Live storytelling events create community in the city

Birmingham Magazine   September 19, 2018

An arc light bulb works when an arc of electricity jumps from one element to another. The little lightning bolt that results from the “jumping between” creates the light. For the past eight years, live storytelling organization Arc Stories has been working in the same way.

“The magic that happens in storytelling isn’t with the storyteller and it isn’t with the audience,” says Taylor Robinson, Arc Stories Executive Producer and Founder. “It’s the something that happens in between the two.”

That something in between, according to Arc’s organizers, is the human connection between storytellers and audience members that’s made with each story told. And it’s happened thousands of times since Arc Stories had its first event in October of 2010, when Robinson and a group of around 20 to 30 friends and friends of friends got together to tell stories in his former production studio on Second Avenue South. Since then, more than 450 stories have been shared, and today, Arc’s new venue at the Avon Theater often sells out its 400-seat capacity.

Arc’s story starts with Robinson and his good friend Travis Hawkins. The two fell in love with live storytelling podcasts and decided they wanted to bring something similar to Birmingham. In addition to stories from Robinson and Hawkins, that first event in Robinson’s studio also featured stories from Erin Moon and Chris Kinsley, both of whom are story coaches for Arc and also are director and media director, respectively.

Over time, the team developed a pattern of hosting a free event every six weeks or so, where six to seven people told true stories to a live audience under one loose theme (i.e. scary stories in October, love stories in February)…

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