What is 2nd Story?

“The best stories I’ve ever heard come from hanging out with friends over a good bottle of wine. That’s when people really start talking, really get to the meat of their experiences—the wild beauty of it all, the destruction and the hope. That’s the feeling we’re going for: the crowd at 2nd Story has the intimacy of my own living room and the crazy, wine-warm secrets that have been told there.”

—Megan Stielstra, 2nd Story Literary Director

Who We Are.

2nd Story is a collective of story-makers and story-lovers working together to build community through the power of storytelling.  We host events (around Chicago and beyond) that fuse page, stage, and sound to deliver a unique, live, literary/theatrical experience.

What We Do.

We host story-sharing experiences in the form of both performances and workshops/classes. A typical show consists of four (or three or five) stories dispersed throughout the evening like courses in a meal. The stories range from the serious to the silly and can at once provoke and entertain. Each story is combined with expertly-performed musical accompaniment or well-placed audio accents to enhance the spoken story and the pregnant pause.

Our venues are as varied as our stories, and run the gamut from intimate wine bars to spacious performance halls.  Ditto for our storytellers, who come from all walks of life.  A pastor, a bartender, a child psychiatrist, and a lawyer…their individual stories help to bridge the gap between the personal and the universal to break down the walls between artist and audience.

We also run classes and workshops, in order to empower individuals to be the storytellers of their own lives. Our training program is based in our core beliefs of the power of ensemble and sharing stories, and is geared both towards artists/writers/performers seeking to hone their technique and individuals with no experience at all who just love what we do and want to deepen their own creative practice.

Collaborative to our core, 2nd Story believes in the power of storytelling to change the world.