If you love storytelling, then Rabbit Box is for you! What, you ask is Rabbit Box? Well, it’s a non-profit organization that for nearly 10 years has fostered the art of storytelling in Athens by providing a forum for people to share true stories from their lives.
Performances have been suspended for over a year and a half due to the pandemic but now they are back, and in a new location. Formerly at the Foundry, Rabbit Box is returning to a new location, the VFW at 840 Sunset Dr. near Bishop Park, and it’s on a new night, the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. The first show is Sept. 21st with performances tackling the theme “Lost and Found” with these featured storytellers.
“The community is eager to gather after social distancing for so long,” says Raquel Durden, Rabbit Box interim director. “Storytelling is a perfect opportunity to reconnect at a live event together!”
On Oct. 19, Rabbit Box is putting on a show that is part of the One Book Athens initiative, a community reading, and discussion of the book Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You. Rabbit Box is proud to be one of many organizations that have worked together to plan events around this important book.
Storytellers for this show include Pastor Clarence Pope, one of the first Black football players at UGA; poet Celest Ngeve, the director of Rutland Academy; Mykeisha Ross, founder of the nonprofit Youth is Life; Connie Crawley, a volunteer at Mercy Clinic and a registered dietician; Nicole Clay, actress and spoken word artist; and Chaplain Cole Knapper, community activist, educator and Army veteran. Dr. Freda Scott Giles, associate professor emerita in Theatre and African American Studies at UGA, will emcee the show.
Many people ask why Rabbit Box is called Rabbit Box? Do we stand on a Rabbit Box to tell the stories? Must the stories include rabbits? The answer is no. The name Rabbit Box comes from a song written by Vic Chestnut, well-known local musician who was famous for the stories he told through his lyrics. Marci Mendel White , the founder of the group, modeled the show on NPR’s The Moth Radio Hour but she says she wanted the storytellers not to be professionals, but “everyday people telling true stories of their real experiences straight from their hearts.”
Rabbit Box is now looking for storytellers for upcoming shows. Stories are limited to eight minutes and must be told, not read, with coaching available, if desired. You can pitch your story for an upcoming show on the Rabbit Box website, www.rabbitbox.org, and hear excerpts from past shows. Upcoming topics include: Women on the Front Line (Nov. 16); Stuck (Jan. 18); Places of the Heart (Feb. 15)
Tickets can be bought ahead of time on the Rabbit Box website for $7. At the door the price is $10. Parking is plentiful and FREE. The VFW has a cash bar serving alcohol, soft drinks, fruit juice, water and margaritas. An ATM is nearby if needed. The doors open at 6 p.m. with the show running from 7 to about 9 p.m.
Covid precautions will be in place including Clarke County’s mask mandate, and the number of people allowed in will be limited to one-third its normal capacity.
Connie Crawley, a Rabbit Box Board Member, is retired from UGA.