What is it?

Yarn is a space for people to connect through their stories. Come ready to listen and, if you’d like to tell, check the current theme and the guidelines, then email us at We’d love to hear from you!

Guidelines for Tellers

Step 1: Pick a Story

We want true stories from real people, told in everyday language. So, what stories does the theme spark from your life? Pick one. It can be funny, sad, puzzling, cheeky, thoughtful, mysterious: whatever!

Step 2: Prepare

  • Write. Your story can be up to six minutes, which is about 850 words. If you want an editor, email your draft to a week beforehand.
  • Jump right in. Don’t introduce everything, but begin in the middle. Questions raised by the beginning can be answered later in the story. See what happens if you delete the first few paragraphs: you might find yourself with a story which is short, sharp and super-sweet.
  • Don’t confuse us with too many names. If there are lots of people in your story, use characteristics to identify them instead e.g. the acrobat, the big sister, the quiet one.
  • Find a snappy ending! Something which leaves us delighted, questioning, laughing, sad, intrigued or otherwise engaged.
  • Ensure content is appropriate for a general audience. There will be children and young people present. A hint of spice is fine; an explicit story is not okay, and will be cut off mid-story.
  • If you don’t want to write it out, practice at home to make sure you don’t spend six minutes waffling. Write down bullet points to stay on track.

Step 3: Practice

  • Practice with a trusted person. Ask them if there is anything which is unclear, or which they want to hear more about; ask them what can be cut out.
  • Delete any highfalutin words. We want real stories by real people: the sort of stories and language you might hear around a kitchen table.
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. The more you practice, the more natural it will sound.

Step 4: Present

  • Relax! This is not a group of critics hovering with red pens. These people want to hear your story. You are in the powerful position of being able and willing to give them a gift.
  • If you feel anxious, think of yourself as speaking to just one or two people you trust. You might flick your eyes to them as you tell.
  • Speak slowly! If you stumble, stop, take a breath, then pick up where you left off.
  • If there are more stories than time, we will draw the stories out of a hat. There is a chance that your story might not be told – better luck next time!

What this is not

  • It’s not primarily therapeutic. Therefore, sensitive topics and vulnerable disclosures are unlikely to be appropriate here.
  • It’s not a discussion. Therefore, the story must stand alone.
  • It’s your story, not somebody else’s. Therefore, you need to take responsibility for what you say, and be careful how you refer to others. In particular, please don’t ‘explain’ or caricature another person’s identity or culture; don’t use their identity or culture as the punchline; don’t use fake accents; and don’t make generalisations about groups of people.
  • It’s not a political, theological or ideological platform. Therefore, while the story might refer to political, theological or ideological ideas, these are secondary to the narrative.
  • It’s not a rant. Therefore, if the story is offensive, hateful, abusive, vilifying or aggressive, you will be cut off.

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