'Listen To Your Mother' Founder Ann Imig Reflects on 5 Year Anniversary

The annual Mother’s Day series of live readings started here in Madison and is now in thirty-two cities

The live readings bring together mothers with a wide range of stories; Ann Imig (inset)

The live readings bring together mothers with a wide range of stories; Ann Imig (inset)

PHOTO COURTESY OF LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER

What sparked the idea for the show?
When I attended the blogging conference BlogHer in 2009, they held a live-reading event that I found captivating. The simplicity of a reader speaking into a microphone before the typically online community—giving voice to his or her story, while the audience bore witness—moved me on several levels: that of performer, social worker, writer and fellow human. LTYM evolved because my urge to read my own work and create a show happened to swell in March 2010, and the former ad sales exec in me together with the exhausted mom exec in me realized that Mother’s Day made an ideal vehicle for a motherhood-writing celebration.

What was that first show like, and how has it evolved since then?
The first show came together in eight weeks from concept to show day. I knew I had enough writer friends for the show, before I even held auditions. Then the people who came to those first Madison auditions blew us out of the water with their stories and voices, and I knew that my vision would come to fruition for that show—and surpass it.

Now it’s in thirty-two cities! What’s it like being a part of something so big?
One of the richest parts of the LTYM experience lies in the extraordinary group of women (and a few men), director, producers and alumni who make up our community. LTYM has created friendships, but also job opportunities and life-changing moments for many of us because of this ever-expanding sisterhood based on creative collaboration and a shared reverence for the story inside us all.

What differentiates the Madison show from events elsewhere?
Madison will always be the birthplace of LTYM, and I think you can feel that homegrown love when you come to the Barrymore. One of the reasons that LTYM has grown so quickly is because we rely on hyper-locality. In other words, we believe that only local people know how best to deliver LTYM to their community, so each show delivers a unique authenticity specific to their city.

How do you choose the readings to include? And what makes the best ones?
The best story is usually the one only you can tell. Instead of telling us generally what “Motherhood Is,” give us your specific story of motherhood ... We welcome any variation on the theme
so long as motherhood remains the star and the story and words are your own.

Listen to Your Mother takes place May 11 at the Barrymore Theatre. For details, visit listentoyourmothershow.com/madison.

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