For the past two years, women in select cities around the U.S. have been celebrating Mother’s Day by heading to a theater to share the joys, trials, and occasional absurdities of motherhood with local writers at Listen To Your Mother shows.
Created by Ann Imig, a writer, blogger, and former social worker and musical theater actress, the Listen to Your Mother (LTYM) show’s mission is “to take the audience on a well-crafted journey that celebrates and validates mothering through giving voice to motherhood — in all of its complexity, diversity, and humor.”
After a successful first showing in Imig’s hometown of Madison, Wisc. in 2010, LTYM expanded to five cities in 2o11, and has just announced that it will be mounting shows in ten cities next year. Each local show is directed by a writer or blogger that is passionate about bringing the show to their community and shares Imig’s aspiration to “provide an opportunity for local writers to spring their literal voice into a microphone from their literary voice on the page.”
The impetus for the show started as a desire to share what Imig refers to as “the creative and supportive phenomenon” of the parent-blogging community that she had become a part of in 2009, when she started her blog, Ann’s Rants. While making humorous observations on parenting as a “work week widow,” a nickname for women who stay home with their children while their husbands work in another city during the week, she created strong bonds with other women who were also using their blogs as a creative and emotional outlet while staying home with their toddlers.
Citing her experience as a performer, Imig said, “I knew the power of interacting with the audience and I wanted to share that with people who maybe never experienced it before. Also, as a social worker, I see immense value in giving voice to personal narrative and bearing witness to people’s stories.”
Imig hopes to give motherhood “more than a brunch” for Mother’s Day, viewing the show as a way to bring the community together to “celebrate the beauty, the beast, and the barely rested of motherhood.” She also hopes that the show can function “like a portal” for the many people who attend the show who may not know anything about blogs and the platform they provide for women to share their parenting stories among supportive peers. Which is especially moving for Imig when she receives positive feedback from “women in my mother’s generation and older, who never got an opportunity to share their stories of motherhood in any kind of public forum.”
As the show gains momentum through word of mouth and is able to expand with the help of sponsors like BlogHer, Imig is busy creating the infrastructure needed to give every city that wants to host their own show the ability to do so efficiently. On her hopes for the future of the show, she says, “I would love to see LTYM become an annual Mother’s Day local tradition that celebrates local community and gives support to local causes.”
The Listen To Your Mother show will be appearing around Mother’s Day 2012 in the following areas: Austin, Chicago, D.C., Madison, NYC, NW Arkansas, NW Indiana, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Spokane.
If you would like to see performances from past LTYM shows, you can watch videos of them on YouTube here.
Photos Courtesy: Listen To Your Mother
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