2019 Fundraiser underway!

This festival only takes place because of donations from you, your friends, and your community. If you can, please donate what you can, and more importantly spread the word!

click here: fundraiser link!


Speak Up, Rise Up is coming back for its 3rd iteration. We will be changing up the format a bit, in hopes of bringing together community and performers in a more collaborative and conscious way.

This year the festival will take place over 3 weekends in October, in 3 different venues, in 3 different boroughs. We want to bring the stories out to more people and different communities than the past 2 years.

The 2019 lineup & tickets are now live! Click below to see all the shows and wonderful performers in this year’s festival!

2019 Lineup and Tickets!

Speak Up, Rise Up is a storytelling festival that aims to amplify the voices of communities and people we don’t get to hear from.  Through live, personal storytelling, we combine both traditional and non-traditional storytellers on the big stage for curated events that share personal experiences.  The first festival was held in August 2017 at the off-Broadway Theater, the Connelly Theater. 

Over 100 people took the stage throughout the week.  The shows highlighted diversity in subject matter - immigration stories, stories of LGBTQ rights, stories of incarcerated people; and diversity of performers – the festival featured a majority of female performers and majority people of color.  There were 7 community partners – Planned Parenthood NYC, Lady Parts Justice League, NYC Veteran’s Alliance, Razom for Ukraine, the Muslim Community Network, Theater of the Oppressed, and the Future Project – who all shared personal stories from their membership.  These organizations were also offered personal storytelling workshops to their members, which were run prior to the festival. 

The Veterans Alliance, 2018 Photo by Dana Trunk

The Veterans Alliance, 2018
Photo by Dana Trunk


To create a network of stories, sharing, and workshops to elevate disenfranchised communities’ stories via personal storytelling.  Through live events, workshops, and connection to local community groups to tie people to community actions. Providing a space for people to develop, express, and share their stories that we don’t get to hear from.


A national network of stories, workshops, and live events that bring together people and causes.  We will offer storytelling workshops to various community groups in preparation of the next live festival.  The digital platform will host prior stories, and provide updates to community partner actions and causes to keep the network updated.    

Photo by Dana Trunk

Photo by Dana Trunk


·      In 2017, our community partners included: Planned Parenthood NYC, Lady Parts Justice League, the Future Project, the Veteran’s Alliance NYC, Theatre of the Oppressed, the Muslim Community Network, and Razom for Ukraine. 

·      Our sponsors included: Fwd.Us, the I Am An Immigrant Campaign, We Get Depressed, Babeland NYC, and Lagunitas Brewing. 

·      Our media partners included: Millennial Politics, the Action Group Network, Civic Hall, the Defiant Network, with additional promotion by NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. 


Stage The Change Photo by Dana Trunk

Stage The Change
Photo by Dana Trunk