When are shows?
Visit our events page for upcoming dates & themes.
If you want us to send you invitations & announcements, get on our email list.
HOW CAN I GET TICKETS?
Tickets for our monthly shows will go on sale two weeks prior to each show. Visit individual event pages for dates and times.
Our shows are consistently sold out in advance – sometimes in just a few days (or hours!), so we encourage folks to get tickets early.
If you have a story to tell, you can always write to us in advance to put your name in the hat and get your tickets before they go on sale to the public. Contact forms for storytellers are on individual event pages. If you have a story and the cost of tickets would prevent you from attending, ask about our volunteer and storyteller scholarship opportunities!
If our show sells out before you have a chance to get tickets, you can write to us with the subject line "Waiting List" and the theme of the night and how many tickets you are hoping for and we will let you know if anything opens up. Due to shows selling out in advance, we generally cannot sell tickets at the door.
If the cost of admission would prevent you from attending, ask about our volunteer and storytelling scholarship opportunities.
What can I expect?
Our monthly shows take place at Metro Music Hall, 615 W 100 S (keep in mind that 100 S is only accessible from 600 W on this block). These shows are 21+ and all guests will need a valid picture ID.
Doors open at 6:00pm, an hour before stories begin so folks can enjoy drinks (Metro has a full bar) and fine company before stories. And we do encourage folks to arrive before showtime to get settled – and a drink – so we can begin promptly all together!
As you enter, you may be invited by a volunteer to fill out an anonymous audience participation slip. Our host will read these in the interstitial moments between stories while judges confer on scores. This is a great way to participate even if you’re not up for getting onstage.
Once the show begins, our host will introduce the show, guest judges, and theme of the night and we’ll dive into stories. After 5 stories, we’ll have an intermission followed by 5 more stories. At the end we’ll announce our winner!
What is the etiquette?
We ask that audience members to arrive in time to get settled before showtime and be fully present to listen attentively to storytellers, that means silencing cellphones and refraining from conversing during stories. There’s plenty of time for banter before and after stories and during intermission.
Because the show is uncensored and we never know what folks will say on stage, we encourage audience members to be ready for just about anything!
Having said this, we do not tolerate racist, racist, misogynist, bigoted, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic and otherwise hateful rhetoric. We believe free speech does not equal freedom from responsibility and ask storytellers to consider the impact what they say on stage has for the rest of us, regardless of intent.
If you get on stage and tell a story, you’ll decide for yourself what and how much to disclose, which details to share and withhold. And even though we’re after true stories, you are welcome to change names and places to protect the innocent (or guilty). We invite you to consider the benefits and caveats of posterity: you can opt out of having your audio included in our archive, but not what folks hear you say on stage.
We do not permit unauthorized recordings of our shows. This is to protect the privacy of those who wish to share their stories only with the ears in the room.
Photography is welcome, but without the flash please! We love seeing your images online! When you post them on FB and IG, please tag us! #thebeeslc
Who are the storytellers?
YOU are! The people of Salt Lake City and the people passing through our community. We truly value stories, and believe that everyone has a story to tell - even if they never want to get on stage to share it!
Anyone and everyone is welcome to put their name in the hat at our monthly, "lovingly competitive" shows.
Each night we pull ten names at random, so there’s no preferential treatment (actually, we do put two slips in the hat for first-timers if there are fewer of them than returning storytellers).
Professionals and amateurs, celebrities and ordinary folks, all have an equal chance at getting on stage and telling their tale. That’s part of the fun.
Getting on stage and/or winning in no way disqualifies anyone from participating again. Even those who are judges on one night are welcome to tell stories another, and vice versa.
Are there guidelines for stories?
Stories must be true, on theme, and told in 5 minutes or less without notes.
How do I put my name in the name in the hat to tell a story?
We suggest writing to us in advance to put your name in the hat for an upcoming show, so you can get your tickets before they go on sale to the public (and possibly sell out). Contact forms to do this are on individual event pages. The night of the show, plan to arrive and check in by the stage no later than 6:45pm, as we won’t put the actual slip of paper with your name in the hat unless you're in the room.
To be clear: while it helps us plan, you don't have to write to us in advance and are welcome to put your name in the hat the night of the show, as long as you check in before we begin.
