Guest blog provided by The Yarn
The Yarn is a new initiative leveraging the power of story to break down barriers, gain greater understanding of our neighbors and change hearts and minds.
Productions are theme-based, centering on social issues that affect us all. The Yarn storytellers have a distinct perspective to share in an effort to shine a light on and bring humanity to these issues. The Yarn offers a platform to amplify the voices of those who strive to evoke empathy, connection and greater understanding from our audiences.
The Yarn was founded in 2017 by Hilary Trudell, formally trained in theater arts and public service. Hilary believes that “everyone has a story to tell and bringing diverse voices and perspectives together in one place is foundational for creating a space for understanding, building community and ultimately spurring positive social change.” The Yarn launched officially on September 30, 2017, with a celebration and inaugural storytelling performance by the owner of Loblolly Creamery, Sally Mengel. Since then, the Yarn has only gained momentum, putting on at least one show per month.
On October 11, 2017, the Yarn partnered with the Human Rights Campaign Arkansas to produce and direct “Outloud Storytelling,” an event that explored the experiences of LGBTQ persons living in the South. That show was followed by “Headstrong: Stories of Mental and Emotional Health” on November 10, 2017. Headstrong was produced in collaboration with the Clinton School of Public Service. The Yarn team advertised for the show at the MIND coalition’s first ever, MINDfest, a community event to raise awareness about mental health.
For the first of two storytelling events in January, The Yarn has partnered with the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. The Call: True Stories of Adoption, a production by the Yarn, explores complex emotions and realities of adoption from different perspectives of the people closest to it – adopted children, parents and siblings. The event seeks to uncover local experiences and enhance the powerful message of Tanya Barfield’s play by the same name, The Call, which premieres in late January at the Rep. The Rep’s Education Department has been instrumental in organizing and providing space for The Yarn’s storytelling event.
Moving forward, there is an ambitious agenda of storytelling events in the works for 2018, all of which have are being planned in collaboration with other organizations. Many of the ideas for these shows have cropped up from organizations and community members themselves. Rather than performing a service for Central Arkansas, The Yarn strives to be part of the fabric of the community, uncovering real experiences by real people.