Stories connect us to one another, open our hearts to new perspectives and help to spur social change. WORLD Channel’s original series, Stories from the Stage, offers you the opportunity to get to know people you may otherwise never meet and find a sense of belonging in a divisive world. Our multicultural community comes into greater focus with this compelling podcast.
With Stories from the Stage: The Podcast, you will laugh, cry and celebrate our differences thanks to emerging and veteran storytellers sharing their real, passionate and always impactful stories with the world. This summer, enjoy a new batch of episodes during your mid-summer road trip, sunny beach afternoons or late-night campfires.
The Stories from the Stage experience is evocative, emotional and personal. So when co-executive producers and co-hosts Liz Cheng and Patricia Alvarado Núñez saw the chance to share these stories with new audiences, they gladly took it.
“Our storytellers needed to reach new audiences, and we thought what better way than through a podcast?” Cheng said. “We have hundreds of stories that illustrate all aspects of humanity. While they might highlight our differences and even underscore deep conflict, they also focus on what we do have in common with extraordinary tales of everyday life. People hungry for memorable stories beyond their neighborhoods and backyards need look no further.”
Cheng and Alvarado Núñez also share behind-the-scenes details that their 26-minute TV production with GBH Events doesn’t allow – extra time with storytellers, for example.
“With the podcast, we have the opportunity to hear more about the tellers, the motivations behind their stories and even what happened after the story is told on stage. Digging deeper enriches the storytelling experience,” said Alvarado Núñez.
Being able to follow a storyteller on their journey to and from the stage is just another example of what Stories from the Stage: The Podcast brings to listeners. Whether a teller has been performing for years or is appearing on stage for their very first event, Cheng, Alvarado Núñez and the show’s partner, Tell & Act, work closely with them to assure the best possible path to performance.
“Some storytellers have been around for a while with new stories to share, while others are first-timers who work hard to get comfortable telling their deeply personal stories to complete strangers. They all put a lot of time and heart into the story – in creating, editing and then performing it on stage,” said Alvarado Núñez. “I think the beauty of the series is that in the end, the stage is the great equalizer, the arena where newcomers and those with experience can each thrive and touch people’s hearts.”
It is a rewarding experience not only for the audience, but also for the tellers: “There are many reasons why storytellers do what they do. They say storytelling can be very cathartic, a way to find some closure to a tough or uplifting moment in their lives. Others say it’s an incredible adrenaline rush – that you can’t possibly understand the energy and excitement unless you're actually up on stage doing it. Still others mention that it’s a moment of connection with strangers, a way to get people to think differently, and perhaps even impact others to make social change,” Cheng said.
The people behind the stories, after all, are what makes Stories from the Stage resonate in the way it does.
“Since day one, we have been very intentional about finding multicultural storytellers...because we want to hear from people who might be far outside our collective circle of friends. That is what makes this series fantastic: You get to hear people you might otherwise never meet in your everyday life,” said Alvarado Núñez.
“As it continues to build, Stories from the Stage runs the gamut of human experience. So, when we say multicultural, we mean all people of color and religions, as well as white, LGBTQ+, certainly people with differering genders, abilites, socio-economic levels, access to opportunities or whether rural, city, young, old – you name it. We try to focus on the differences that make a difference,” Cheng agreed.
When COVID-19 shut down traditional production methods the world over, Cheng and Alvarado Núñez were quick to pivot: Many episodes of Stories from the Stage were taped virtually from the home of storytellers, including the juried Webby Award-winning episode "Growing Up Black." With the economy reopening and public health stabilizing, they’re hoping summer 2021 is the perfect time to bring people together through the power of storytelling.
“We talked about how summer is a great time for a podcast. People are relaxing near some body of water, on a vacation or a staycation, and finally getting out thanks to lifting pandemic precautions – what better time to introduce our tremendous tellers who are courageous enough to share stories of tragic loss, amazing triumphs, great and awful relationships or uproarious family reunions?” Cheng said. “This is an opportunity for all of us to break out of our COVID shells and commune together in that experience that is summer.”
From chuckle-worthy tales of road trips gone wrong and terrible-yet-hilarious summer jobs to heartbreaking yet rewarding stories of love and loss, “There are stories for everyone, for example, a poignant one about an inner-city Black counselor at an elite camp making a difference for a lonely Turkish girl, and another about an Olympic-level contender who survives a near-fatal accident to live a differently rewarding life,” Cheng previewed. The co-hosts are excited to present new episodes full of life and hope to audiences in a refreshing way.
“I think that people will have a good time listening to a mix of funny and profound stories,” said Alvarado Núñez.
In the end, Stories from the Stage in all its forms is about bridging the gaps that exist in every community and bringing people together in an unexpectedly personal way.
“Think of Stories from the Stage as a direct pathway between listeners and storytellers that hopefully teaches about the world and leads the way to understand and empathize with people whom we might once have feared,” Cheng said. “These stories will make you laugh, they’ll make you cry, they’ll make you want more, but most of all they’ll make you think.”
New to Stories from the Stage: The Podcast? Listen to the first season here.