Performance Art

Gather Ye Round

Local performance group BooTown wants to tell your story.

By Nick Esquer August 11, 2015

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Grown-Up Storytime reader Kim Head

Rudyard’s British Pub in Montrose is—how can I put this?—eclectic. From the painfully entertaining open mic comedy on Mondays to the specialty group meetings (we’ll let your mind fill in the blank on that one) on weekends, the watering hole never ceases to surprise with its weekly line-up of events, concerts and more. Enhancing that something-for-everyone repertoire is Grown-Up Story Time, a monthly storytelling set from the good people of BooTown. The next installment hits Tuesday, August 18, with sets at 8 and 10 p.m.

“We knew we wanted to do some sort of storytelling event,” says Emily Hynds, co-founder and co-artistic director of BooTown. Hynds and fellow UH theater pals started the performing arts group in June 2007 after completing undergrad studies. “It was supposed to be temporary while we waited to get into grad school. I actually didn’t get in so I just kept doing this.”

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Reader Cris Skelton

BooTown became a platform for the group’s own endeavors, breaking away from conventional theater in Houston and offering different ways to experience the city’s burgeoning performing arts scene. “We didn’t want to do work with any of the existing theater companies. We decided to start it up as a vehicle for our own projects,” says Hynds.

Hynds wanted to offer an old school microphone-driven segment other than a poetry slam, which she saw as having reached its saturation point in Montrose. Thus, Grown-Up Story Time was born. The show, which always lands on the third Tuesday of every month, features seven pieces of original written works read aloud by designated readers. The group pulls together online submissions and matches the winners with personalities of their readers. The result is a night filled with hearty laughs and hard truths.

From the submissions—and they get a ton every month—the group chooses poignant stories that have the ability to connect with audience members. From stories of abuse to humorous coming-of-age tales, BooTown doesn’t discriminate when it comes to the stories they tell. “There’s nothing we don’t really turn away. And there always seems to be a bodily function story in there,” Hynds laughs.

The group has gained plenty of street cred since its inception and now has grown from one showing to two sold-out shows on Tuesdays, even having to turn some people away at the 8 o’clock showing. And it’s all thanks to the ages-old custom of simple storytelling.

“The most rewarding feedback we get is from writers," says Hynds, who sees BooTown as providing an opportunity for audience members and writers alike to achieve a sort of catharsis. "If you’re shy or you’re not comfortable in telling your story, you can still have it told.”

Grown-Up Story Time. $5. 8 and 10. Rudyard’s British Pub, 2010 Waugh Dr.

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