If you’ve ever sat at a dinner party with a good storyteller, you know what it means to be a moth in sight of a flame. On any topic, mundane or sublime, a true storyteller can compel listeners to join them in their world, and bequeath them with an experience they now share.

The Moth is a national nonprofit devoted to just this kind of experience, a well-crafted story that transforms isolated happenings into shared experience.

On April 7, the San Antonio Book Festival (SABF) will bring The Moth Mainstage to the Majestic Theatre for an evening of storytelling. Mixing performance with documentary-style truth-telling, the event will bring five storytellers to the Book Festival weekend to participate in one of the United States’ celebrated traditions.

The five participants in each Mainstage event speak on a given theme. They are selected to represent a range of views, and shows are known for unique and surprising perspectives. The focus is on the craft of storytelling itself, drawing the audience in to an experience.

Topics range from the universal power of love to voting for the first time to family traditions to scandalous discoveries. The storytellers hail from around the world, but because they are only given five minutes, the stories have to keep to a human scale.

The Moth has tapped into people’s love of a good story, first hand accounts, and the voices that contribute to the unity and diversity of American culture. What began in New York City has blossomed into a national network. Now, in addition to the Maintstage, a curated experience, The Moth also sponsors StorySLAMs, open mic “competitions” around the country.

The Moth has presented more than 20,000 of its note-free personal accounts through the Mainstage, as well as Moth Radio Hour on 400 stations, and The Moth podcast which is downloaded more than 30 million times a year.

“Everyone has a story,” said Katy Flato, SABF executive director. “Whether it’s the authors featured at our Book Festival who wrote their stories in books or the people who take The Moth stage and share their experiences through the age-old tradition of oral storytelling. That’s what makes The Moth Mainstage a perfect event for the Book Festival to showcase. SABF is very proud to include this event as part of our fifth anniversary celebration.”

Tickets are $44 general admission; $20 for students; and $100 for a VIP ticket. The VIP package includes premier seating and the opportunity to meet and greet The Moth storytellers and producers after the show at the exclusive VIP party for SABF authors and sponsors, which starts at 9 p.m.

Bekah McNeel

Bekah McNeel is a native San Antonian. You can also find her at her blog, FreeBekah.com, on Twitter @BekahMcneel, and on Instagram @wanderbekah.