MKE BIG READ's book is In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

Announcing Milwaukee Public Library’s Big Read

National Endowment for the Arts BIG READ logo with drawing of a book. Art works. Arts Midwest.We’re excited to collaborate with Milwaukee Public Library on the NEA Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.  For the MKE Big Read 2017, Milwaukee Public Library will offer exciting events, programs, and discussions related to Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the ButterfliesContinue reading “Announcing Milwaukee Public Library’s Big Read”

Waukesha Reads logo

Waukesha Reads 2016

We’re thrilled to partner with Waukesha Reads again to unite the community through great books! As part of the NEA’s Big Read, Waukesha Reads invites community members to read (or re-read) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and then explore the book through discussions, performances, and community events running September 30 – November 13.  Ex Fabula, as in the last 3 years, will present a Storytelling workshop and a StorySlam that explore one of the book’s themes – which will be “Loss of Innocence”.

Continue reading “Waukesha Reads 2016”

Vote for Ex Fabula Season Eight Themes

Vote for Season 8 themes

Ex Fabula is all about community, so it’s only natural to involve the community in selecting themes for our Season 8 public StorySlams!

The following list of themes was created by the “Slam Lords” (f.k.a. Programming), a group of volunteers who plan our monthly Slams and fill key roles like Stage Manager and UltraShorts lead. They selected these from a master list of themes that have been suggested by audience members over the years, and now they’d like to find out which ones are your favorites!

What themes would you like to see during Season 8? Vote for up to three. Poll closes July 10!

  • Only in Milwaukee (43%, 76 Votes)
  • It's Complicated (25%, 43 Votes)
  • Unfinished Business (23%, 40 Votes)
  • Acquired Taste (19%, 33 Votes)
  • Risking It (18%, 31 Votes)
  • Perfect Storm (17%, 29 Votes)
  • Our Little Secret (17%, 29 Votes)
  • Deal with the Devil (16%, 28 Votes)
  • Change of Heart (15%, 27 Votes)
  • Brush with Fame (15%, 26 Votes)
  • In Theory (14%, 25 Votes)
  • Dignity (14%, 24 Votes)
  • Timing (12%, 21 Votes)
  • Great Expectations (11%, 20 Votes)
  • Grin and Bear it (9%, 16 Votes)
  • Day One (8%, 14 Votes)
  • Beginner's Luck (7%, 13 Votes)
  • Child's Play (6%, 11 Votes)
  • Wiggle Room (6%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 175

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Have a theme that you’d like us to add to the master list? Use this form to submit it!

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Puente Project: building bridges over language barriers

Ex Fabula believes that everyone has stories worth sharing, whether you speak inglés, español, or another language – so we’re very excited to kick off el Proyecto Puente, which will build bridges (puentes) between the English and Spanish speaking communities in Milwaukee.

Full project information is available in Spanish at, but for those of you who don’t speak Spanish, we thought it’d be fun to escribir a blog post in Spanglish. I’m (not so secretly) hoping that we hear some Spanglish at the Slam de Historias in March –  ¡a ver si pasa!

Un poco de historia: We started bilingual programming back in 2011 when we were artists in residence at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan. Then last year, we included 2 historias en español con interpretación al inglés in our December Spectacular, after which several participants suggested that we do a StorySlam completamente bilingüe.

In order to hold a Bilingual Slam, we would need to train voluntarios, offer workshops en españoland do un montón de marketing in order to reach the Spanish speaking community. Fortunately, I have a handful of contactos en la comunidad hispana. It helps that I do yoga at CORE/El Centro (and actually interpret the yoga class into Spanish) and became friends with several native Spanish speakers when I studied at UWM. So, we started planning.

Puente ProjectThe result: Ex Fabula va a presentar 4 Spanish language Storytelling workshops, several sessiones orientativas for bilingual event volunteers, and por fin, a bilingual StorySlam on Thursday March 10. The theme will be “American Dream / Sueño Americano“, and stories can be told in English, Spanish or even Spanglish  – como dije –  and we’ll leverage interpretation so that everyone can enjoy las historias personalesBoletos are on sale now for only $8 – and workshop attendees will get descuentos especiales. 

To the best of my knowledge, nuestro evento will be the first English <> Spanish bilingual StorySlam in the United States. Qué padre, ¿no? I hope you can join us for this very exciting event! And if you know Spanish speakers, please let them know about the workshops, which are either gratis or low cost ($3) thanks to the grants we’ve received. The workshops are listed on nuestra página de Facebook as well as on the website, para que sepan. We even have a special newsletter en español that you can sign up for!

There are muchísimas personas to thank for this project. Gracias a: 

  • Dr. Leah Leone, my former compañera de oficina at UWM, who is engaging the UWM community and assisting with planning
  • Dr. Nelson López, who will teach workshops, stage manage the StorySlam, and hopefully fix all my errores de gramática in this blog post (I blame autocorrect which keeps trying to change all the Spanish words)
  • Carolina Soza, who will also teach workshops. She is a gran artísta and I’m so honored to have her be part of this project.
  • Todos los voluntarios who make Ex Fabula StorySlams happen – and the new volunteers who are training to help at the March Slam.
  • Todas las organizaciones that will host workshops: Centro Hispano, UWM, Planned Parenthood’s group of Community Health Promoters, and CORE/El Centro.
  • Groups that are assisting with promotion: the Roberto Hernández Center,  the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), and Journey House.
  • Season 7 sponsor Transfer Pizzeria and Café
  • Everyone who has financially supported this project, incluyendo Ex Fabula members and donors,  the City of Milwaukee Arts Board and the Wisconsin Arts Board,  and the UW-Milwaukee Cultures and Communities Program.

