EveryBODY Has a Story

28 3Arts supporters
$3,637 raised of $3,500 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on March 18, 2016
    • 104% contributed

EveryBODY Has a Story is a six-week workshop for adults with disabilities to learn to share and perform their personal stories. As a performer, playwright, and person with a disability myself, I know the transformative power of storytelling and the importance of sharing experiences that help us know ourselves and others better. With this workshop, I will lead participants through exercises in improvisation, object work, and movement with the goal of helping them turn their personal stories into solo performances. The beauty of this workshop is that it will provide a safe environment for people to share stories that might revolve around their disabilities and might have felt taboo in the past. My aim is to show the world that our stories are similar to others—our bodies just may be different. We have stories about love, loss, and family, for example, just as able-bodied people do. By bringing these stories to light, I hope to break down misconceptions and build lasting connections between both disabled and able-bodied people. 

About This Project

As a solo performer and Artistic Director of Tellin’ Tales Theatre, an organization dedicated to shattering the barriers between the disabled and able-bodied worlds through the power of storytelling, I have been telling my stories at various venues for over twenty years. Though Chicago has a rich story community, there is a lack of performers and stories that are representative of people with disabilities. I know that there are great stories out there from people who have not had the opportunity to tell them due to inaccessible spaces, financial and transportation constraints, or lack of a peer mentor.

Through past teaching experiences, I am equipped to help participants draw out their stories and figure out ways to perform them, whether the performers are blind, deaf, have a mental or developmental disability, or get around in a wheelchair or on crutches. In 2012, I taught a workshop through Bodies of Work, a network of artists and organizations whose art illuminates the disability experience. The result was a beautiful sharing of stories that sometimes touched on disability and sometimes did not. The group worked as a team to help each other refine their stories, and the workshop later culminated in a beautiful performance at Access Living and Frontier Theatre.  I learned a lot by teaching this workshop and I want to use these lessons to help guide participants to go deeper within themselves and to mine richer stories. This experience would help me strengthen my teaching skills and help me develop new ways to perform my own stories. I have always found that every time I teach, I learn so much from my students. I am re-inspired to keep the flame of creativity alive in myself.

With these new workshops, my goal is to hold sessions one evening a week for six weeks this spring. I am seeking up to 10 participants in order to keep the workshop intimate and to give each person a chance to work on their performance during every session. With contributions toward this campaign, I will raise the necessary funds to cover the costs of facilitating these workshops at no cost to the participants. This includes renting accessible theatre space, covering transportation costs, and hiring an assistant and one guest artist with expertise in teaching movement exercises. The stories that result from this workshop will also be part of Tellin’ Tales Theatre’s 2016 season.

Creating an equal playing field for all people to tell their stories has been my life’s work, and this project is an important step in my journey and a valuable opportunity to make the landscape of Chicago solo performance more inclusive and diverse. Thank you for your role in making these workshops a reality!

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25
    A personal thank-you note signed by the workshop participants, and a shout-out on my Facebook page ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    An autographed copy of the finished stories ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Two tickets to the subsequent Tellin’ Tales Theatre show and all of the above ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    A chance to sit in on one of the final evenings of the workshop and all of the above ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Invitation to a private post-show reception after the performance, an autographed DVD, and all of the above ($0.00 is tax deductible.)

Tekki Lomnicki

Tekki Lomnicki believes in the healing power of stories. She is a solo performer, playwright, director, and educator. Tekki has devoted her craft to finding ways to break down the barriers between those with disabilities and those without. In 1995, …

View Tekki Lomnicki's profile
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    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • judy bergh

    • Molly Wiesman

    • Vicki Byard

    • John Schuchert

    • Sarah Burnside

    • Gigi Peters

    • Nancy Andria

    • Barbara Lemieux

    • martha Boyle

    • Dolores Lomnicki

    • Megan McNichols Mahon

    • ed egan

    • Janet Treuhaft

    • Carl Ulaszek

    • Carol Jungman

    • Nancy Woodruff

    • Debra Kerr

    • Carolyn Lawrence

    • Daniel and Neil Cody and Mikota

    • Mary jo Bowerst

    • Denis Girard

    • Elizabeth Eccher

    • Eileen Loechel

    • Mina Nakano

    • Suzanne/Jackson Metzel/Gehringer

    • Suzanne/Jackson Metzel/Gehringer

    • Linda Rotman

    • Marcia Buell

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3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council