Themes…Storytelling Programs & Story Slams



It’s pretty common for storytelling programs to have themes.

Themes for conferences, library summer reading programs, festival, confabs, house concerts – or even just a particular one-storyteller show.

A theme can be –

  • fairly specific and help with focus, and pulling elements of an event together, or
  • can be pretty broad and umbrella-like, and open to various and creative interpretations.

And can even be a combination of the two!

2015 confFor example, the theme for the imminent Rocky Mountain Storytelling Conference is “Wickedly Funny & Soul Deep: The Story Road” (NEXT WEEK: May 1&2).

That’s open to a lot of interpretation and application, yet at the same time indicates that the thrust of the event may be on emotional and imagery aspects of storytelling more than on skills and nuts-n-bolts.

In story slams, themes are crucial

And in fact, connection to the slam’s stated theme is one of the main criteria that judges are supposed to follow in awarding scores to stories told.

Story slam themes are open to wide and creative interpretation, and it’s one of the things I enjoy most: Different people’s takes on the slam’s theme!

For example: “Dirt” was the theme for the April 19 Boulder Story Slam.

The evening included stories of…
Feeling “stuck in the mud” at your stage in life / falling in love with a Jewish soil scientist / being chased by a girl in elementary school and skidding in the gravel, causing a trip to the ER / a unique situation while attending Burning Man during Nevada dust storms / the playground of one’s childhood becoming the site of the death and memorial remembrance of a childhood friend…

For your brief viewing and imagining pleasure, here’s a list of some of the story slam themes that I’ve come across, either in my own personal experience or online:

  • Fools
  • Mischief
  • Delusions
  • Blunders
  • Adventure
  • Hair
  • Teacher, Teacher
  • Dirt
  • Confusion
  • Distance
  • Crafty
  • Save
  • Scars
  • Lost & Found
  • Borderline
  • Second Chance

Do any of these slam themes prompt a story idea for you?

Let the creativity and true-story-telling begin!

Thanks for reading – Pam

[Theme for this A-Z April Daily Blogging Challenge: “Story Slams & Traditional Storytelling – Bridging the Distance”]


[Image of cheerful beer-holding let’s-imagine-he’s-at-a-story-slam guy courtesy of stockimages at]