Story Wise Women
Women’s Monthly Storytelling Nights
First Tuesday of the month, 7.30 pm Inner North, Melbourne
Story Wise Women is a place for women to be heard and bear witness, be moved and connected, make meaning and laugh.
Melbourne's Only Storytelling Event for Women
Women's Stories Need to Be Told
Women's experiences are different, how we see the world, how we are treated in the world, how we make sense of the world are unique and diverse.
Women's stories need to be shared, explored, celebrated and felt. Women's voices need places where they can be practised and strengthened, women's hearts need places to be held and nourished, women's souls need places to laugh and connect.
Storytelling enables us to make sense of our lives in a way that brings peace and hope to the events that have shaped us, as we then shape the events into a story. When we share a story, as part gift, part message, we learn and affirm who we are and what we believe, and we come know ourselves in a deeper way.
The stories are funny and light hearted, painful and sad, uplifting and moving. The atmosphere is affirming, encouraging, accepting and warm.
We leave full to the brim with the knowledge that we have participated in an ancient ritual that is modern and timeless. We leave knowing in our bones that we are not alone.
First Tuesday of the Month
7.30pm North Fitzroy, or Brunswick
Once a month in a hip and cool location, women come together to share and listen to stories - their stories.
First Tuesday of the Month
(March to November)
7.30 pm Come alone or come with a friend. Get a drink & settle in.
7.45pm, the stories begin.
This is an open opportunity 8 - 10 women to tell a 5 - 10 minute true story - no notes, it happened to you, and for the rest of us to listen. There is no obligation to tell a story, listeners are needed just as much as tellers. Drinks and food for sale in the bar. The nights are themed, see below for current theme. There are a few stairs associated with this venue. Contact Kate if you want specific details Ph: 0402 080 445.
Dates in 2019: 5 March, 2 April, 7 May, 4 June, 2 July, 6 August, 3 September, 1 October, 5 November - (Cup Day).
5 March - Handsome Her Cafe, 206 Sydney Road, Brunswick
2 April - Long Play, 318 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy Nth
Later venues to be confirmed, but inner north suburb of Melbourne
Cost $15 or $10 concession.
Story Wise Women Themes
Each storytelling event has a theme. Themes are meant as prompts, guides, helpful for those of us stuck, not to restrict or stump you. Feel free to be creative and think outside the box, feel free to wander to a story that you feel drawn to tell. The themes are also very broad and most stories can be made to fit a theme if you want it to, but if you have a story knocking inside you that needs to be told and you think it has no connection to the theme, that is fine too. Here are the themes for 2019:
5 March, 2019 Theme: Women
Tell us a story about one or one thousand women in your life, from the woman who birthed you to the woman packing your shopping. Wade into the mirky waters of gender roles and expectations, of the times you've been put in your place as a woman or relished in the joy of womankind. Tell us about being More Powerful Together or #BalanceforBetter theme’s for this year’s International Women's Day. Share with us when you were mentored and supported or when there was safety in numbers. Hold your hand to the story, always the story, the heart and emotions, the people and the place. Tell us a story for International Women's Day.
2 April, 2019 Theme: Seasons
Tells us a story from a season of your life, or one evoked by a season, a story from spring - blossoms and blooming, sex in the air, fertility bursting. Harvest a story from summer, the long hot lazy days, a stand out New Year or beach trip, the dry north wind, or a hot start to the school year. Feel into the heart of autumn, with its beauty and melancholy, the darkness pressing and the days getting shorter, or share a story from deep winter, coats and long underwear, indoors, heating, hot butter, tea and cocoa (and it can also be a seasonal metaphor). Or tell us about a time you encountered people living in a different season - the very old or the very young; teenagers, newly weds, adult children, C suites or Gen XYZ.
7 May, 2019 Theme: Music
Listen for the story that sings to you, share with us the notes of birdsong, tell us about your first pop song, radio station, band crush or concert. Tell us about learning to play: the instrument, the practice, the tunes, and the exams. Remember the teachers, the choir, the school song and the anthems. Share a story about your diva fantasies, or your first heart break tune; belt out a ballad, break our hearts with Dion, (because we'll always love you). Tell us a tale about the orchestra, the opera, or your Mum's favourite record. Serenade us with strains, lullaby us with lyrics, let the music inside you, come out through a story.
