By Paul Iarrobino

It All Started with Nevertheless, She Persisted!

OBV’s first social media ad for Nevertheless, She Persisted

I have been seeing many “Facebook memories” from our inaugural OBV show last year. We launched our first show on International Women’s Day and called our show Nevertheless, She Persisted. My goal for the show was to bring together new women storytellers and have them share their stories of strength and resilience.

These Facebook postings brought up many positive associations of developing the show with a diverse group of talented women. And, being the first large-scale show I ever produced, it also brought up some insecurities. What if tickets don’t sell? What if the storytellers I selected individually didn’t get along? What if…What if…What if?

In retrospect, I am not sure if it was blind faith, truly believing in our theme, beginners luck, or a combination of factors that led to its success. What I do know is that we filled the Mission Theater and the love that was expressed from the audience to the storytellers and vice versa was electrifying. I learned so much from that launch and it’s rewarding to see how these storytellers have been doing since that first show.

Ellen Wolfson was one of those storytellers and has told stories several times since that launch. Here’s how she described her experience working with OBV:

I walked into a room of brave women. No one knew each other. No one knew what to expect and how this process might be. We were there to tell our stories of resilience. We wrapped a net of love around each other as we experienced our commonalities and differences through our stories. It was through our stories that I found connection and meaning with these women. We sat together, took a deep breath…and laughed, cried, shook our heads in wonder and felt deep pride for the bravery in the room. We formed a community of trust and support.  I am so thankful to have been part of this first event. For me Our Bold Voices started its community of storytellers for its first show.

Ellen Wolfson

Erin Chourey took a huge leap and helped emcee the event with me. She attended every rehearsal, listened to all these heartfelt stories, and provided feedback, while developing the confidence to get up on stage.

Erin recently reflected on this experience from a year ago and says,

It was such a meaningful experience working on this production, especially getting to know the amazing storytellers and helping give them feedback and encouragement to tell their stories. It was very empowering to participate and to challenge myself to come up with an intro speech and actually get up onstage in front of 200 people!!! It really has started a cascading of performing artistic expression for me. I now do public dance performances, karaoke, and am leading groups for my work!

Erin Chourey

Way to go, Erin!

Stacey Rice and Denise Peña have also gone on to tell stories since then and will return to the OBV stage on March 15th at NW Documentary. They will join three other storytellers and will pick up where their original story left off in this new OBV venue. It’s with extreme gratitude we start this second year of curated storytelling events. Watch for future events throughout the coming year!

#neverthelessshepersisted #internationalwomensday #women #storytelling #ellenwolfson #erinchourey #staceyrice #denisepeña

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