The Barrymore Theatre will host a storytelling event by The Moth, the annual Madison GrandSLAM Championship titled “Making Waves” on Saturday, Sept. 30. Ten StorySLAM champs will be gathering on Madison’s East Side to tell stories on consequences, the ripple effect of actions, and trying to stay afloat. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and stories begin at 7:30 p.m.
One of the storytellers, Nestor Gomez, will be traveling from Milwaukee to share a story and has a decorated history with The Moth. He has won The Moth Slam 74 times, the Chicago Moth Grand Slam three times, the Milwaukee Grand Slam in 2022, and the National Storytelling Association Grand Slam in 2022, as well.
Born and raised in Guatemala before moving to Chicago undocumented in the 80s, Gomez has found solace in writing since a young age.
“When I was a kid, I used to stutter and I found refuge in writing. For years, I wrote poems that I seldom shared with a few friends and family members. After moving to the United States, I went to a poetry slam to share some of my poems, but the poetry slam was in English and all my poems were in Spanish. I didn’t participate,” Gomez told Madison365 of his history with storytelling.
“At the slam, I saw a flyer for The Moth storytelling event,” Gomez continues. “My wife bought us tickets to that event and I heard people telling stories on stage for the first time ever. A few weeks later, I shared my first story at a Moth slam and I haven’t stopped sharing since then.”
The Moth is a well-known national organization that looks to a platform for everyday people to share their stories and voices in a way that celebrates diverse experiences and lives. Additional storytellers at Saturday’s “Making Waves” event will include Takeyla Benton, Veronica Corcoran, Mark Español, Ryan Mulrooney, Gerry Nasi, Charles Payne, Morgan Pfaff, Gregg Potter, and Wilson Seeley.
Gomez expressed excitement at the opportunity to hear all the stories at the event as well as share his own.
“Not only do I get to share my story with a large group of people, but I also get to hear the stories of nine amazing individuals as we share our stories with the crowd,” said Gomez. “I look forward to the feeling of community, and of belonging, especially now that our country is so divided.”
There will also be music by East High School students Naiya Dupaty and Trayvon Leal. The event will surely provide moving testimony as the promising lineup of storytellers will be supported by an audience looking to partake in the interconnecting experience of sharing.
A sentiment Gomez echoes saying, “Stories create bridges among communities throughout mutually shared human experiences.”
Purchase tickets and learn more about the event at the Barrymore Theatre website here.