Women of the Yampa Valley share your stories; SPEAK event calls for submissions | SteamboatToday.com

Women of the Yampa Valley share your stories; SPEAK event calls for submissions

The Young Bloods Collective's second annual SPEAK — Performances From Women in the Yampa Valley is now accepting submissions.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – "If your story is important enough to write down, there is someone that needs to hear it," said Emily Waldron, creator and producer of SPEAK.

In all of its humor, adversity and stark candor, SPEAK performances, sponsored by Young Bloods Collective, return for a second year March 8 to 10 at locations in Hayden, Oak Creek and Steamboat Springs with the closing night at the Chief Theater.

Submissions will be accepted from now until 8 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17.

The prompt, is simple:

"Tell us about your competitions, tell us about your collaborations. Tell us about your triumphs, tell us about your missteps. Tell us all your stories; we're listening –SPEAK.”

From spoken word, to slam poetry, to stand-up comedy and dance, SPEAK will feature a variety of styles for the hour-long performance of work written and performed by women living in the Yampa Valley. This year's theme is "Collaborate Don't Compete."

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"I think especially in a community that can at times be dominated by typically masculine activities, it is necessary to give women a space to express their views, hopes, concerns — a space to work through those things and then present your conclusions to the community," Waldron said.

Inspired by the likes of 2 Dope Queens and Eve Ensler, who also created the Vagina Monologues, the idea for SPEAK emerged with the intent to fill the need for more stories, more female voices, according to Waldron.

"Something about hearing these new stories of their neighbors and friends, hearing places that we drive by or play at brought to life with a new perspective struck a deep chord with our community," Waldron added.

Designed to give women a platform to share their stories, those who submit a piece do not have to perform it at the event. SPEAK performer auditions will be held at the end of January.

Waldron said SPEAK is not seeking submissions from men but those who want to be involved can volunteer behind the scenes.

"SPEAK was cathartic for the performers last year and was healing and eye-opening for many audience members," Waldron said. "It is important to share stories of discrimination, disregard, sexual harassment, because it reminds all of us that there is a dark side to everything, even in a community as idyllic as ours."

SPEAK submission requirements:

• Submissions must be five minutes or less.

• One submission per person

• Submit to perform your own work, or submit your own work to be performed by another.

• All submissions need to include the author’s name. With an explanation or reason, Waldron said anonymous submissions will be considered.

• The focus of the submission needs to be about the female experience from the female perspective; with a little twist: the idea of collaboration versus competition.

• Rough drafts will be accepted; however, this leaves the piece open to more editing than those submitting final pieces. "The point is to tell your story, we can help fineness it," said Waldron.

Information or questions about SPEAK can be directed to info@youngbloodscollective.org.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@steamboattoday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.