Story Sessions is a monthly show featuring a collection of performers sharing true personal stories that will tug at your heart strings, tickle your funny bone and take your mind on a wild adventure. Check out a video from one of our fans!
October 2015: Q&A with Gapers Block:
Chicago has no shortage of regular storytelling events, but each year an audience gathers around a cozy firepit on the North Shore for Story Sessions’ Annual Campfire…This year’s theme “Creep,” did not disappoint. I sat down with Jill Howe and Rachael Smith, the founders and hostesses of Story Sessions, to get the scoop on their shows and what makes their events tick.[Read full interview]
February 2015: An interview with Naomi Huffman of the Chicago Tribune:
“As producers, most of Smith and Howe’s work takes place behind the curtain. But while watching the show unfold on stage, it’s clear it is all the result of their thoughtful collaboration and openness to the unexpected.” [Read full interview]
May 2014: A review by Cassie Sheets of Chicago Literati:
Cassie states, “It was one of the few times at a live lit event I’ve felt sad the show was over…I’d recommend checking out their site, listening to their podcast, and finding an event with a theme that interests you to attend. It’s another month until the next show, but it’s worth the wait.”
[Read full review]
February 2014: An interview with Abby Sheaffer of Chicago Literati:
Jill & Rachael comment, “We’re thrilled with the stage, but we’re also thrilled with the process that gets you there. It’s not all about the spotlight. It’s about honoring the story.”
[Read full interview]
April 2013: Read a review of our humble beginnings by the Chicago Tribune:
“As opening night glitches go, this was a good problem.The back room at Lakeview gastropub The Dog’s Bollox was jammed with people squeezing in for the debut of Story Sessions, yet another yarn-spinning event to add to Chicago’s already-packed storytelling/live literature calendar, and the organizers, regretfully, were turning people away…”
[Read full story]
About the founders
Jill Howe co-founded Story Sessions and when she’s not producing, she performs her own true stories at shows like Essay Fiesta, Story Club, Mortified, That’s All She Wrote and many others. Her work has been featured in Story Club Magazine, You’re Being Ridiculous Blog and on Vocalo Public Radio featured on NPR. Jill has also coached new storytellers for Fear Experiment at the Park West and organizes her own writing groups and retreats throughout the city and suburbs. Recently Jill presented a Tedx Talk on storytelling and vulnerability. A high school English teacher by day, Jill believes that a life full of story is a life well-lived.
Chicago native, Rachael Smith, likes to think of herself as a professional triple threat- writer, graphic designer and marketing maven. Her guilty pleasure is writing stories about the utterly ridiculous and usually embarrassing moments of her life. Rachael has performed at shows and open mics around the city and most recently back at her high school to tell a story about stage fright on the very stage that started it all. She is also currently writing her first novel, Forever Maybe and hopes to get it out into the world very soon.