4 June, 2019 Theme: Fate
Tell us a story about serendipity, the stars aligning, it all falling into place, being in the right pace at the right time. Then again, maybe tell us about when you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, when it all fell apart, when the stars collided in catastrophe. Share a story with the 20:20 vision of hindsight, when the signs were all there but you didn't see them, when it all makes sense only now. Tell us about the fateful day, the fated meeting, the chance encounter, the things that 'were meant to be'. Wait, isn't that all of it? Or is it? Let the story lead the way.
2 July, 2019 Theme: Food
Tell us a story about the best meal, the worst, the time you burnt it all, including the curtains, that cafe meal when he told you it was over, the restaurant where you first held her hand. Share your grandmother's recipe, the family favourite or the birthday feasts. Tell us about the smells of home, the preparing and the processing the growing, washing and chopping. Tell us when you gagged, had a touch of gluttony or heaved it all overboard. What about the gastro, the dieting, the purging and the allergies, addictions and appetizers. Preserve it all in a tale for the depth of Winter.
6 August, 2019 Theme: Body
Tell us a story about the body, it's weakness and beauty, strength and impurity. Tell us about a time your body was amazing, you ran, leapt or danced, you clambered, climbed or carried, it soared or softened, strained or climaxed. Tell us about when it failed you, betrayed and deserted you, tell us about illness, accident or ageing. Tell us about wombs expanding and birthing, guts heaving and contracting, rejecting, eliminating and cramping. Tell us when you were on fire, strutting like everyone was watching, or about the constant moving feast of emotions. Whatever story calls, the body was always there.
3 September, 2019 Theme: Play
Tell us a story about play: playing a trick, a board or a sports game, a scripted story or plain old fashioned child's play. Play with the theme, the story, your listeners or yourself. Loosen up and have some fun, or get hardline about the rules. If you've ever played with kids, been a kid, cheated, or been cheated on, had white line fever, played the game or been played for a fool, been to the theatre or played with yourself, you've got a play story to share.
1 October, 2019 Theme: Power
Share a story about the power, when the lights went out, and then sang back on, the batteries ran out or the fuse blew. Tell us about the power of adults - the teacher, parent, boss or police, how they used or maybe abused it, tell us about a time you felt powerless, or powerful, empowered and potent. Tell us when you felt the surge of your own power within, or when you too exercised power over. Share a story of the moving power feast, that shifts back and forth, drains and surges. Or maybe a story about the time you were totally awed by the greatest power of all, nature.
5 November 2019 (Cup Day) Theme: Face
Tell us a story with a face at its heart, the face of innocence, lust, anger or glinting eyed greed. Tell us about a look in the eye, a face you couldn't see, a sleeping baby's peace. Tell us about what you faced that day, or when you turned to face your future, or maybe it was your past? Share a story of facing the facts, facing the truth, facing away. The smile that lights up the world, the tears you brushed away, the dearest face in the world to you. Tell us about your own face, its nooks and crannies, its peaks and valleys, the scars, the makeup, the dental treatment and the lines. Face your story, then shape it to share.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to tell a story?
No there is never any obligation or even pressure to tell a story, but there is always an open and encouraging invitation. And often tellers find they come with no intention of telling a story but after hearing several stories and feeling safe and inspired, they step up and have a go.
Is there a theme?
Yes there is, but the theme is meant to inspire, not to retrict, so feel free to be creative, think outside the box and if there is a story inside you, calling to be told, don't worry if its not on theme, tell it anyway.
How do I tell a story?
Here are some tips for telling a story:
1. Go some where with your story, aim for a climax or a twist.
2. Think about the structure and emotional impact of the story.
3. If it’s appropriate, give the characters a voice, be dramatic
4. Think about your delivery: suspense and drama., and about how you end your story – try to end with resolution, making sense of the events.
5. Practice your story on the dog, cat, chooks … on who/whatever.
6. Time your story
7. Think about your audience – take them for a ride.
Also check out the blog posts on Story Wise for more tips and ideas, or sign up and receive the Story Wise Seven Step Story Crafting worksheet.
