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West Hartford Storytellers Will Star in ‘Speak Up’ at Kingswood Oxford

Kingswood Oxford students Ben Cody '17 and Julia Lantner ’22, both of West Hartford, will tell their stories on March 5. Submitted photo

The ‘Speak Up’ storytelling event at Kingswood Oxford in West Hartford will feature several students and a teacher, as well as some professional storytellers.

Kingswood Oxford students Ben Cody '17 and Julia Lantner ’22, both of West Hartford, will tell their stories on March 5. Submitted photo

Kingswood Oxford students Ben Cody ’17 and Julia Lantner ’22, both of West Hartford, will tell their stories on March 5. Submitted photo

Submitted

Speak Up, a locally based storytelling organization, will return to the Roberts Theater at Kingswood-Oxford for its second collaboration with the West Hartford school on Saturday, March 5, at 7 p.m.

Speak Up, which produces monthly shows at a variety of local venues, features a mix of professional and first-time storytellers telling true stories from their lives centered on a common theme. The stories­ range from heartfelt to humorous, suspenseful to surprising.

KO Middle School teacher Jim Weeks will participate in Speak Up. Submitted photo

KO Middle School teacher Jim Weeks will participate in Speak Up. Submitted photo

Speak Up shows often deal with adult themes that may not be suitable for a younger crowd, but this show at Kingswood-Oxford is designed to entertain a mixed age group, specifically middle school and up. The theme of the night is “Driven” and the show will featured two Kingswood-Oxford students – Julia Lantner ’22 and Ben Coady ’17, both of West Hartford – as well as KO Middle School teacher Jim Weeks of Newington. It is the second year in a row that Coady was selected to appear.

The show is hosted by Elysha Dicks, teacher, West Hartford native, and executive director of Speak Up, who is excited about having the unique event return to KO. “Our show at KO is a special one, because it will include stories that the adult audience will love but are also perfectly fine for the ears of middle school and high school students,” said Dicks. “We do it just once a year. It’s the perfect opportunity for young people to learn about the power of storytelling.”

Elysha Dicks will host the Speak Up event at KO. Submitted photo

Elysha Dicks will host the Speak Up event at KO. Submitted photo

In addition to the three KO storytellers, the audience on March 5 will hear stories from:

    • Leland Brandt of West Hartford, owner of The Research Department, a small business consulting firm
    • Coby Kozlowski, life coach trainer and yoga teacher trainer from Stockbridge, MA
    • Robin Gelfenbien, NYC-based comedian, storyteller and writer, creator and host of Yum’s the Word, one of NYC’s most popular storytelling shows, and a native of Wethersfield
    • Adam Linn, NYC-based actor, director, storyteller, and author
    • Matthew Dicks, author, award-winning West Hartford teacher, 23-time Moth storytelling champion, and creative director of Speak Up.
Matthew Dicks will be one of the professional storytellers participating the KO event. Submitted photo

Matthew Dicks will be one of the professional storytellers participating the KO event. Submitted photo

Since its founding in 2013, Speak Up has produced sold-out storytelling shows at Infinity Hall, Real Art Ways, The Connecticut Historical Society, The Noah Webster House, and The Mount in the Berkshires. Speak Up also runs regular storytelling workshops throughout the region.

Last year’s Speak Up event at KO attracted several hundred people, and organizers expect a similar crowd this year.

To purchase tickets, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/speak-up-true-stories-real-people-tickets-20950796396. Student tickets have been reduced to $5.

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