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  • Writer's pictureElisabeth Gasparka

Ex Fabula in its 15th Season of Bringing Inclusive Storytelling to the Community

Milwaukee’s nonprofit arts organization Ex Fabula has been producing StorySlam performances and storytelling workshops in the Milwaukee community since November of 2009. But it’s not just about entertaining stories. The intention of the organization has been to foster a sense of “radical inclusion” within its programming, so that participants can “grow, connect, and heal,” through public storytelling.

A crowd of diverse attendees laughs and claps during a performance.
The audience at a StorySlam about Parenting. Photo by Art Montes.

This year, Ex Fabula is expanding with performances in new neighborhoods, and is fostering partnerships with organizations including HYFIN, in the hopes of centering Black and Brown voices within their programs. The lens for diversity and inclusion that guides Ex-Fabula is expansive—the organization is also hosting a StorySlam designed for families and people of all ages to enjoy together on Sept. 30. StorySlams as a genre of performance often lean into mature, and even intense personal content, but this event will invite families and participants of all ages to respond to the theme of “Best Day Ever.” The event marks the first time that an all-ages StorySlam has been offered since the onset of the pandemic lockdown. Beyond the theme and invitation for families to participate, the event differs from regular StorySlams in that it is non-competitive, meaning it will not feature the typical “audience choice” selection at the end.

A stage is lined with children and adults celebrating after an all-ages StorySlam.
An all-ages StorySlam. Photo courtesy of Ex Fabula.

Executive Director Megan McGee is proud of the ways that Ex-Fabula has expanded on its mission, including hosting multilingual performances and offering accommodations to make hearing impaired individuals feel welcome.

“When we held our first Slam in 2009, we knew that personal stories could connect people, but I couldn’t have imagined the Ex Fabula of today,” said McGee. “This past spring, we had stories told in English, Spanish, and ASL at our Slams.”

A Black female in a red, white and green floral ensemble is smiling and gesturing on a stage.
Michaela Lacy at an AfterDark: For the Culture StorySlam event. Photo by Art Montes.

Over the years, Ex Fabula has also been expansive in the mediums through which they share stories. Since 2014, StorySlams have aired as a serial show on WUWM, Real Stories MKE, which is also available as a podcast. They’ve also drawn threads of inclusivity into the themes of the Story Slams they produce.

“Earlier this month, we produced two curated StorySlams: one about affordable housing and another about mental health and suicide, so that the voices of the most affected community members were centered in those conversations,” said McGee.

And she feels inspired to continue fueling connection within our community through storytelling.

“It’s been an incredible journey, and we intend to keep at it until everyone in the region feels truly heard.”

The full season of Ex-Fabula:

Tues. Sept. 19th @ 7pm StorySlam: Awkward at The Sugar Maple

Sat. Sept. 30th @ 1pm All Ages StorySlam: Best Day Ever at Interchange Theater Co-Op

Thurs. Oct. 12th @ 7pm StorySlam: Fear at Dandy

Fri. Oct. 20th @ 7pm AfterDark: For the Culture at Radio Milwaukee

Thurs. Nov. 2nd @ 7pm StorySlam: Oops, I Did it Again at Turning Tables Tavern &

Tues. Dec. 19th @ 7pm StorySlam: ‘Good’ Music at Arts@Large


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