Notes from the Motherfield LIVE FAQs

Notes from the Motherfield LIVE FAQs

(Photo credit: a still from “Marquee,” performed by Denise Uyehara for the May 2020 show)

Q: What is Notes from the Motherfield?

Notes is a storytelling platform and a movement of radical mothers dedicated to building community by telling the truth and listening to other womxns’ stories. Based on Kore’s online essay series and newsletter feature of the same name (edited by Lisa Bowden), Notes from the Motherfield LIVE presents five to six mothers telling a personal 10-minute story (sometimes in video or music performance, but mostly spoken). Bowden encountered the term “motherfield” in Joy Harjo’s blog, where she referred to the imaginal colliding that happens while mothering––where truths that are hard to talk about persist—somewhere between grief and longing, the ineffable and mundane, breathtaking moments and numbing routine. It is a complicated, sacred place requiring a brave poetics to speak from.

At Motherfield LIVE, we enter the project as tellers and listeners together, to hear one another’s stories and to keep narratives about mothering real, fully complex, and richly diverse. We hold this space to essay out loud, to pierce the veil of perfection and silence, and to keep the often undervalued and invisible labor of womxn and mothers visible. Motherfield LIVE is an intentionally created space and process for all mothers to tell their stories, and is a consciously inclusive project. 

Storytelling alumnae and the KPI MF team carry the project forward, building communities of care through story-coaching, sharing knowledge and experience, and providing event support. Practice sessions and rehearsals enable storytellers to share whatever particular thread is near and dear to them; to give voice to those things they have encountered while mothering—the wild beauty, the thorny conundrum that doesn’t let go, the double-edged liberatory decisions, the stunning judgements.

We see you mamas, we are listening and witnessing with our ears, our eyes, and our hearts.

Q: Who can participate? Do I have to be a mother? 

The Motherfield is open to those who wish to tell a story related to motherhood and who self-identify as a mother in one way or another, to those who claim the title as they see it fits them. Storytellers typically come to the project by recommendation from participants, from audiences, the KPI team, and the community.

Q: I have adult children. Are you looking for stories from womxn with young children?

No. Storytellers can be any age, at any stage of mothering. Having a diverse range of ages and experiences provides a necessary, rich complexity to the narrative. We strive to include the great depth and breadth of mothering experience and wisdom by presenting a variety of perspectives onto the stage.

Q: I am considering sharing a story. What happens next?

Once you say “yes” to the invitation to tell a story, you will receive a welcome email along with that event’s cohort of storytellers. This email provides an introduction to the project and process, including agreement /release forms, storytelling tips, workshop / listening guidelines, FAQs, and other helpful links. Around this time, we will also request a photograph and bio for the website and promotion. Practice sessions will be scheduled two to three weeks prior to event via doodle, according to the cohort and support team availability.

Q: What if I’ve never shared a story in a public setting? Is there guidance or support to help me prepare?

Yes! KPI provides extensive story preparation support for all the participants, no matter level of performance experience, including workshop or practice (listening) sessions with alumni storytellers and other project supporters. Two or three sessions are scheduled to ensure everyone has at least one chance to receive feedback. To help producers organize the setlist for the show, there are two mandatory rehearsal for everyone, one to test out and share your story, the other is technical preparation for the event. An introductory session happens prior to rehearsals if the show is on Zoom rather than in person, to gel the group and ask questions. One-on-one support is available in between sessions. 

Q: Are the rehearsals required? Yes. The one-on-one coaching is optional.

Q: I have children. Is childcare provided during in-person rehearsal or the event? 

Unfortunately, providing childcare for the rehearsal sessions is not within the scope of KPI’s Motherfield program at this time. If childcare becomes a barrier to participating for a storyteller, we endeavor to work creatively and collectively to find a solution and to help keep the project accessible. For example, at our first online Motherfield LIVE, Playformance, in Tucson, provided free remote childcare during the event. 

Storytellers have collectively determined the rehearsals a kid-free zone. This allows for the privacy needed to work, to speak and think out loud freely without distraction or self-editing that can happen with children present. Additionally, the content is for adults.

