Stories are universal, conveying meaning and purpose. Through the act of telling and listening people connect better and find things in common.That’s exactly what Story Story Night in Boise is all about. At Story Story Night, they strive to create opportunities for locals to share and hear stores. They do this through live shows, workshops, and collaborations. The stories are all true and told live on stage without any notes.
“One of the things that make our program unique is we often mix curated stories with story slammers, people from our audience who share a spontaneous story from their life on our theme,” wrote Story Story Night’s Artistic Director, Jodi Eichelberger in an email.
Story Story Night began in 2010 and is now in its 11th season. The current season is titled “Be in the Game.” They decided to add a game show along with their storytelling and have contestants and prizes. The next show is on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. The themes have been inspired by titles of classic TV game shows, and the upcoming one is called “Love Connection.” It features photographer Angie Smith, who created "Stronger Shines the Light Inside" and musician Jennifer Whittaker. "Stronger Shines the Light Inside" features stories about Boise during COVID-19. Smith’s work has been featured in New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and Cosmopolitan. Tickets are available at storystorynight.org.
The idea for the new season began when the organization struggled with not being able to host events indoors in front of a live audience. In normal times, Story Story Night had 500 people attending in person but had to switch over to online shows. Eichelberger said they had to be creative and come up with ideas to keep viewers intrigued. The show is now streamed live and people can interact with the game from home.
Story Story Night took a toll financially during COVID. It’s a nonprofit but the financial support didn't come from grants, rather the nonprofit was raising money to support itself through shows. There are no employees; everything is done with contractors and volunteers and Eichelberger said they appreciate all of the support they’ve received.
“I have described this season as flying a plane and I'm just waiting for our treasurer to tell me when we are flying too low and are about to crash into a mountain,” wrote Eichelberger. “Until then, I keep flying. It looks like we are going to make it, even if our engine cuts out and we coast into the landing strip next season.”
The nonprofit intends to keep coming up with new ways to stay afloat. It currently has a podcast, a monthly show on Radio Boise and a Youtube channel featuring videos from their shows. Story Story also produced a flagship season, a late-night season for adults only, a Slammer of the Year competition, and a series called Starry Story Night.
Upcoming in March people can enjoy “Jeopardy” and in April “To Tell the Truth.” The shows are on the last Tuesday of every month. The summer late-night season is scheduled for the end of June but a firm date is still up in the air.
“Our show is meant to be experienced together and creates a bond between all those in attendance," wrote Eichelberger. "I have a lyric in a song that closes the show: 'I may have come here as a stranger … but now I'm leaving as a friend.' “That's how we want everyone to feel.”