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 ELLE.com, where he writes a daily humor column on politics and pop culture. In addition to ELLE.com 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 94.9, KING5 News, Seattle 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.