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.

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.

By Car

  • 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 I-5 via Westbound I-90
    Take the 2C exit for I-5 North. Follow signs for Madison Street/Convention Place and merge right onto Seventh Avenue. Turn left onto Madison Street. Proceed three blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue four 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.

By Public Transit (Bus & Light Rail)
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 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.


Open Captioning is an option for people who have hearing loss, where a captioning screen displaying the words that are spoken or sung is placed on stage. This option is present at every event at Benaroya Hall in our 2019/20 Season. For digital streams of online events, all pre-recorded and live online events will have either open or closed captioning.

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are devices that people with hearing loss use in conjunction with their hearing device (hearing aids or cochlear implants). Benaroya Hall has an infrared hearing system, which transmits sound by light beams. Headsets are available in The Boeing Company Gallery coat check and the Head Usher stations in both lobbies.

Sign Language Interpretation is available upon request for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals. To make a request for interpretation, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10, or select “Sign Language Interpretation” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process and we will contact you to confirm details. Please note: we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure interpretation.

Wheelchair Accessible Seating and Accessible Restrooms are available in all sections at our venues, and our venues are fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. Among other features, Benaroya Hall has designated parking spaces adjacent to elevators in their parking garage. Elevators with Braille signage go to all levels within the Hall. To reserve seating for a specific mobility concern, you may select “Wheelchair Accessible or Alternative Seating Options” during ticket checkout, and we will contact you to confirm details. For more details on their accessibility features, click here.

Guide and service dogs are welcome.

Gender neutral restrooms are available.

We are pleased to offer these accessibility services at our venues, and they are provided at no additional cost to ticket holders. Please contact us with any questions and feedback about how we can be more accessible and inclusive. Our Patron Services Manager is available at, or Monday-Friday from 10:00am – 5:00pm at 206.621.2230×10.

For more accessibility information, please head to If you would like to make accessibility arrangements you do not see listed here, please contact our box office or select “Other Accommodations” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process, and we will contact you to confirm details.


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