Monday, March 2, 2015

In Her Shoes

‘All Y’all: Ladies Night’ to explore women’s perspectives

When husband-and-wife team Sara Hebert and Chris Jay see a void within the community, they work to fill it. Hebert and Jay have cultivated their live storytelling event “All Y’all” into a coveted event, and they’re preparing to carry on the developing tradition with their fourth installment, “Ladies Night,” set for 7 p.m. March 14. Purposely hosted during Women’s History Month at the Women’s Department Club, the event will feature curated stories told by or about women ranging in topic from experiencing motherhood to being single to finding one’s place professionally.

“What we really wanted to do was not just have an evening of the types of stories you’d expect from women but the types of stories that would really make you understand a woman’s perspective better,” Hebert said.

Hebert and Jay wanted “Ladies Night” to be an opportunity to illustrate the multitude of experiences women encounter.

“Rather than waiting for stories to come to us, we’ve been observing awesome women in our community for a couple months,” Hebert said.

Since “All Y’all’s” first live storytelling event last March, the event has grown, receiving full audiences and three community sponsors along the way. “All Y’all” has acquired Rhino Coffee and Twisted Root Burger as sponsors, with Holiday Lanes serving as the event’s title sponsor for the year, which will allow Jay and Hebert to produce four live events this year.

“We were doing this literally out of our savings account, and now some of the pressure has been lifted from these businesses’ community-mindedness,” Jay said. “It’s a great feeling. It’s like a vote of confidence.”

As the driving forces behind “All Y’all,” Hebert and Jay have wielded this storytelling concept into a reality, searching for and sharing the stories that make Shreveport-Bossier City unique.

Hebert and Jay have long been advocates in promoting Shreveport- Bossier City’s successes and charms. Hebert serves as Oscar-winning Moonbot Studio’s marketing director, and Jay is the public relations and social media manager for Shreveport Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau.

Each even carries a specific theme, which in the recent past has included “New ‘Round Here” and “Under the Influence.” But the themes are purposely left open-ended, allowing for different stories from varied perspectives, Jay said.

“All Y’all” has embraced a multitude of community-grown storytellers within the past three events.

For Robin Williams, sharing her story of struggling with social anxiety during “All Y’all’s” “Under the Influence” event was a transformative experience. Williams, who heads Holiday Lanes’ marketing and social media, managed to bring her story to the stage in less than 24 hours after another storyteller had stepped out of the lineup.

“I felt like my shyness was an addiction,” Williams said. “From the moment they called my name, I was really struggling with it. I just decided to do it. … The minute I stepped off the stage after I was finished, it was like a weight of 40 years had been lifted off my shoulders.”

Williams has felt the gravity of her story since her time on the stage, as people have continued to tell her how affected they were by her experience. From her time on the stage, Williams has experienced the novelty and connectivity “All Y’all” has come to offer participants and audiences, alike.

“This is going to be something that really brings people in our community together,” Williams said. “It’s going to connect people in ways they never thought they’re be connected.”

Cookie DuBois had a similar experience when she took to the stage for “All Y’all’s” second installment “Mistakes Were Made.”

As a children’s librarian, storytelling comes natural for DuBois. But she took a different approach when it came to sharing her story of her transition from living in her car.

“The response was awesome,” said DuBois, who is also a clothing designer. “I just think that’s the best part about All Y’all is how supportive everyone is.

“I think it’s really great for our community because it helps you get to know somebody just a little bit more,” she said. “And there’s an approachability that comes afterward.”

– Staci Parks

Want to go?

“A’ll Y’all: Ladies Night” WHEN: 7 p.m. March 14 WHERE: Women’s Department Club, 802 Margaret Place TICKETS: Tickets are $10 each and advance ticket purchase is recommended. Purchase them at: www. allyallblog.com/tickets. The event will also include a cash bar courtesy of Wine Country Bistro.

ON STANDS NOW!

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