Long Story Short; Storytelling Live
Long Story Short was founded in 2013 by Megan Pascoe and myself, Lindy Mitchell-Nilsson. We shared a belief in the power of story to connect people and build community. At first, the event was known as Cafe La Story and our inaugural cafe was held on a wet and wild Sunday afternoon at the Arts Barn, Kariong. Buoyed by the great success of the afternoon, Megan and I decided to hold the storytelling event every two months. The next couple of cafes were held at a community arts space at the The Entrance.
In 2014, Cafe La Story moved to The Circle of Life, East Gosford. It proved a very popular venue and we enjoyed bumper crowds and one night we even had to send our guest storyteller Father Rod Bower back to his church to bring more seating. We witnessed some wonderful storytelling and were thrilled by the warm community vibe it generated. At the end of 2014, Cafe La Story held a competition to find a new name, as we weren't operating as a cafe, though we did regularly enjoy a feast of stories. One of our storytellers, Caroline Cummings came up with the perfect name, "Long Story Short". Perfect because, keeping a long story short can be a challenge as we only give our storytellers 10 minutes.
East Gosford only had one draw back, it wasn't disability friendly so in 2015, Long Story Short moved to Kincumber Community Centre. Dr Julie Mundy Taylor, Australia's own doctor of storytelling came on board as co-host with Megan, as I traveled to Europe with my husband Ulf for a year. I returned in 2016, and Long Story Short was on the move again, this time to The Millery Cafe at the Ourimbah University Campus. Our team expanded with my Swedish storytelling husband Ulf Nilsson joining us. Caine and Brie from The Millery certainly added to the wonderful warm community vibe, and a glass of wine with the stories well down well.
Finally in 2017, we made the decision to go monthly and Long Story Short found the perfect home at The Lounge Room with MMAD in Gosford. It's a great central location with an intimate vibe. The Lounge Room is a Social Enterprise run by the charity Musicians Making a Difference. We love the ethos of MMAD, and are thrilled to be entering this partnership with them. Half the door takings go directly to MMAD and all the money from the cafe goes to fund their fabulous youth work.
We estimate (storytellers not mathematicians) that we have heard 192 stories over 4 years from 120 different storytellers. We have enjoyed inspirational personal stories from all corners of our community. We have heard tales of heart break & stories of hope, stories of loss & stories of great love. We have laughed and cried with our storytellers. There have been historical tales, hysterical tales and fairy and spooky tales. There has been music and theatrics and even spontaneous group storytelling. Our audience members might arrive as strangers but by the end of the night after sharing in the richness of stories, they leave as friends. And, I know Megan, Julie & Ulf agree, that Long Story Short has attracted a wonderfully warm, supportive audience. It doesn't matter if the storyteller is a first timer with a bad case of nerves or a seasoned performer, they encourage and welcome them all.
Our new partnership with MMAD will see LONG STORY SHORT evolve even more, as we open up our space to "open mic", poetry, and other forms of storytelling.
“Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.”
– Robert McKee, creative writing instructor