An event with a twist on the classic open-mic night has come to Commerce Township. Red Thread Stories, an event developed by Commerce Township resident Karen Czarnik, formatted as a traditional story slam encourages audience members to come up to the microphone and share a true-life event.
“It’s important and valuable that we tell our own stories…I feel what is making it such a draw and making it so interesting and compelling is because we are, and always have been, interested into peeking into someone else’s life,” Czarnik said.
Czarnik has been a professional storyteller for over 15 years. She spent the majority of her career working with children and family storytelling, but recently developed Red Thread Stories to allow adults the opportunity to share their stories.
“I wanted a place to hear and be able to share my adult stories,” Czarnik said. “I wanted to be able to provide other people the opportunity to do the same and so I created Red Thread Stories and it’s going great.”
At a Red Thread Stories event, audience members are encouraged to come up to the microphone and tell a true-life story, which is then judged upon by an audience and expert (A&E) judging panel. At the end of the night, the winning storyteller takes home a prize. But there are a few ground rules: stories must be five minutes or less and must fit into the evening’s theme. Comedy or soapbox routines are not allowed.
While no audience member is required to tell a story, Czarnik encourages all audience members to write down a story short that relates to the evening’s theme, which is then told behind the microphone by the MC.
In its first season Red Thread Stories has hosted five events, with the last regular season show on March 12 at Uptown Grille in Commerce. Red Thread Stories will also host a collective show in April, which will bring back past winners.
Czarnik invites people to attend a Red Thread story slam because it is a much more “human and authentic” event than anything else out there.
“Although my life is pretty experienced, I am always so intrigued by these people’s stories… we all share that hunger for knowing. People are compelled by one another’s stories,” Czarnik said. “Someone should come because it is a very human and authentic experience.”
So where did the name “Red Thread Stories” come from? After over a year of contemplating, Czarnik developed the name.
“What that means is that when you’re in an audience and somebody begins to tell a story and you begin to think of your own story and the red thread begins to weave its way from one person to the next. Our stories are all woven together by a red thread and one story reminds us of another and then were compelled to share,” Czarnik said.
The next Red Thread Stories event takes place at Uptown Grille, 3100 E. West Maple, Commerce Township, MI on Tuesday, March 12. Doors open at 5:00 p.m., stories begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets available online for $6 or $8 at the door.