The Moth Mainstage

The Moth Mainstage

Past Event: Thursday, May 23, 2019

At Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

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SAL Presents

Each Moth Mainstage features simple, old-fashioned storytelling, by five wildly divergent raconteurs who develop and shape their stories with The Moth’s directors. This year’s theme: High Anxiety! Our storytellers: Robinah Babirye, Stephanie Land, Susan Lieu, Monte Montepare, and Abhishek Shah.

The Moth – hailed as “New York’s hottest and hippest literary ticket” by The Wall Street Journal – is an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. The Moth has presented more than three thousand stories, told live and without notes, by people from all walks of life to standing-room-only crowds worldwide.

The Moth Mainstage will be hosted by R. Eric Thomas, the host of The Moth in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.


R. Eric Thomas is an award-winning playwright and the host of The Moth in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. He is a Senior Staff Writer for, where he writes a daily humor column on politics and pop culture. In addition to and ELLE magazine, his writing has appeared in the New York Times, Man Repeller, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Magazine, and more. His debut essay collection, Here For It, is forthcoming from Ballantine Books.


Robinah Babirye is an advocate for young people living with HIV and very passionate about the issues affecting the Girl Child. She lives in Uganda and volunteers with several networks of young people, especially those living with HIV. Robinah is a graduate of The Moth Global Community Program, and began crafting this story in a 2018 Moth workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa. She can be regularly seen and heard on radio, TV talk shows, social media, print media, and in school outreaches, speaking out on issues that affect young people.

Stephanie Land is the instant best selling author of MAID: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive. As a freelancer, her work has been featured in The New York Times, New York Review of Books, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Vox, Salon, and many other outlets. She focuses on social and economic justice as a writing fellow through Community Change. She lives in Missoula, Montana.

Susan Lieu is a Vietnamese-American playwright, solo performer and activist whose parents are Vietnamese refugee nail salon workers. Her first theatrical solo show, 140 LBS: HOW BEAUTY KILLED MY MOTHER, directed by Sara Porkalob, premiered in February 2019 at Theatre Off Jackson with a sold out run and is currently on a 5-City West Coast Tour. Her work has been showcased at On the Boards, RISK!, Bumbershoot, and The World Economic Forum. She has been profiled on KUOW 94.9KING5 NewsSeattle Weekly, and The Seattle Channel.  Her work is amplified by STG, RealSelf, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture, and Artist Trust. Lieu will bring 140 LBS back to Seattle for an encore performance in July 2019. With The Seattle Public Library and Book-It Theatre, she recently adapted and played the main character in The Best We Could Do, a graphic novel on the Vietnamese refugee experience. Lieu has a BA from Harvard, an MBA from Yale and is the co-founder of Socola Chocolatier.

Monte Montepare is a mountain guide, comedian and storyteller who grew up in Breckenridge, Colorado. At the ripe age of 20, he and his best friend moved into his truck and drove to Alaska. For the better part of the last decade he lived in McCarthy, AK taking people on the adventures of a lifetime as one of the co-owners of Kennicott Wilderness Guides. Even though he’s based out of LA these days, the Wrangell Mountains will always feel like home. He’s a three-time Moth StorySLAM Winner, a Moth GrandSLAM Champion and was recently Keynote Presenter at the 2018 Ouray Ice Climbing Festival.

Abhishek Shah is a biomedical engineer, standup comedian and a storyteller. A native of India, Shah is an engineer by day and one of the fastest rising comedians, actors and storytellers in New England by night. He’s a regular in the storytelling and standup scenes, performing regularly at fund-raising comedy nights, comedy festivals, comedy clubs, theaters and storytelling shows. He has been featured in stand-up comedy festivals like the Boston Comedy Festival and Comix in Foxwoods and his stories have been featured on the O’Dark 30 radio show in Texas as well as on The Moth Radio Hour. He’s been featured in the Quincy Patriot Ledger and the Harvard Crimson newspapers when he won the Emerging Storyteller award for entertaining audiences with his wit and humor.

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Event Details

Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

200 University Street
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Know Before You Go


 The evening will feature five storytellers telling their true tales live and without notes. This event will include one intermission.


Grand Patron & Patron Reception Following the Event on the Promenade!

Grand Patron and Patron ticket holders, join us after the event for a chance to meet the storytellers at the post-event reception on the Promenade. Ushers will direct you. The reception will begin immediately following the event.

Transportation & Parking

This event will be held in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, the largest event space at Benaroya Hall. 

Benaroya Hall is located at 200 University Street, directly across Second Avenue from the Seattle Art Museum. The public entrance to Benaroya Hall is along Third Avenue.

  • From Southbound I-5
    Take the Union Street exit (#165B). Continue onto Union Street and proceed approximately five blocks to Second Avenue. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5
    Exit left onto Seneca Street (exit #165). Proceed two blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Seneca Street exit and move into the left lane. Turn left onto First Avenue and proceed one block. Take the next right (at the Hammering Man sculpture) onto University Street. Continue up the hill two blocks to Third Avenue. Turn left onto Third Avenue. Continue to the next block and turn left onto Union Street. Make the next left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Southbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Denny Way/Downtown exit. Keep right and cross over Denny Way onto Wall Street. Proceed approximately five blocks and turn left onto Second Avenue. Continue south on Second Avenue approximately eight blocks. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.

By Bus
Benaroya Hall is served by numerous bus routes. Digital reader boards along Third Avenue display real-time bus arrival information. For details and trip planning tools, call Metro Rider Information at 206.553.3000 (voice) or 206.684.1739 (TDD), or visit Metro online. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, served by bus and light rail, has a stop just below the Hall (University Street Station).

The 430-car underground garage at Benaroya Hall provides direct access from the enclosed parking area into the Hall via elevators leading to The Boeing Company Gallery. Enter the garage on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street. Maximum vehicle height is 6’8″. Blink charging stations are available for electric vehicles. The event rate is $16.

Parking is also available at:

  • The Cobb Building (enter on University Street between Third and Fourth avenues).
  • The Russell Investments Center (enter on Union Street between First and Second avenues).
  • There are many other garages within a one-block radius of Benaroya Hall, along with numerous on-street parking options.


SAL is for everyone. We want all audience members to be able to experience our lectures and readings regardless of accessibility concerns. Accessibility services at our venues are provided at no cost to ticket holders. If you find you need to sit closer to the stage to accommodate your needs but find the cost of a Patron ticket prohibitive, then please contact us—we will seat you where you need to be, regardless of cost.

Open Captioning occurs at every event that takes place at Benaroya Hall. It is also always available upon request for all events in our other halls, with a two-week minimum notice. To make a request for Open Captioning services, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10.

Assisted Listening Devices, including Hearing Loop Assisted Listening Systems, are available at all of our venues, with the exception of Broadway Performance Hall. If you would like more information, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10.

ASL-Interpretated Events are always available upon request, with a two-week minimum notice. To make a request for ASL interpretation, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10.

Wheelchair Accessible Ticketing is available in all sections at our venues, and and our venues are fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. If you would like more information, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10.

For any further questions or requests, or to offer Seattle Arts & Lectures feedback on how we can be more accessible and inclusive, please reach out to our Patron Services Manager at or 206.621.2230×10.


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