Storytelling - part acting, part writing and part solo performance piece - is possibly the world's oldest art form. The original medium for classics like Beowulf and Homer's Odyssey, storytelling as performance will be celebrated in 21st Century style in the side project's second Festival of Storytelling, Each night, three to four different artists will take the stage to perform 5- to 12-minute pieces, prior to a full-length story offered by one of the festival's three headliners. Multi-instrumentalist Matt Wills will provide musical accompaniment. The Festival, kicking off October 20 at The Side Project, will run Sunday through Wednesday evenings at 7:30pm through November 6.

The 2013 festival's headliners are Eric Warner, who will will lead off the festival in programs October 20-23; Amy Sumpter, headlining October 27-30; and Kim Morris, who will close out the festival as headliner for its final week November 2 -6. . 16 of last year's tellers will return to take the stage along with 24 performers new to the event.

This year's theme is The Kindness of Strangers. Through the intimate act of storytelling, these 40 artists will share heartwarming, heartbreaking, and powerful personal stories about how strangers have affected their lives.

The Festivals of Storytelling are one of the ways in which the side project is exploring alternative methods of dramatic art beyond traditional stage-bound theatre, according to Artistic Director Adam Webster. In August, the company commissioned a series of seven site-specific, seven-minute plays set and performed around the four corners of its Rogers Park sub-neighborhood called Jarvis Square. It was their second such site-specific series as well. The storytelling fest will also provide an opportunity for artists new to this form to perform before a live audience.

"We have always been about celebrating new voices, new talent for the stage, from playwrights to actors to directors," Webster said. "And we have also always been enamored of the short form. And thirdly, we love highlighting the immediacy of our space to connect the audience with the performer. So, our Festivals of Storytelling allow us to do all three of our goals, as well as promote the neighborhood, since a fair share of the tellers spotlight Rogers Park in their stories."

Eric Warner
(Performing October 20-23)

Eric Warner has told stories with This Much is True, 2nd Story, Broken Nose Theatre andYou're Being Ridiculous. His monologues have been in Lifeline Theatre's Fillet of Solo Festivaland the St. Louis Fringe Festival, where a reviewer said he sounds like "Ira Glass on fast forward." Check out for more.

About Eric's Piece: 'Your father was a monster.' Those words have stayed with Warner his entire life, as has his own question, 'Is that all he was?' Plateau Point is a story about a father and son who barely knew each other, and it is about choices. Which are more powerful, which shape us more, the stories that we create for ourselves, or those that we know to be true?

Amy Sumpter
(Performing October 27-30)

Amy Sumpter is a comedic actress who has done stand up for the past six years. She is a regular performer with The Kates and Beast Women. She is also in an all female Beastie Boy Tribute band, She's Crafty. You can find her at

About Amy's Piece:
Amy Sumpter has a dream and that dream is being sabotaged by jobs, debt and maybe Amy Sumpter? Sumpter explores how you follow your dream, even when you feel like the world is falling apart.

Kim Morris
(Performing November 3-6)

Kim Morris is a writer, actor, and editor. She has performed her stories at venues throughout Chicago, has been published in various publications, and has had the honor of having her work produced by theatre companies around Chicago. Please check for more information.

About Kim's Piece: A series of small, seemingly innocuous moments between strangers that inevitably have a profound cumulative effect.

STORYTELLERS: In addition to Morris, Warner and Sumpter, the storytellers will include Taylor Bailey, Julia Borcherts, David Boyle, Jane deLaubenfels, Ellen DeSitter, Supie Dunbar, Susan Gidel, Kevin Gladish, Barbara Gregor, Don Hall, Harold Harris, Kate Healy, Jill Howe, Rachael Hudak, Darwyn Jones, Ben Kemper, Rob Koon, Colleen Marchlewski, Tom Martinez, Jonathan Mayo, Amy Merric, Clover Morrell, Paloma Nozicka, Kasey O'Brien, Jeremy Owens, Coya Paz, Francecsa Peppiatt, Antoinette Perfecto, Sheri Reda, Andrew Reilly, Michael Rychlewski, Jeremy Schaefer, Kendra Stevens, Jennifer Thom, Adam Webster, Gayle Ann Weinstein, Lali Zayas Del Rio.

DIRECTORS: Rebecca Butler, Alison Connelly, Jess Kadish, Rose Kruger, Toma Langston, Michael Manocchio, Dorothy Milne, John Ragir, Cassy Sanders

The Kindness of Strangers: A Festival of Storytelling
the side project
1439 W. Jarvis Ave.

Tickets: $15 (Rogers Park rush $10 for all unsold tickets at the door with ID showing residence in ZIP Codes 60626 or 60645)
October 20 - November 6, 2013
Sundays through Wednesdays at 7:30 pm
To order visit
Phone 773-340-0140

ABOUT THE SIDE PROJECT'S 2013-14 SEASON: the side project will continue its mission of creating world premiere collaborations and presenting new voices throughout 2013-14 with an 8-show season. The Kindness of Strangers will be followed by a double-bill of two plays by F. X. Kroetz: Through the Leaves, directed by Andy Hager, running January 3 - February 2, 2014; and Request Concert, directed by Mary Ellen O'Hara and running January 22 - February 2, 2014. Sandalwood, a world premiere by Dan Caffrey to be directed by Aaron Hendrickson, will run March 27 - April 20, 2014. This new "psycho-western" will be a co-production with Tympanic Theatre Company.

Another double-bill will open in June. The world premiere of What to Listen For by Kathleen Tolan will be directed by Adam Goldstein and run from June 1 - July 6, 2014. It will be paired with Hello Failure, a Midwest premiere by Kristin Kosmas to be directed by Adam Webster that will run June 15 - July 6, 2014. The season will conclude with the Midwest premiere of Daniel Talbott's Mike and Seth, which will be directed by Webster and run in rep with the Chicago premiere of Christine Whitley's pool shark play Miles Away, directed by Scott Weinstein.

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