Come out (or, stay in these days) and hear some outrageous, funny and heartwarming true stories told in five minutes by your friends and neighbors from around the valley. The audience picks the winner, and a storytelling star is born! Valley Voices Story Slam is going virtual this fall, so mix yourself a cocktail, cozy up on your couch, and get ready to for an evening of storytelling, live from the stage at the historic Academy of Music Theatre in downtown Northampton, Massachusetts!

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Here’s how to audition

During the set audition period, call our designated phone line at 413-735-6688 to share the first sentence of your story and your contact information. Please share only the first line of your story. Speak slowly and clearly when giving your line and your contact information.

Storytellers will be selected based on the strength of their first line and will be invited to share their story live at Valley Voices. Selected storytellers are encouraged to attend a free storytelling workshop, which will help to cultivate personal stories into performances. Storytellers will be offered the opportunity to purchase one ticket for a friend – we know you want moral support while you’re up on that stage!

Story Slam Rules

  • Stories must be submitted for consideration through New England Public Media’s designated phone line during the open audition period for each show. Share the first line of your story as you would tell it the night of the slam. Your name, email and phone number need to be recorded on voicemail. Please speak clearly and slowly. Phone line:
  • Stories must be personal, first-person narrative and from your life experience.
  • Stories must be told without notes, props, costumes or musical instruments.
  • Your story must relate to the theme.
  • Your story must be 5 minutes or less! We’ll give you a one minute warning at the 4 minute mark to help you keep on time.
  • You must be 18 or older and reside in New England.
  • If you’ve participated in a Valley Voices story slam or auditioned for previous seasons you are welcome to re-audition. (If you’ve taken home the gold in the Best of Valley Voices, you may not compete in the next season.)
  • If you take 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in a slam, you cannot participate in other slams during the season (you will be moving on to the Best of Valley Voices!).
  • All storytellers must agree to have their story recorded for use on the Valley Voices Podcast and filmed for the Valley Voices website by local cable access channels including Holyoke TV.
  • The top 3 storytellers for each slam will go on to compete in the “Best of Valley Voices Story Slam” at the Academy of Music, at the end of the season. If you place in the top three during a slam, you must commit to sharing a story for Best of Valley Voices. The top three storytellers will automatically be featured on the Valley Voices podcast.


  • Members of the Academy of Music and New England Public Media staff will select 10 storytellers and 2 alternates for each slam based on the first lines auditioned.
  • Selected storytellers will be notified and are invited to participate in a storytelling workshop before the Story Slam to hone their story.
  • At each slam, audience members will vote for their favorite story, and the top three storytellers will advance to the Best of Valley Voices.


The top 3 storytellers for each slam will go on to compete in the “Best of Valley Voices Story Slam” at the Academy of Music. If you are in the top three, you must commit to sharing a story for Best of Valley Voices. The top three storytellers will also be featured on the Valley Voices podcast for that theme. Other stories collected could be used in other podcasts later in the season.

The Valley Voices Podcast is available at and wherever you find your podcasts.

For more information, contact Vanessa Cerillo at 413-735-6605 or

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