We cannot love ‘our people’ unless I love each place of myself, those I wish to keep and those I wish to change; for survival is the ability to encompass difference, to encompass change without destruction.

– Audre Lorde

You are invited to apply for Stories for Freedom!

No prior experience with writing or storytelling is required to apply. All storytellers will be paid a $500 stipend for their participation at the completion of the program. Below is a description, our offerings, requirements, a proposed schedule, information about the workshop leaders, and a link to the application. All applications must be submitted by March 15, 2024. All chosen storytellers will be notified by March 20, 2024 and the weekly workshop will begin on April 8. Sessions will be held on Mondays from 7-9PM EST. Scheduling details listed below.

PLEASE READ ALL DETAILS BEFORE YOU APPLY

Program Description

Stories for Freedom will invite ten storytellers, who have been cultivating practices of liberation within their work and lives, to join a TMI Project True Storytelling workshop where they will create and perform true, well-crafted stories of love, resistance and growth in their lives; stories that can be used to further their work and serve as an oral history and exist as a  blueprint for progress for generations to come.

By crafting radically true stories, Stories for Freedom will amplify the voices of artists, activists, and artivists, to inspire identification and belonging in audience members, and challenge all of us to take bold action in the disruption of systemic oppression.

We will select 10 storytellers to join the program and will partner with organizations and individuals alike to further amplify and support the work of reclaiming and healing our lineages, one story at a time.

The cohort will include people of all backgrounds while also paying specific homage to the practices of liberation that have emerged from Black and Indigenous communities. For centuries, the Black and Indigenous communities have created templates for other marginalized groups to take action in and around their own places of oppression – and this program will aim to acknowledge and celebrate these roots.

Once all storytellers are confirmed, TMI Project will begin the multi-session, online storytelling workshop in early 2024 which will culminate in a live performance in the Hudson Valley region of New York in the last week of June (exact date/location TBD).

Offerings

  • An opportunity to learn from TMI Project’s developed and time-tested true storytelling methodology
  • Working with trained facilitators through guided free-writing exercises and other methods for story development
  • Collaborative editing services to transform your personal narrative into a TMI Project-style monologue for the stage
  • Deep connection with others working toward liberation
  • A video of your story to further your work in the world
  • An oral history of your legacy
  • $500 stipend

Requirements

  • All stories are first-person stories. You, the writer, are the main character.
  • You’re willing to be vulnerable and expose your humanity by including the “TMI” parts of your story — the parts we usually leave out because of shame, embarrassment, stigma, or cultural expectations.
  • Your story will capture an experience of personal transformation, from its beginning through its resolution. With the support of the TMI Project workshop leaders, you will shape a story that conveys the emotional complexity of your lived experiences, a story that will compel the listeners attention and keep them fully engaged. You commit to work collaboratively with TMI Project workshop leaders who will edit your writing into a TMI-style monologue.
  • You commit to attending scheduled workshops and being in communication with your workshop leaders if you need to miss a session. (Missing more than two sessions will make it challenging to complete the workshop.)
  • For the emotional safety of everyone participating, you commit to attending all workshop sessions sober.
  • You commit to perform and have your performance recorded. Our hope is the finished product will help fuel your work in a meaningful way.
  • You will have rights to your story and also commit to sign a release to give TMI Project permission to share your story across our platforms.

Schedule

All workshops will be held from 7-9 PM EST.  It is possible that dates/times may change.
04/08
Session 1: Setting up the Space/Intro to Free Writing
04/15
Session 2: Story Development/Characteristics of a TMI Project Story
04/22
Passover – No Workshop
04/29
Session 3: Story Development Story Development, The Mind Map
05/06
Session 4: Story Development, What’s Missing? & The Hot Spot
05/13
Session 5: Story Development, The Story Circle
05/20
Session 6: First Read-Thru – unedited stories
05/27
Memorial Day – No Workshop
(Workshop leaders are editing writing into TMI Project-style monologues)
06/03
No Workshop
(Workshop leaders are editing writing into TMI Project-style monologues)
06/10
Session 7: First Read thru – edited stories
06/17
One-on-One Sessions
06/24
Session 9: Dress Rehearsal
TBD
Performance! (Will happen in the last week of June – final date/location TBD)
07/01
Session 10: Creating a Container

All people will be considered, regardless of race, religion, sexuality, gender identity, or national origin. We encourage people from the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities to apply. We will have a Spanish-speaking workshop leader and also encourage Spanish speakers to apply.

Workshop Leaders

Dara Lurie

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

“I jumped at the opportunity to participate as a storyteller in TMI Project’s first workshop and performance of #BlackStoriesMatter in early 2017 and, later that year, as a TMI Project teacher-trainee. I can’t think of more important work than helping people tell their true stories. If you think it’s simple, you should try it sometime.”

In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Dara is an author and manuscript coach. She received a B.A. in Film & Theater from Vassar College and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Hunter College. Dara grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and migrated in the early 1980s to West Berlin, Germany, where she tended bar, wrote and performed in the theater while living in different communities of squatters, Green Party activists, journalists, teachers, and social workers. Her first book, Great Space of Desire; Writing for Personal Evolution, is a memoir and creative guide for writers wishing to tell their own stories.

Perla Ayora

Pronouns: She/Her

“We immigrants have stories that have been quiet for a long time and now there is finally a safe space where they can be heard. An immigrant has a lot to say about discrimination and culture but also about values, family, learning and justice. Writing your story brings you closer to freedom.”

“Nosotros los inmigrantes tenemos historias que han sido calladas por mucho tiempo y ahora por fin hay un espacio seguro donde pueden ser escuchadas. Un inmigrante tiene mucho que decir sobre discriminación y cultura pero también sobre valor, familia, aprendizaje y justicia. Escribir tu historia te acerca a la libertad.”

Perla is a stand-up comedian who enjoys writing songs, poems, essays, and… jokes. Her creativity and love of expression helps to elevate the many diverse voices of Radio Kingston by broadcasting their shows live from various locations throughout Kingston. She is a radio host and the co-producer of “Tokens Inc”. A dark comedy web series about tokenism. Originally from Yucatan, Mexico, Perla was drawn to Kingston for its lively art, music, and comedy scene – but loves that she can also chill at a BBQ or a taquiza with her neighbors.

Raine Grayson

Pronouns: He/Him/His

“TMI Project does the exact kind of work that the world needs. From the moment I learned about them I wanted to contribute to the way they spread outstanding courage, community, and kindness. TMI Project makes the world a more honest, open place and I am honored to be given the chance to help foster and facilitate their mission.”

Raine Grayson is a multi-genre writer whose work focuses on exploring and uplifting the LGBTQIA+ community. He specializes in social action theatre and also dabbles in academic essays and creative non-fiction. He founded “Queeries Blog” – a space for queer artists to publish their work freely. He’s worked with The TMI Project before in conjunction with the Trevor Project for “Life Lines: Queer Stories Of Survival”. He’s spoken his suicide survival story on nationally streaming platforms for Trevor Live in support of their suicide prevention chat line. His nonfiction work can be found featured at Queeries Blog, Go Magazine, The Paragon Press, Weasel Press, and soon So Say We All’s magazine “The Whole Alphabet”. His playwriting has been featured by The Playwriting Collective, The Tank, NY Madness, KIT Theatre, The Rosendale Theatre, and Virtual Theatre Collaboration. He is a recipient of the SUNY Thayer Fellowship and Patricia Kerr Ross Award for his playwriting, as well as being recognized as a runner-up for the The Playwriting Collective’s Ball Grant. If you’d like to queer up your timeline, find him on social media @rainerpism.