Q: Is the event recorded?

Yes. KPI invests in high-quality video and audio capture of the storytellers who have given their permission to be recorded. The documentation of the event is intended to be part of KPI’s Womxn’s Voices of the Southwest online archive, the Motherfield LIVE podcast, to extend the audience, and help community-building for mothers online.

Q: Can I have access to the recording for my personal use?

Yes. Roughly 8-12 weeks after the event, KPI uploads recorded stories onto the KPI YouTube channel (per the respective permissions of each individual storyteller, emcee, and interpreters). These video files are also available to the storytellers by request onced released by KPI. Sometimes the entire show will be available online for a limited time, viewable for a fee, to help recoup expenses if the show did not sell out, or if there is demand.

Personal use excludes for profit use. All permissions must be gained by the storyteller from anyone else who appears in the video before personal use.

Q: Tickets? How much are they? Who needs a ticket?

Tickets to Notes from the Motherfield LIVE are $15-$20. The event is intended for adults. KPI raises extra funds through a Gift-a-Ticket option, and distributes these FREE tickets to members of the Deaf community, BIPOC womxn, or anyone in need, in collaboration with storytelling alumni and ASL interpreters. Storytellers are honorary guests of the event, and of course do not need a ticket. Storytellers gets VIP discounts for up to three guests; alumni tellers get special rates for attending subsequent shows.

Q: Are translation services provided?

Yes. We have ASL interpretation at our shows; other translation services may be provided as needed if possible. We are deeply grateful to the interpreters who have generously offered their support and services pro bono in the past to get us going, and who now provide interpretation at a discounted rate to create access for the Deaf community.

Q: Who will be my main point of contact before, during, and after the performance/event?

Lisa Bowden, KPI director and Motherfield LIVE creator, and Tina Howard, KPI operations manager and Motherfield LIVE event coordinator, are the primary KPI points of contact before and during the show. During the story preparation process, storytellers are in contact with four to five individual story coaches / alumnae who provide support throughout the project. Together, these folks create the MF team and are available to help, answer questions, and field any concerns.

Q: Are there parameters regarding what types of stories can be told or shared? 

No! Any story that is pushing to be told, that needs saying and hearing is welcome at Motherfield LIVE, as long as content is not slanderous or puts anyone in harms way. Motherfield stories keep it real. They may inspire us, make us cry or laugh, or make us hold on to each other. The content of each story is entirely up to the storyteller herself, as is the extent of sharing they wish to do. Storytellers also determine the amount of craft input or feedback they incorporate into their process. We choose the storyteller, not the story, and welcome whatever they may bring with them. The intention of Motherfield LIVE is to showcase a wide array of perspectives, voices, and styles that can center the various complex realities of all kinds of motherhood, to keep our myriad, invisibilized labors at the forefront. 

Q: Will I be compensated for sharing my story? 

Gratitude gifts are provided to the storytellers, emcee, All interpreters and tech support ($50 cash honorarium and KPI merchandise or books) after the show. While the project does not garner a profit to offer additional compensation, we have cultivated an incredible artistic and technically skilled community to provide story coaching as well as the logistical labor necessary to coordinate rehearsals, workshops, coaching, event preparation, management and production. Our alumnae coaches and KPI support team include accomplished editors, writers, artists, thinkers, performers, leaders, and activists of all kinds who offer wide and varied perspectives and notes that storytellers may use to shape their piece. Additionally, KPI provides one-on-one story support, listening, and notes when someone wishes to have additional input or cannot make a scheduled practice session. The series doesn’t hire writers or performers to perform existing work.

Got a question not covered here? Reach out to Tina@KorePress.Org, she’ll be happy to chat with you.

Check out the brave, beautiful storytelling sisters (along with some of their videos) from the ’19-20 Motherfield season:  April 2019,  August 2019, October 2019January 2020, March 2020, May 2020.

Simply search the website to read the phenomenal original essay series using Notes from the Motherfield.

Listen to the interview about the widely embraced series with Motherfield creator Lisa Bowden on KXCI Community Radio’s Artistories. Notes from the Motherfield LIVE