In all likelihood, there will be more than 10 names in the hat on any given night, so there is no guarantee of getting on stage. This adds to the drama. Especially if you don’t end up telling your story on our stage, be sure to share what you've prepared with friends and family!
What makes a good storyteller?
There are many answers to this question. Here are a just a couple of ours…
A good storyteller is someone who takes the audience into their experience: someone who lets us feel the feelings they had, see what they saw, hear what they heard. When they get embarrassed, we get embarrassed, when they’re waiting for that phone to ring, we’re the ones with butterflies.
The best storytellers take us from the beginning, middle and end of a tale with emotional transparency and faith in the value of their own, real personality.
How might a potential storyteller prepare?
What comes to mind when you think on the theme of the night?
Follow that thread and see where it gets you. It’s got to have an arc: know where it starts, know where it wanders, and definitely know how it ends – the finish is key. And it really ought to be interesting.
We suggest telling your story aloud at least three or four times, either to yourself or even better, to a willing listener, with a timer handy. Keep it to five minutes, so we don’t obnoxiously interrupt you. Personality goes a long way, but plot counts too.
If you’re the type that likes to write, go ahead and sketch out your story, perhaps the key points, but remember, no notes on stage. Don’t get up and give us a speech or recite a memorized essay (though planning out first and last lines is effective), and no stand-up routines either, we’re after stories.
Want more in-depth advice? We've got some right here.
Looking for more support? We're delighted to be offering storytelling workshops for experienced and aspiring storytellers! Learn more here.
How are stories judged?
This is a competition, albiet a friendly one. Judges are there to judge the stories, not the storytellers. With that in mind, stories are judged on the following criteria:
Does it feel and/or seem true? We can’t fact check, but we can think critically.
Is the story on the theme of the night? Creativity is welcome here.
Is the story told within the allotted timeframe? We say 5 minutes but we do give a 1 minute grace period.
Is the story from the storytellers' own lived experience?
Does the story have an arc; a beginning, a middle, and an end?
Does a transformation take place, does something happen, is something at stake? Was it interesting, did you like it, were you moved?
Who are the judges?
We reach out to those in our community who are doing good and interesting work, sometimes they might have some "expertise" in storytelling, literary arts, and/or the theme of the night. They’re paired with a willing audience member (or two) the night of the show, right before stories begin.
We ask them to come up with a clever team name relating to the theme of the night and encourage them to be fair and balanced in their appraisals of each story.
Want to join us as a guest judge for an upcoming show? Let us know.
Are there prizes?
The biggest winners are really those of us in the audience, who get to experience the wonder of having 10 unique storytellers from the community get brave on stage and share something real with us. And the storytellers, too, who get to be seen and heard and supported by a room full of attentive listeners. We know this sounds sappy. It’s true.
As a token of our appreciation for storytellers sharing a part of themselves with us, everyone who gets on stage will get a ticket to an upcoming show on us (two if they tell the top scoring story).
Are stories recorded?
We record audio at each show, and storytellers are encouraged to consider both the privileges and caveats of posterity. You can listen to stories from our archive here.
Our Photographer-in-Residence captures portraits of each storyteller on stage.
Storytellers give us their expressed permission to record and share their stories, though they always have the choice to opt out of having their stories and likeness posted publicly afterwards. We always remind them that regardless, the folks in the room cannot unhear what they've said.
How can I get involved?
Come to our shows! Bring your friends! Listen to stories! Tell stories! Encourage your loved ones to do the same! Put your name in the hat! Attend our workshops! Seriously: we want you with us at our live events.
If you’re on Instagram, you can follow us. If you're on Facebook, rsvping to our events and inviting your friends helps grow our reach.
Want to lend a hand the night of the show or otherwise? We always need a few volunteers at each show. Have a resource, a venue, theme suggestion, or other idea? Write to us and let us know.
We strive to keep our shows and programing affordable. Still, finances can be a barrier to participation for some folks. Help us close that gap by making a contribution to our Storyteller Scholarship Fund!
If you are a like-minded organization looking to partner with us to support the literary arts and community gatherings we’re fostering in Salt Lake City, we’d be delighted to discuss possibilities with you. you can contact us here.