM derives its name from the Latin word vomo, meaning "to spew forth". The vomitorium was a passageway in ancient Roman coliseums and amphitheaters that allowed rapid egress for large audiences. In modern theaters, the “vom” refers to the hallway passage that runs underneath an audience to the stage, a journey from a dark space to the illumination of the stagelight. In this transition, from dark to light, we find our greatest stories. 

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