Early in 2015, the WGI expanded its workshops into a partnership with The Moth, the acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling.
WGI member David Crabb brought the two groups together for a Moth Community workshop. Larry Rosen, the Manager of The Moth’s Community Program, and the Senior Manager of The Moth’sEducation Program, Micaela Blei – instructing the storytelling workshop alongside Crabb. On the WGI side, Andrea Ciannavei and Jenna Jackson worked with the mentors and participants.
“In many ways, the Moth does what the WGI does in their workshops,” says David, “although the Moth’s goal is for people to share their stories out loud, not on the page. I felt it was worth exploring if we could work with our Veterans and Caregivers through the techniques of the Moth.”
In May of 2015, members of the WGI and the Moth met with 10 participants for a weekend workshop in Minneapolis. The techniques of the Moth, where participants learn to shape their life experiences into well-crafted stories, resulted in an end-of-the-weekend storytelling show by the 10 participants for invited guests.
“There was one man,” Crabb recalls, “who said at the beginning, ‘I won’t be able to tell my story. I’m too nervous.’ But after 9 of his peers told theirs, he asked to go onstage and told an amazing story about confronting his panic issues while trying to teach his son to ride a bike. It was stunning.”
“It was a small, but intense group,” recalls Andrew Powers, Family Outreach specialist from the Wounded Warrior Project. “And it was a real working weekend. But the bond and respect we saw in that group, between the professionals and the veterans, ws just amazing.”
Another participant from the May workshop, John Nunemaker recently appeared in a Moth Mainstageevent in Austin, Texas. (The Moth Mainstage is the “flagship” series at The Moth, where stories are curated and directed.)
“That story, like many that we hear in the Writers Guild Workshops, wasn’t literally about combat or the war,” according to David Crabb. “But it was about what people go through in their lives, through the prism of being a soldier.
Nunemaker’s Moth story will be available soon online, and we’ll let you know when it’s up via the WGI Blog.
The Moth’s Producing Director, Sarah Austin Jenness, said, “We are honored to work with these veterans, and provide a platform for their stories. It is our hope that this partnership between The Moth Community Program and Wounded Warriors continues, and that audiences around the world will be able to hear these important stories at Moth mainstages, on our podcast, and on The Moth Radio Hour.”
David looks forward to expanding the combined Moth / WGI Workshop approach into other communities.