Storytelling Coaching

 


 
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My first time hearing true stories told live on stage was fifteen years ago, in a dark and dilapidated jazz club in Washington, DC.

I watched in awe as ordinary people, not actors, got up one at a time and told stories. Stories that were hilarious, devastating, and moving  - all without notes or props. Just a person, a mic, a stage, and an audience.

My first thought upon seeing this was: “I want to do that!”

My second thought was: “There is no way you can do that.”

I listened to that second thought, and waited ten years to get up on that stage and tell a story.


Some years ago, I watched a performer put on a one-person show at a conference.

As I watched the show, pangs of jealousy washed over me in waves.

I was mortified by my own envy, but recognized that it was a very clear sign. I needed to create a one-person show of my own.

It would take me years, but in 2016 I ended up creating and performing my solo show, Aliens, Nazis, and Angels to sold-out audiences -- an accomplishment that I will always be proud of.

What made the difference, in both cases?

Having a mentor in my corner.

If it were not for a mentor who said, “you have a solo show in you,” I don’t know if I would have ever taken that stage and put in the work to make it happen.

Unfortunately, it took the sudden, untimely death of this mentor for me to kick my ass into gear and to put in the work to actually do the show.

With his passing, I realized anew that life is precarious, and fickle. We do not know how much time is ever left to us and we have no time to lose.

While the creative process takes as long as it takes, I don’t want you to wait ten years to let your story out.

I don’t want it to take the loss of someone near and dear to you to spur you into creative action towards your most deeply-held dreams.

I want you to feel empowered and resourced to do the creative and change-making work you know you were born to do.

I would love to support you
to craft and hone your most impactful life stories.

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You can incorporate these stories into your writing, into videos, into audio and podcasts.

You can use these stories in public talks, workshops, performances, and educational work.

You can bring them to your social justice work, whether you are addressing policy-makers, funders, or other decision-makers.

And, if you’re called to, you can shape your stories into a one-person show!

I would be honored to be your storytelling coach and mentor.

To be in your corner, encouraging you every step of the way, as folks did for me.

If you’d like some extra support on your storytelling path, please contact me to set up a time to talk. <link to calendar>


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My Storytelling experience:

  • I’ve been a performer for over two decades. The stage feels like a second home to me.

  • I have performed my spoken word poetry live on stages and in public places.

  • I’ve got a spoken word album called Take Refuge and a chapbook called Poems of Mass Construction.

  • Other publications include: DC Poets Against the War, Beltway Quarterly, Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Movement, and Adbusters.org.

  • In 2012, I worked with the Mental Health Association of San Francisco, helping to create and conduct a speakers’ bureau training for suicide attempt survivors.

  • I’ve been telling true stories live on stages across the Washington, DC area since 2013. See some examples of my storytelling here and here.

  • I’m a certified Life Stories Institute Facilitator with the Theatre Lab of DC.

  • My 2016 solo show, Aliens, Nazis, and Angels was named among “Best of the Capital Fringe” by DC Metro Theater Arts.

  • I am currently a Teaching Artist in-training with Story District.

What folks say about my story coaching:

"Leah Harris is both a powerful story-teller and an incredible teacher. Not everyone can translate what they've learned about trauma into movement, messaging, and action. Leah's story-telling approach is personal in that she gets to know the core of someone's story, provides a safety net for them to dive deep into difficult topics, shares strength-based feedback, and partners with them to craft dynamic messages into their narratives. Because of our work together, I have felt confident in telling my story in The S Word documentary, spoken confidently with reporters, and presented to State Legislators about suicide prevention. For anyone interested in feeling stronger in their storytelling, Leah Harris is a powerful advocate to have on your side."

-Kelechi Ubozoh- Mental Health Advocate, Senior Program Associate, Oakland California

"You are amazing at seeing what needs to be said! You provided just the kick I needed to tell the stories I thought I could never tell - thank you, Leah! I feel taller, somehow."

—Stefanie S, Washington DC


Ready to craft your story and deliver it into the world?

I’d love to coach and support you.
Reach out to set up a time to talk.