2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Calgary Story Slam brings tall tales to local audiences

By Connor Sadler, January 29 2015 —

Stories are an intrinsic part of our lives. From drunken talks over beers to tales about meeting crazy people while travelling, everyone has their stories.

The Calgary Story Slam, created by Jilliane Yawney in October 2012, gives Calgarians the opportunity to share stories of their own.

After attending poetry slams around the city, Yawney applied the same concept to the story slam.

The first slam, held at Shelf Life Books, was similar to a poetry slam, and the format has stayed the same since. Narrators sign up for a five- minute slot and judges are randomly selected from the audience. They critique the performances and award the best narrator a prize at the end of the night.

Since 2012, attendance has grown and the slam has moved to the Rose & Crown Pub.

To prevent the same stories from being repeated, each slam has a different theme. Recent ones include, “It All Began When,” “Revenge” and “Under Cover.”

“That [theme change] has the effect of generating different ideas and bringing different stories forward,” Yawney says. “It’s sort of like a springboard for thoughts and inspiration.”

Previous themes have reflected events in Calgary. Last year there was a slam focused on accounts from the 2013 flood.

“The stories are all 100 per cent first person,” she says. “That’s what’s so wonderful about this event. You meet strangers and they tell you about personal things that have happened to them in a beautiful, artistic way.”

Stories about love and travelling are told alongside humorous tales about people stealing random objects to get back at their bosses.

Yawney describes the atmosphere as relaxed and informal with a lot of regulars who return each month. Story tellers are as young as six and as old as 85.

Although the slam has been a popular event for years, Yawney says it needs support from the community to grow.

“I need volunteers. I need people who want to put it on with me and that’s a challenge because we just barely scrape by. At the moment we’re just keeping it running. I love it the way it is though.”

The next slam is on March 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Rose & Crown Pub.


Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet