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Inaugural ‘Red Talks’ Event Will Feature Some of Nation’s Top Storytellers

Storytellers who will be participating in 'Red Talks' Courtesy image

Speak Up Storytelling is teaming up with Confessions of a Menstruator, a nonprofit run by West Hartford’s Jessica Zachs and Jennifer Swartzman, who also run Dignity Grows, to present ‘Red Talks’ on Oct. 8.


Speak Up Storytelling and Confessions of a Menstruator are partnering to present “Red Talks” – a storytelling show featuring honest, heartfelt, and even hilarious stories about periods and everything they involve.

This event is the national kickoff for “Red Talks,” a celebration of life’s most natural cycle, and will be held Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Connecticut Historical Society. Tickets are available here.

“I can’t even count the number of times I called my sisters to complain, laugh or ask them, ‘Has this ever happened to you?’ about that time of the month,” says Jessica Zachs, Founder & CEO of a national menstrual equity movement.“Whether it’s actual family or the sisterhood of friends or mentors, talking about our periods is what gets us through them each month. Confessions of a Menstruator brings that idea of sisterhood online, a place for anyone … everyone … to share their stories and find comfort in not being alone.”

“REDTalks gives a voice to real, relatable stories that we’re often too embarrassed to tell,” adds Jennifer Schwartzman, an executive with a national organization focused on alleviating Period Poverty. “Sharing our stories reminds us that we’re not alone. Life’s natural cycles are what make us human.”

The cast of this show features some of the best storytellers in the United States, including:

Boston’s Bethany Van Delft, a regular host of The Moth and voted Boston’s best comic in 2019 and 2020. Bethany can be heard on iHeart Radio’s children’s news podcast, The Ten News, and co-hosting the digital series by NOVA/PBS “Parentalogic.”

New York’s Erin Barker, executive director and a founding board member of The Story Collider, an international storytelling organization that produces a popular podcast and live events every year featuring true, personal stories about science, with the goal of showing that science is a vibrant part of all our lives. As a storyteller, Erin is the first woman to win The Moth’s GrandSLAM storytelling competition twice.

Ellen Casper Last, beloved local storyteller and an experience design consultant at Slalom Hartford where she works to help local organizations design products and services around the humans for which they are intended.

Carolyn Paine, actress, dancer, and comedian who has appeared in various TV shows and national commercials as well as regional and Off-Broadway theatre productions. Locally in CT, Carolyn is most known for “The Nutcracker Suite & Spicy” which she created, and for being a regular on “The Nose” with Colin McEnroe on WNPR.

Matthew Dicks, West Hartford school teacher, columnist, and internationally bestselling author of several novels and nonfiction titles. Matthew is a record 58-time Moth StorySLAM and 9-time GrandSLAM champion who has performed for audiences around the globe and has had many stories featured on public radio.

The show will be hosted by West Hartford Public Schools teacher and Speak Up Executive Director and emcee Elysha Dicks.

The cost is $20 per person. Light refreshments will be provided. Seating is limited.

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