The Willingham Theater Advisory Council continues their commitment to storytelling in all of its forms by presenting the Willingham Story Slam – showcasing community members performing a live recollection and reflection from their own life experience – a true story. 

Tell a story or just listen!

Stories are probably as old as language. Come participate in one of the most fundamental and enduring human experiences – live storytelling!

What Happens at Story Slam Events(See upcoming events listed below)

• Volunteers from the community will vie to enthrall you with a story, told live.

• All stories at each slam event will be linked to a common theme, announced in advance. 

• When the slam begins, storyteller hopefuls will put their names in a “hat.” Names are picked at random, and storytellers will take the stage one by one. 

• Storytellers whose name is not drawn will have an opportunity to deliver their first “hook” story line to the audience at the end of the slam. 

• At some slam events stories are scored by teams of judges selected from the audience. 

• Storytellers are judged on sticking to the five-minute time frame, sticking to the theme and having an engaging story. 

Please note

Although admission is not age-restricted, please consider that slam events are open mic. We do not control or know the story content in advance. Some stories may be explicit and meant for an audience aged 16 years and older.

Do you have a story to tell?

What we want to hear: 

Bring us into your experience. Ensnare us in your narrative web. Make us care about you and the journey you have taken. Help us understand the situation you were in. Describe what you observed. Tell us about your fears, your joys, worries or hopes. Include the irony, humor or pathos we can all relate to. What decisions did you make? What were the consequences? What did you change? How were YOU changed?

Story slam guidelines for storytellers

Stories should be true.  Nonfiction only.

Stories are told “by heart.” No notes or props. Practice your performance so that you do not need support.

Adhere to the theme. The story you tell should be strongly linked to the announced theme for the date.

The story must be yours –not someone else’s. Stories are usually better if you were present and involved in a significant way. 

The story should reflect action and consequences. Tell us what was at stake, what was gained or lost, the obstacles or conflict you encountered, and how your actions affected you or the outcome.

Adhere to the time limit. Stories should be 5 minutes long. There will be a one-minute grace period so you do not need to bring a stopwatch.

Please avoid:

• stand-up routines, stereotypes, rants, essays, religious sermons, how-to’s, confessions, lectures, or fiction.

• No one wants to hear hate or derision aimed at a person or a group. Build a bridge with humanity, not a wall. 


Upcoming Events


Storytellers, do you want some help honing your story?

Storytelling Workshop

  • This September story slam will be preceded by a storytelling workshop on Saturday, August 31st from noon to 2 PM at the Creative Community Lab in the railroad building at 300 S. Liberty St., Suite 150, next to Willow’s Bistro.
  • The workshop is free.

The workshop will be led by Joe Mills, Professor in the Division of Liberal Arts at UNCSA. Dr. Mills is the author of six books of poetry as well as many other works of fiction, nonfiction and literary criticism. He is the winner of the 2017 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition, and the 2017 University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence.

Sign-up for the workshop:


The Willingham Theater Advisory Board of the Yadkin Arts Council brings its Willingham Story Slam to Bookmarks’ 2019 Festival of Books and Authors in Winston-Salem. 

Saturday, September 7th, from 4 – 6 PM

• Festival attendees and authors are invited to perform a live, 5-minute recollection and reflection from their own experience, a true story.

All stories at this slam event will be linked to the common theme: “Books and Authors.” Tell us about a story or poem that changed your life. Recount how you fell in love with the written word. Reflect on your struggle to write a book or live with/work with an author.


• The story slam will be held in the breezeway next to Foothills Brewpub at #638, 4th Street, Winston-Salem, NC.

Admission is free for this event



The Willingham Theater Advisory Board of the Yadkin Arts Council will partner with the New Winston Museum to present a “Sports” themed Willingham Story Slam in Winston-Salem. 

Sunday, October 13th, from 4 – 6 PM.

All stories at this slam event will be linked to the common theme: “Sports.

• What’s the greatest sports story you’ve never told? Tell us how your participation in a sporting event, or that of a family member or friend, altered your path in life. 

• Is there a story you’ve been hankering to tell about the way sports, society, and life intersect for you?


The ARTC Theater at 110 W. 7th St., Winston-Salem, NC, 27101 (formerly The Garage); phone: 336-408-9739;

• Parking is available in a lot across 7th Street or along adjacent streets.


• Tickets for each story slam can be purchased prior to the event for $5 online, or $7 at the door.

Get your tickets HERE