Our Story

Ex Fabula's Founders

Ex Fabula was born in October 2009 when the 5 founders – Adam Weise, Amy Schleicher, Leah Delaney, Matt Sabljak, and Megan McGee – met for lunch at Maharaja Restaurant and discussed starting a storytelling series in Milwaukee. We agreed that true, personal stories have a unique power to create connections between individuals, and we hoped to magnify that power through live events to provide meaningful local experiences. The fledgling organization was christened “Ex Fabula” – from the Latin for “from stories.”

Six weeks later, Ex Fabula debuted at Art Bar, where a crowd of 65 gathered to hear stories on the theme “Beginnings”. Increasingly large crowds caused us to seek larger venues and the enthusiastic embrace from the community showed that we had tapped into a strong need. In our first season, we hosted 7 storytelling events at 7 different locations across 5 distinct Milwaukee neighborhoods.

a group talks amongst each other     three women talk in a circle     a group of individuals talk at a storytelling workshop

During our second season, our monthly event series alternated between Riverwest and BayView neighborhoods. We also introduced a new annual event, the Ex Fabula Spectacular; for this special noncompetitive event the Ex Fabula volunteers select individuals from past events who were not Audience Favorites but whose stories were especially compelling – and invite them to take the stage and share new, longer stories.At the end of our second season we kicked off the Terminal Milwaukee project, a seven event series that explored and celebrated the diversity of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods.

During parts of our third and fourth seasons, we completed a 6 month residency at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan. This residency allowed us to further develop our workshop curriculum and as well as experiment with Spanish language programming.

 audience members applaud at a show    pitman theater stage    audience members watch a show at hot water warehouse

In January 2014, midway through our fifth season, we hired Megan McGee as Executive Director – our first full time employee. This allowed us to expand our programming in several ways. In response to requests, we began offering storytelling workshops for the general public and to community groups. We also created the Ex Fabula membership program and held the first Secret Fabula event.

Over the next seasons, inclusivity became a special focus for Ex Fabula. We partnered with organizations all over the city to present workshops and StorySlams. We kicked off a pilot of the Puente Project in Season 6  and expanded the program in Season 7 in order to present the first English <> Spanish Bilingual StorySlam in the United States. In Season 7, we also added the Ex Fabula Fellowship. These Community Collaborations enabled us to serve individuals from every zip code in the city and to increase the diversity of our storytellers, volunteers, and audiences.

And where do we go from here? Well, there are still Milwaukeeans who have not shared stories and Milwaukeeans who don’t realize that their voice matters… so our work continues.


Board of Directors

To learn more about the role played by Board Directors and open positions, please visit our Volunteer Page.

bob pothier tells a story dan passes surveys at a Slam meghan tells a story at a Slam
PRESIDENT Bob Pothier VICE PRESIDENT Dan Anderson Meghan Koven
Chamaine, David, Meghan, Bob at stategy session Raina tells a story  a group laughs in a circle
Charmaine Harris, David Lee, Meghan Koven, and Bob Pothier Raina Johnson SECRETARY Patrick O’Neill, David Lee, and Meghan Koven

TREASURER Graham Baxter

Adam Weise

Cassie Jeffrey-Miller

Dan Mueller