Actors, Photographers, & Other Artists
Whether it’s an art display at a local gallery, photographs for the Facing book or site, or live performances at your event, artists from all disciplines can add to the power of your project.
How to Find Them
Share a call out for artists (among your friends, social media connections, and with local art groups, including the local theatre community, art galleries, photography clubs and stores). Creating a partnership with your local community theatre and college/university theatre department will be key. See Partnership Development under the “Getting Started” portion of this Toolkit.
Most projects enlist the talents of a volunteer photographer or two. Their photos have been used in books, gallery showings, and projected on screens behind performers at the live Facing event.
On projects and stories that are anonymous, photographers can be charged capturing shots of your local community and ones that are representative of the topic you are facing. Photographers need to sign the Photographer/Artist release form so their photos can be used by the project.
For non-anonymous projects some communities organize a get-together/photo shoot at a local park. This is a great way to celebrate all the participants in the project, get some candid and group shots. This is also another great opportunity to make sure that all your storytellers have signed their Storyteller release form.
Stories in a book are powerful, but there is something magical about those stories being read on a stage as a monologue. The simplest of statements can make a big impact. All Facing Project Live events should include several readings. Also, it’s a great way to engage another member of your community in carrying and sharing the story.
Here’s how Kelsey describes the magic of the live events:
“You can call me sexy.”
That’s how I started Jerrold’s story. As soon as the Ball State Theatre education student read the sentence, the audience laughed. I heard the laughter and so did Jerrold.
Jerrold was sitting behind me and to the right at Hillcroft’s Facing Disabilities Project, our third Facing Project in our hometown of Muncie.
Jerrold’s picture was splashed on the white screen behind the reader. Audience Jerrold smiled at white screen Jerrold, and white screen Jerrold looked out onto a packed house of nearly 400 people at Muncie Civic Theatre.
I didn’t watch the audience. I didn’t watch the reader.
I watched Jerrold.
I watched Jerrold as the reader read the words I wrote and the words that Jerrold lived. I watched sorrow on his face when the words were about his mom. I watched the pride on his face when the words were about how his co-workers felt about him. I watched him laugh when the words were about his favorite beer – O’Doul’s – and his cat – Lovie.
Anyone can be a monologue readers, but you’ll get the best results and reach a wider swath of your community if you recruit local performers from the community theatre or local university theatre program.
Try to match actors with stories from someone of the same gender and near the same age of the storyteller. This isn’t a requirement, but will make the voice of the actor more believable.
The hardest decisions are what stories to include and exclude in your 90-minute live event. Obviously you want to have your best stories performed, but there are other factors to consider:
- What stories are important for your community partners?
- You’ll want a diversity of stories. For instance if your subject is bullying you’d want to try to have a story from a bully, someone who has been bullied, and maybe a parent or friend or teacher or therapist who has dealt with bullying.
A 90-minute event has time for the reading of around 10 full stories. If you want to squeeze in more stories edit down the stories or include similar stories in a montage of combined stories.
Give the stories to the actors several weeks before the event so they can practice. One of the most powerful Live Facing events we’ve seen was put on by the Facing Sex Trafficking event in Atlanta. The readers memorized the stories. Here is Yewande Austin’s performance:
Most events readers don’t memorize their stories!
For more tips on your event, see Event Planning under the Rolling It Out portion of the Toolkit.