¡Mil gracias a cada uno de Ustedes!

Hopefully this has helped everyone to better understand the Puente Project. Feel free to write your commentarios y preguntas below – and perhaps I’ll even see you at one of the eventos. 

Un abrazo fuerte, 


PS: Want more? Check out this blog recap of our March 10, 2016 Bilingual StorySlam!

Ex Fabula is hiring!

***update: We are no longer accepting applications for this position. Thanks for your interest!***

I’m so excited to announce that as part of our efforts to strengthen community bonds through storytelling, Ex Fabula is accepting applications (through Thursday December 3, 2015) for a part-time Community Connector.

I’m imagining that some of you have questions about this, so here’s the start of an imaginary conversation between me (MM) and a fictional audience member (FAM). Feel free to comment with additional questions!

FAM: Why not just get more volunteers?

MM: Oh, we will definitely continue to leverage the talents of volunteers! However, there are a bunch of time-sensitive tasks that don’t really work with volunteer schedules. Volunteers are fabulous, but they have other commitments like work, school, and family, and so we have to be realistic about what kinds of projects they take on. If, on the other hand, someone out there is interested in taking this work on as a volunteer, please let me know!

FAM: Why is it fixed term?

MM: The Board and I want to Ex Fabula to be careful and intentional about how we grow, and we still need to build out a base of financial support. This fixed term appointment will allow us to address short term needs while giving us flexibility to determine what we need long term.

FAM: Should I tell people about this posting?

MM: Yes please!


Position:  Community Connector (CC)

Job Location:              Milwaukee, WI
Start Date:                   January 2016
Employment Type:    20 hours/week, paid hourly, $11/hour
Fairly flexible schedule; some evenings and weekends required.
Fixed term:                  January through August 2016
Reporting to:               Executive Director

Position Description

Ex Fabula is a Milwaukee nonprofit that strengthens community bonds through the art of storytelling. Our programs include monthly StorySlams, public Storytelling workshops, a radio show, and community collaborations that allow Milwaukeeans of all stripes to be heard, to listen to true personal stories and to meaningfully connect.

The CC will work closely with the Executive Director to manage, build and strengthen relationships with volunteers, Ex Fabula members and donors, and current and future audience members and storytellers.

This part-time position offers the opportunity to complete some tasks remotely once training is complete; the CC and Executive Director will establish a weekly schedule (days/evenings) during which time the CC is expected to be available. Weekly in-person meetings with the Executive Director will take place during regular business hours. 


  • Volunteer management
    • Assist with the planning of Volunteer orientations, including preparing materials and coordinating signup.
    • Create and implement a targeted recruiting plan to increase diversity among volunteers as well as volunteers with bilingual skills
  • Membership
    • Work “Will Call” table and Membership table at StorySlams
    • Process membership packets and mailings and update Member data in database and other systems.
  • Marketing / general
    • Identify neighborhoods for flyer distribution, generate distribution plan, and implement.
    • Write and proofread marketing materials.
  • Materials coordination
    • Assist with preparation of print materials for StorySlams, public workshops, and outreach events
  • Metrics and Monitoring:
    • Enter data from StorySlams, workshops and collaborations in our database.
    • Manage and track survey results and analyze for trends.
  • Support the Executive Director with a variety of administrative tasks and research projects, as appropriate

Additionally, the CC will complete organizational tasks and career development activities such as:

  • Manage and update personal task list and calendar.
  • Meet with the Executive Director to review progress, set next steps, and troubleshoot.
  • Give and receive feedback on performance.
  • Attend related trainings and community events.


  • Demonstrated experience working effectively within one or more diverse communities within Milwaukee
  • Excellent interpersonal and written and oral communication skills
  • Commitment to Ex Fabula’s mission of strengthening community bonds through the art of storytelling
  • Commitment to values of inclusion and access
  • Experience with computers and Microsoft Office applications
  • Highly motivated and organized
  • Bilingual preferred (Spanish or other)

Ex Fabula is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

To apply, please email us with your cover letter, resume, and three professional references with phone and e-mail contact information.

Coming of Age Recap

Thank you to everyone who joined us at the lovely Waukesha Civic Theatre on Thursday the 5th for our second StorySlam with Waukesha Reads!Continue reading “Coming of Age Recap”

Waukesha Reads

Ex Fabula @ Waukesha Reads

As part of our efforts to strengthen community bonds through the art of storytelling, Ex Fabula occasionally does Community Collaborations with schools, businesses, and nonprofits in the Greater Milwaukee region. Some of these events are private, while others are open to the public. One upcoming public Community Collaboration will take place in October as part of Waukesha Reads.

The following article explains the details of the collaboration, so please read on… and perhaps we’ll see you in Waukesha! Continue reading “Ex Fabula @ Waukesha Reads”

Lamont - photo by Kat Schleicher

Meet the Kickoff Storytellers!

Lamont Smith discovered Ex Fabula through Terminal Milwaukee, the story telling series centered around WMSE’s Tom Crawford telling stories about Milwaukee neighborhoods. “It made a phenomenal first impression on me, in its sincerity.” Lamont made a phenomenal impression on everyone at the Terminal Milwaukee event held at Satin Wave barbershop, and he’ll be sharing that barbershop story with us at the Season 6 Kickoff. Continue reading “Meet the Kickoff Storytellers!”

Secret Fabula storyteller

Photos from Secret Fabula

Hi everyone. It’s Megan, your humble Executive Director. Now, after events we frequently share a recap with you with some details about the stories that were told. However, that seems a bit odd for an event called Secret Fabula – so instead I’ll post a bunch of great photos. The rest… will remain a secret 🙂 Continue reading “Photos from Secret Fabula”