Galley Tables Co-Founder Looks Back at Project’s Beginnings

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Once every month, intrepid members of the Kodiak community step onto a stage and tell a story. The project, called Galley Tables, challenges storytellers to shape their tales around a theme, and that often leads to unexpected results. One of the founders, Brianna Gibbs, says not only are the stories surprising, but the storytellers often surprise themselves too.

“We’ve had people walk up on stage absolutely terrified, shaking, and they rock it. They just leave people standing, applauding, and it’s awesome to see them get that confidence and then also to have them be able to share such a personal story with their community.”

Gibbs says the inspiration for Galley Tables came to her and a couple of friends when they were in Juneau during the legislative session a few years ago.

“Juneau already has a very well-established storytelling program called Mud Rooms, so they took me to one of those events, and I think it was pretty unanimous, the three of us said this needs to come to Kodiak. It was wonderful. It was everything we wanted out of a community event, and so we came back to Kodiak when they were done with the legislative session and sort of conspired amongst ourselves and drew in a couple of other people from the community.”

She says she and the other organizers held Kodiak’s first Galley Tables in 2012.

“We were pretty certain that our family and friends would show up, if nothing else to support us and maybe the family and friends of the storytellers, but we filled the drama pod and have ever since, so it’s pretty exceptional to see people turn out and like this and to have continuous people sign up to be storytellers.”

Gibbs says while they sometimes have open storytelling spots until right before the event, it’s rare that they have an open spot in the audience. In fact, Gibbs says they’ve had to turn people away at the door at almost all the shows last year because of fire code and occupancy limits.

“Which is bittersweet in the sense that we don’t want people to turn away. We want you to see the show, we want you to be able to, but at the same time, it’s sweet that we have so many people that want to be there, and want to see it. Kind of the joke is that we’re the only event in Kodiak that starts on time, because we’re full on time.”

She says that’s why they’re looking around town for a new space that will fit more people. The theme for this coming Galley Tables will be Man’s Best Friend. If you’d like to attend the event on Friday, it’ll be in the Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium Drama Pod. Gibbs says the show begins at 7:30 p.m. and the doors open a 7, but it’d be a good idea to show early in order to make sure you get a seat.                              

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