the living art of storytelling in Massachusetts

What is a mouthoff?

The organization, massmouth,inc. was created to build an audience for story in live performance.  “It is a fact and a shame that many performers are shying away from the term “storyteller” because the public thinks that storytelling, our timeless and unique art form, is for children only. We mean to change that perception “ said Dooley. She and Andrea Lovett, Doria Hughes, and Stu Mendleson, with a few other performers of live story, started massmouth,inc. just a little over a three years ago. “Like most artist/activists we are long on vision and short on cash, “ said Dooley. “But we had some social media and video skills and many good friends and that offset the "starving artist syndrome."  In their  first year, Toscanini’s Ice Cream in Central Square generously offered a base of operations for massmouth,inc. "And their mailing address too, so we called Toscanini's our Cambridge office,"  said founding member, Andrea Lovett.

In the beginning, massmouth,inc. hosted a year of popular monthly "mouthoffs" that were video taped and posted online. These mouthoffs were spoken word events where stories, for adults, and on a theme, were offered in an open mic format by a round robin of professional tellers as well as "new to art of story" tellers.  They were held on street corners, orchards, parks and other nontraditional venues. In 2009, massmouth storytellers appeared in the Orchards at Shelburne Farm, Stow MA for three consecutive weekends and we were paid in donuts, apples and cider.

This year massmouth,inc. takes to the streets again. It is all part of our mission " to promote the art of storytelling in the 21st century."“Look for us, everywhere, “ said Andrea Lovett alluding to massmouth,inc. plans to tell in unconventional venues; on buses, subways and greenways. “And listen for story everywhere, “ said Norah Dooley, “ Because storytelling is in every part of our lives”.

Mouthoffs in 2011 - water, fire, air, and Shakespeare inspired stories
WED JUNE 29th, mouthoff  #1 water - outdoor, open mic 5 minute stories
 Host: Robin Maxfield
5 minute stories about water - real imagined, folk tales - whatever! swimming? Messing about in boats? Plumbing disasters? Mermaids?  Pirates? Bring it! JUNE 29th, 5- 7PM, coinciding with Boston Harborfest Location:  Faneiul Hall 30th annual festival leading up to July 4th that celebrates Boston's rich colonial and maritime history. There are many free concerts and other activities that take place during the week, from Children's Day at City Hall Plaza to an Extreme Sailing race in the harbor.

SUN JULY 17th  mouthoff  #2 fire- outdoor, open mic 5 minute stories
Host: Alan White
5 minute stories about fire - real or imagined: Fire in your belly? on your stove? in your heart? Fireworks? campfires? forest fires? 
SUN JULY 17th, 7PM - 9PM  Sand Sculpting Festival at Columbus Park North End  hop on the Blue Line and you are there! (about 2 miles north of Boston)  Blue Line/Wonderland - the beach is just 2-3 blocks away More information:  978-749-6700

SUN AUGUST 7th mouthoff  #3  "all is well as ends well" -outdoor, open mic 5 minute stories
Host: Karen Given
SUN AUGUST 7th 5 minute stories showing  "all is well as ends well" Shakespeare inspired stories from your life or your imagined life? 
Near where Commonwealth Shakespeare offers free plays on the Boston Common ' How ever you want to put the Bard's words in your 5 minute story about your lived experience.    AUGUST 7th,  5PM - 7PM   Boston Common - near Parkman Bandstand Commonwealth Shakespeare is performing All's Well As Ends Well  July 27th - August 14th | FREE ADMISSION  Park Street or Boylston Street T stations

SAT AUGUST 27th mouthoff  #4 - air outdoor, open mic 5 minute stories
Host: Laura Cannon
SAT AUGUST 27th 5 minute stories about air - real imagined, folk tales - whatever!Stories from Italy - hot air? Wild  storms? A story about breath? Baloney? Blarney? Pazzi personi ? 
Near the gates of the North End - Christopher Columbus Park during St. Anthony's Feast - The largest Italian religious festival in New England, August 26-29, 2011, Endicott Street... time TBA  Government Center or Aquarium T stops
We are working on more ideas and venues so check back early and often!

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Grand Prize for South Shore Grand Slam Story Slam generously donated by Nicolette Heavey and Stories In The Streets (A Maine Get Away)

Stories in the Streets in an outreach literacy program that focuses on families in at-risk areas and fosters community engagement in storytelling by: 1) Creating opportunities for public storytelling wherever families gather — a farmer’s market, laundromat, or food line; and, 2) Offering storytelling workshops that raise family engagement in literacy, cultural awareness and community understanding.  The program is currently active in Lawrence, Brockton and Randolph.


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