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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

The Moth to come to campus in November

Sixty students, Seven Principles of Moth Storytelling, two-day workshops and one-on-ones with instructors will all lead up to 25 participants chosen to present his or her stories to a live audience in a StorySLAM at the Wells-Metz Theatre.

The Arts and Humanities Council is bringing the Moth to IU. The Moth is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the craft of storytelling. It organizes live storytelling events and posts stories to 
the Internet.

Sixty people will get the chance to participate in workshops led by the Moth team Nov. 2 and 3. Of those, 25 participants will receive the opportunity on Nov. 4 to share their five-minute 
stories with a live audience.

Ed Comentale, associate vice provost for arts and humanities, said bringing the Moth to campus is a way to hear stories from students of all majors, not just from students with majors in the arts and humanities.

“We’re really committed to creating arts and humanities experiences for all students, no matter what their major,” Comentale said. “And we really believe that storytelling is an everyday art that’s universally practiced by all walks of life.”

Comentale said the Moth is neat because the stories are true and are told live.

“We’re not working with professional, creative writers,” Comentale said. “We’re working with people who are interested in expressing themselves in a, sort of, earnest and from-the-heart kind of way.”

Comentale said there are many new ways of communicating with each other through the Internet, cell phones and social media, but storytelling is the basic way of learning about yourself and sharing things with others.

“It’s a great source of community building,” Comentale said. “I hope that students, you know, see how easy and rewarding it is to, sort of, craft your life into stories and share them with each other.”

George Dawes Green, founder of the Moth, used to sit on his porch and tell stories with his friends, he said. He tried to recreate that with the Moth’s StorySLAMs.

“The name the Moth, I think it refers to the moths that were drawn to the light on the porch,” Comentale said. “So now, I think, the term affectionately refers to the audience members who are kind of drawn to storytelling.”

Ilana Gershon, associate professor in the Department of Anthropology, first suggested bringing The Moth to campus.

“They told me such wonderful stories, everyone was so funny and thoughtful,” Gershon said. “I was very impressed with how good people were at telling their stories, and I thought maybe it would be a good idea to have a space where people could display their 
storytelling skills on campus.”

Students who wish to apply for a spot in one of these workshops must submit their name, their major and a true, first-person 500-word story to

“All storytelling involves a certain vulnerability, a willingness to present your flaws and your failures, but also your successes,” Comentale said. “And, I hope that students here have enough confidence and feel safe enough around their peers to share their most personal stories.”

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