Why tell a story?
Taking events from our life and crafting it into a story that is part gift, part message, helps us understand ourselves better, know who we are and where we have come from. It helps us bring peace to experiences in order that we may tell them to an audience with resolution. It also connects us to our audience and allows us to share our we make sense of this world and our life.
Who runs Story Wise Women?
Story Wise Women is run by Kate Lawrence from Story Wise. Kate is a storyteller with a passion and purpose for personal storytelling. She is an experienced and trained facilitator, teacher and storytelling coach, with sense of fun. She has a deep and abiding faith in human stories and never tires of hearing them. She takes her craft seriously and as well as telling and teaching, she regularly reads, reflects and writes about storytelling. Kate is particularly good at creating safe and respectful spaces for people to explore their stories. Kate has delivered storytelling workshops at the Williamstown Literary Festival and the NSW International Storytelling Conference, and a bunch of other places. This year (2019) she is turning her attention to working in organisations, to create more wholeness in the world at work. You can read more about Kate here.
Are there any rules for telling?
Here are the guidelines for storytellers:
1. Stories must be true, personal stories i.e. they happened to you the teller.
2. Stories must be told without notes and no longer than 10 minutes.
3. Let kind hearts and common sense prevail - sexist, racist, misogynist and homophobic stories hurt people. Stories should also not be used to put anyone down, to take revenge or to embarrass anyone else.
4. Stories are recorded as audio with the aim of publishing them on a podcast, but this is only done with a tellers permission, which will be given or not, on the evening.
5. Photos will also be taken, to help promote the next event, but will only be used if there is no objection from audience or tellers.
Past Dates and Themes
23 September, 2016 Theme: No theme
North Melbourne Maternal & Child Health Centre. 505 Abbotsford Street, North Melbourne.
28 Oct, 2016 Theme: Beginnings
North Melbourne Library, 66 Errol Street, Nth Melbourne.
Prepare a story about when it all began, the start, the beginning, the seed, the moment, the first step, the idea, and firsts of all kinds. The first time you… made it, did it, worked it, loved it, realised it, held it, felt it, saw it, heard it…
29 Nov, 2016 Theme: Endings
75 Reid Street, 75 Reid St, Fitzroy North
Prepare a story about an ending, a destruction, a release, a relief, a grief, a death, a birth or the last time you made it, did it, worked it, loved it, realised it, held it, felt it, saw it, heard it. NB This night was cancelled at the last minute as I forgot the critical step of picking up the key. Our new venue, Long Play should avoid this problem!
March 7, 2017 Theme: Chance(s)
Take a chance and tell a tale about a chance encounter, the luck of the draw, or a lucky break. Tell us how serendipity smiled, you took your chances, you ran a risk, you were in with a chance, the dice rolled your way, or your fate rested on the toss of a coin.
April 4, 2017 Theme: Water
Tell us a story about water: drinking, drowning, swimming and thirsting. About floods and droughts, waves, wet pants, dams bursting, being washed away, boats and oceans, rivers and lakes, the local pool, waterfalls and islands.
May 2, 2017 Theme: Sickness and Health
Tell us a story of the body, how a crisis of health, your own or someone around you, came to your life. Tell us about the vomit, blood, guts and pain. Tell us about sickness in a relationship, your heart or your mind, tell us about the doctors and nurses, the patients, the tests, the fears and acceptance.
June 6, 2017 Theme: Light and Dark
Tell us about the shadows, the sunrises and sunsets, that creepy thing in the dark, the crack of light in the cave, the light switch you finally found, the lights going out, the torch that didn’t work, the warm lights of the house on the hill, or the time you wished you'd worn dark, or light clothes.
July 4, 2017 Theme: Friendship
Tell us about your best friend when you were 5 or 15 or 55, the four legged friend that saved you, the demise of a friendship, the betrayal of a friend, the loneliness of feeling friendless, the struggle to make friends, the challenge of letting a friendship go, the odd friends we have and the odd friends we are.
August 1, 2017 Theme: Lost
Tell us a story about a time you lost your way, forgot the map, ended up back where you started. A time you didn’t know what to do next, you couldn’t understand what was happening, where it was all lost on you or on them, or the world. When you lost the game, your wallet or your kid.
