Galley Tables enters its seventh season tonight

The seventh season of Galley Tables, Kodiak’s winter storytelling series, launches Friday night at the Convention Center. The opening night theme is “Jerryrigged”.

Galley Tables events are historically standing-room only, but Director Sara Loewen says it’s always a challenge finding seven brave storytellers to stand up before an audience of more than 300.

Kathleen McKinney delivers a story during Season 1 of Galley Tables. (Photo by Pam Foreman)

“I think the fear of public speaking is probably up there with spiders and flying as far as people’s fears,” she laughed. “But I also think we have a really warm audience and they’re so generous with laughter and with empathy that I think when people get up on stage, they’re surprised at how fun it is to have all those people cheering you on and listening to every word.”

The idea for Galley Tables was inspired by similar storytelling series around Alaska, like Mudrooms in Juneau and Arctic Entries in Anchorage. The name Galley Tables was Kodiak’s fishing town spin on the idea, says Loewen.

And its been going strong since 2013. At the end of last year’s series, Galley Tables organizers crowdsourced new story themes for this season and picked the ones with the most votes.

Loewen rattled off the list over the phone: “Jerryrigged,” “Mama Said,” “Road Less Traveled,” “Storm Warning,” “For Better or Worse,” “Lost in Translation,” and “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda.”

The Galley Tables team typically does a run-through before the show to give storytellers feedback on their seven-minute yarns. Loewen’s best tip, though? Just be honest.

“I think it’s not meant to be a performance,” she said. “It’s just people’s stories, so they don’t have to be theatrical. I think people just respond to honesty and to experiences and shared experiences living on Kodiak.”

There are still two slots open for tonight’s show, and Loewen says they’ll accept impromptu storytellers right out of the audience. “Sometimes the stories are a little less polished, but actually some great stories have come from spontaneous inspiration,” she said.

Sign-ups for the next six shows will also be open at tonight’s Galley Tables.

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