There are only three rules:
- It must be true
- It must be your own story
- It must be under five minutes long
Check upcoming events for topic inspiration or to see if your story fits. If there’s a story you want to tell that doesn’t fit a theme, that’s fine.
Many people come along to Spark, watch a couple of stories to see how it’s done, then dive straight in and tell their story. That’s great! It’s also okay to ask for help and advice – do contact us and we’d be happy to help you tell your story.
Frequently asked questions
What is the format?
Each night is themed. Our host will introduce the theme, then come around to say hello and see if you have a story to tell. We’ll fit as many stories in as we can (with some coffee breaks mixed in) so try especially to follow rule #3. After the show, there’s time to chat with the storytellers and other members of the audience.
I’ve got a story, what next?
Just show up! When you arrive, speak to the host and they’ll put your name down for a slot.
What makes a good story?
A great story involves a transition of some kind. By the end of the story the main character – that’s you – has revealed something that was unknown at the start.
Think about what triggers a transition. It’s were the drama comes in, the unexpected event that puts you to the test, turns the heat up or demands that you step up. It could be the day you got stuck in an elevator, lost your passport, discovered your partner was having an affair, or even the day you forgot to close the fridge door.
Three tips for telling a great story
1) Start your story in the action. Find an opening line that grabs the audience and makes them sit up and listen to you
“I started the year with everything you could expect from a successful middle class life.”
“At six months old a pigeon pooed in my eye.”
“I ran away from home at the age of 12 and never ever went to live with my parents again.”
2) Know your closing line. Keep it crisp and punchy so your story goes out on a high
“I should have eaten that bloody birthday cake myself.”
“And as I drove off into the midnight sunset, my bad-ass self started to wonder whether my gibbering shaky self knew what it was doing all along!”
3) Stick to what actually happened and tell the truth. Tell your story as if you are reporting events that could have been seen through a camera at the time
Like this: “His eyes looked straight at me and his face went from pink to red to crimson.”
Instead of like this: “I could tell he was really angry.”
What will I get out of telling my story?
We asked some of our storytellers to tell us what they’ve got out of sharing their stories:
“I realised you don’t have to be trained in performance to be riveting when standing alone on a stage. All you need is a story.”
“The theme of the night inspired me to find my stories. That is one of the big gifts Spark has given me.”
“Telling my story at Spark was a revelation. Direct communication with the audience, continuing afterwards in the bar and on email; the way people relate their own experiences directly to yours (“I went there!”; “I had a boyfriend who did that”), a tangible sense of getting your voice back, in more ways than one.”
How do I beat the nerves?
It’s natural to be nervous, but don’t let it stop you.
Stories are about overcoming challenges. This is just another one you can overcome.
What if I don’t have any good stories?
You almost certainly do.
Some stories will be defined by time and place, for example the romantic gesture that went wrong ten years ago when you lived in Brazil. Others could span decades. Here are some questions to get you thinking about what your stories are:
- Blood is thicker than water. Is this true in your experience?
- What is your most embarrassing memory of adolescence?
- What is the biggest barrier you’ve come up against in work, life or relationships?
- Who, other than your parents, has had a significant influence on your life?
- Every decision starts with a crossroads. What crossroads have you faced?