STORYTIME AT THE CELL - A NIGHT FOR BLACK STORIES to be Presented by What Will the Neighbors Say? in June

Each night has a unique host and musical guest who curate the theme and bring in new communities at each gathering.

By: May. 25, 2023
STORYTIME AT THE CELL - A NIGHT FOR BLACK STORIES to be Presented by What Will the Neighbors Say? in June
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What Will the Neighbors Say? will present storytime at the cell - a night for Black stories, a special Juneteenth event honoring Black voices and centering Black stories, at Nancy Manocherian's the cell theatre (338 West 23rd Street New York, NY 10011) on Monday, June 19. The evening will be hosted by Ayla Sullivan (New Visions Fellowship) with musical guest Amyra Leon (Nuyorican Slam Team). Doors will open at 7pm, with music and stories from 7:30-9pm. Tickets can be reserved:

storytime is meant to bring us all together through the communal art forms of storytelling and live music. Each night has a unique host and musical guest who curate the theme and bring in new communities at each gathering. In between sets, audience members are encouraged to get up on stage and tell a story relating to that evening’s theme, creating an authentic and powerful collective experience. This FREE night of music and storytelling features free drinks and tasty bites. 

The Neighbors will also host a FREE virtual writing workshop on how to adapt real stories into personal writings, taught by Janelle Lawrence (Group Therapy at Joe’s Pub), on Sunday, June 18 from 3pm-4pm. Visit to reserve your spot. 

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

ayla xuân chi sullivan

(Host) (they/them) is a Black and Vietnamese non-binary, performance artist from the lands of the Cheyenne, Arapahoe, and Nuche colonially known as Denver, CO. Based in Harlem, Sullivan is the inaugural New Visions Fellow of National Queer Theatre & the Dramatists Guild, and a Ma Yi Writers Lab member. Their work has been at the MCC Theatre, the LGBT Center, TOSOS, throughout the Denver Metro Area, and briefly in Dakar, Senegal. They have been published in American Theatre, The Dramatist, and Playbill. 
Stage Credits: Roger Q. Mason’s Hide and Hide, OVERHEARD, Jubilee for a New Vision at Carnegie Hall. Screen Credits: Girls5Eva, me and my gun, You, Me, and the FAFSA. BFA: University of Colorado Boulder MFA: Columbia University )

Amyra Leon

(Musical Guest) is a dynamic and captivating artist known for her exceptional talents as a musician, poet, and visual storyteller. She has carved a unique path in the music and literary worlds, captivating audiences with her soul-stirring performances and thought-provoking lyrics. With a deep commitment to social justice, Amyra's work explores themes of identity, race, and gender, inviting listeners to critically engage with the world around them. She studied Experimental Theatre at NYU and is an alumni of the renowned Nuyorican Slam Team. Author of critically acclaimed books Concrete Kids (Penguin) and Freedom We Sing (Nobrow), Amyra is currently working on her highly anticipated adult poetry collection. SAGE, the first single from her forthcoming album, is available on all listening platforms now! Immerse yourself in Amyra’s work here: 

Janelle / Jei Lawrence

(Teaching Artist) (they/them) is an interdisciplinary artist that investigates the depth of strength with stories that explore the complex layers of perspective. They have had their musicals presented at various Theaters such as The Kennedy Center (Beast girl), Legoland New York, Joe’s Pub (Group Therapy), Seattle Public Theater (The Suffrage Play), and National Black Theatre (Trenzas & WET). They have been residents of the 92nd St Y Musical Theatre Development Lab: Collective, Greenhouse Residency SPACE on Ryder Farm and Barn Arts Hamilton Project Resident. Alongside Sugar Vendil, they conceived and performed an interactive performance at BRIC and JACK (BĀS). They are a Juilliard School Evening Division alumni, and a 2020 & 2022 Recipient of NBT's Soul Series Lab - Playwriting Micro-Development Session. They are an Adjunct Professor of Musical Theatre History at Point Park University, and the Chair of the Performing Arts Department at Harvest Collegiate High School. 

What Will the Neighbors Say?

is an investigative theatre company that provokes questions through untold stories. Led by a collaborative cohort of International Artists, the Neighbors present overlooked social, cultural and historical narratives that challenge the audience to reflect on the current moment. Through a combination of original plays, arts education workshops and dynamic community gatherings, the troupe incites rowdy and rigorous debate at the theatre and throughout the Neighborhood.