In From Where I Stand, the Orpheum Theatre Group undergoes deep collaboration with participants from a community or school organization who share their personal stories from their point of view. By collaborating in an artistic process, participants bring their individual perspectives together to create an original performance to share. By providing a platform and resources, we seek to elevate stories in our community and encourage dialogue and transformation through the power of the arts.
"From Where I Stand asks everyone (storytellers, teaching artists, and audiences alike) to listen with curiosity and share in what makes us human; both what makes us the same and what makes us beautifully different. When we listen that deeply to the real experiences of our community, we are taking a stand — we are demonstrating that the voices of our community are essential to who we are." — Taylor St. John, Director of Education and Engagement
In 2022, From Where I Stand was made in partnership with the following organizations: Refugee Empowerment Program, Center for Transforming Communities, Orange Mound Arts Council, Bickford Community Center (through Creative Aging), and Middle College High School.
Please note that From Where I Stand stories are created and shared by the participants you see, in their own words and voices, from their own points of view and the Orpheum embraces all stories. Some material contains mature themes.
“This is my story. I feel so good because what has been in all of us ladies all of these years, we’re finally going to be heard with no one passing judgement. I feel a load off my soul. This is the time for our stories to be heard.”
Elaine, Adult Participant from the Bickford Senior Center
(The Gospel According to Bickford, 2022)
“It makes me feel like I have a voice. It makes me feel like I can hear myself and everyone else can see me using my voice.”
Abyan, Youth Participant with the Refugee Empowerment Program
(My Family Is My Heart, 2022)
“I spent a lot of time not revealing myself to people. There’s people that have known me my entire who have never seen my express myself like this. I’m learning a lot about people who have been around me for years that I’ve seen in passing.”
Desi, Adult Participant from the Orange Mound Arts Council
(My Home/My Hood/My Sacred Haven, 2022)
“I felt like I had someone who was listening to me. When you are talking to other people and you know they are going to respect what you say, and they’re going to listen to you, and even be honest about what you are talking about. It gives you more motivation and makes you more stronger. Every day that I came here, I didn’t come out the same way I came. It made me feel like I was ready to take on anything in life.”
Bertrand, Youth Participant from the Refugee Empowerment Program
(Refugee Portraits, 2021)
"Being a part of From Where I Stand and sharing my story means that I am doing something right. It is a blessing to be able to lift my voice and extend it as far as possible to be able to help someone else who may need to hear what is being said."
Adrian, Youth Participant from Overton High School Partner
(Lost and Found, 2020)
What happens when your life seems to hit a wall or obstacle so big that you completely crash? Do you give yourself space to crumble or do you rise to conquer the challenge? Meet Matthew, Jermani, Showen, Kelby, Mya, Phalon, Kellie, Contariyon, and Jordan – students from Middle College High School as they share true stories of life crashing down on them and how they overcame its challenges to conquer the world and succeed!
What does it mean to come of age? Meet Edrionna, KJ, Kaleb, Felix, Lily, Jonathan, Nigel, Olivia, Judeah, and Jasmine—students from Middle College High School as they share true stories of how they’ve navigated growing up, figuring out who they want to be, and finding peace.
What does it mean to put your trust and faith in God? Meet Elaine, Mary, Daisy, Flora, Lottie, Barbara, and Jean--senior citizens from the Bickford Community Center as they share their stories of loss, love, and what it means to live each day with gratitude.
What makes a family a family? Is it blood relation? Is it culture? Is it love? Meet Abyan, Dowlai, Lorraine, Ibrahim, D’Jadda, Carine, Nyawech, Dina, Mariam, Leah, Flora, and Wailes—an intergenerational group of refugees who tell stories of how sacrifice, separation, and joy have kept them connected to their families of origin while creating newfound families here in Memphis.
What was it like to grow up in historic Black neighborhoods before integration? Meet Barbara, Hazell, Mary, Gail, Desi, Darlene, and L.H.—elders from Orange Mound and South Memphis who share stories of the sacred Black neighborhoods that brought them up and what happened when those neighborhoods were systematically torn apart.
2021- Courageous explores stories of courage. How do you keep your dreams alive when faced with obstacles? What does it mean to face your fears to become your most true self? Youth storytellers Jeannelcia, Abdul, and Davida perform real stories of bravery and resilience in the face of adversity.
In partnership with the Refugee Empowerment Program this podcast asks us to look beyond the headlines and see the real people behind them. In March 2020, youth from R.E.P. were rehearsing a live storytelling performance, but when the pandemic hit, their performance was postponed…until now. Meet Natasha, Kowsar, Solange, Eunice, Bertrand, Layla, Ache, Hibo, and Nasteho as they share their real-life stories in their own words.
During Virtual StoryFest 2020, Tyler, Arionna, Monte, Nivea, Adrian, Sheniah, Klenisha, Maze, and Jazsmine told stories in their own words. This filmed storytelling performance (in partnership with Overton High School) explores stories of being lost and found. What does it mean to be lost? What does it mean to lose ourselves, relationships, and ideas as we develop? What does it mean to find your passion, your friends, your sense of identity?
Youth stories of HOME: Where is home? How is home defined by people and geography? How are our identities tied to the places we call home? What does it mean to leave home? How do we treat people who have left their homelands? How do we infuse culture and community into new homelands?