September 5, 2017 Theme: Help
Tell us a story about lending a hand, needing help, not asking, resenting being asked, regretting not offering, not knowing how to help, having your help rejected. Help us understand you, your life and what help means to you.
October 3, 2017 Theme: Comfort Zone
Tell us a story about being outside your comfort zone - stretched, tested, challenged and pushed. Share a story about a time you felt uncomfortable - too cold or wet, hot or thirsty; a time you were out of your depth or out on a limb, up ship creek or sailing too close to the wind. Tell us about when you’ve been longing for your comfort zone: your bed, the couch or the warmth of home.
November 7, 2017 Theme: Stories from Childhood
This month the theme is a bit different as we will be joined by filmmaker Mojan Jivadi who making a documentary and book called 'One Thousand and One Tales'.
Here is the idea:
The teller, ie. you, share a story: oral, folk, fable or written, from your childhood that had a deep impact on you.
You also tell us, before or after you story, how the story affected you as a child;
Finally you tell us what you make of the story and its impact on you now, looking back on it as an adult.
There is no obligation to be filmed, you can tell anyway.
March 2018 Theme: Place
Prepare a story where place is a character or where things are out of place, where you or someone didn't know their place. Maybe there wasn't a place at the table, you came last or first place, you couldn't place the name or the face. The first time you went to his place or her place.
April 2018 Theme: Boundaries
Prepare a story about boundaries, personal space, in your face, saying No; crossing the line, white line fever, nicking out of the school boundary. Perhaps a time you had some lack of clarity about the boundary between you and your neighbours. Or maybe you were once a boundary rider.
May 2018 Theme: Blood
Share a story of the body and its gold, where red runs deep, or the pressure is high or low. Tell us about a time the river of veins hit the air, or the lining of the womb released its hold. A time you scraped your knee, cut your finger or scratched your arm, when bruises darkened the skin. Tell us about a time you blushed with blood rushed to your cheeks, or fainted as blood drained away.
June 2018 Theme: Ancestors
In this month of the Winter Solstice, tell us about your elders, your ancients, your skeletons; the family jewels, family traits, family mysteries and secrets. Share your genealogy, the legacies and inheritance from the endless line of forbears that make you who you are. Tell us how you honour them, escape them, own them, laugh at, forgive and claim them as your lineage.
July 2018 Theme: Barking Up the Wrong Tree
Tell us a story about the wrong tree, the dead end, the wrong idea. Tell us about a time you were way off the mark, when you totally misunderstood, misrepresented or misheard, or someone did this to you. Tell us about the suspicions and unfounded conclusions, mistaken identity or chasing the wrong cat.
August 2018 Theme: Tears
Tell us about a time the tears came, unbidden, unwanted, unexpected, or perhaps a story of when you were so overjoyed, your cup runneth over and your eyes spilled saltwater. A time you swallowed hard, or howled in anguish, when the dam burst and you couldn’t stop, of being spent, washed clean, exhausted, renewed or released. Tell us about a time someone else cried and you comforted, or cried too or turned away. Tell us when your heart burst with love and you teared up with emotion, or when wave just hit, for no reason at all.
September 2018 Theme: Football
Tell us a story about football - playing, yearning, kicking and running, watching, waiting, hating or avoiding. Tell us about discovering, not understanding, loving and loathing, culture or cringe. The oval or round ball, the oval or rectangular ground, the sexism, exclusion, and invisibility. The barracking, the crushes, the colours and the club. How it played out, or not, at home, in your family, in the school yard or the street. Or tell us a story of not-football.
October 2018 Theme: Tricks
Prepare a story about a trick you played or that was played on you, a trick your dog or pet kangaroo could do or about something, or a time that was tricky, difficult, needing skill and attention. Tell us about when you could or couldn't turn trick, a tricky character, or when you were tricked into it.
November 2018 Theme: Money
Prepare a story about dough; not enough of it, too much of it, spending it, stealing it, losing it, finding it, earning it. Tell us about the secrets, the awkwardness, the embarrassment. A windfall, a sudden loss, the wrong change or the black market. Prepare a story about betting, stealing, giving, begging or wishing. Tell us how all that glitters is not gold.