Allegory was born out of the understanding that storytelling is therapy for the soul. The human experience is vastly different for everyone and yet there is a common thread through out life we all share. The need for connection and belonging.
Individual lessons in life taking each of us on journeys to places we never expected to go facing hardships we never could have imagined in our wildest dreams or nightmares. The soul laid bare, vulnerable and in need of empathy, grace and unconditional love. Our stories help shape our character and the become the very essence of who we are...the soul.
Producer, Julie Smith, is a Seattle transplant from Eastern, WA. Born into a large family with a single mom and 8 siblings, she found her way through John R. Rogers High School, Spokane Community College, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Western Governors University & Green River Community College. She currently heads Meraki Productions, a non profit production company seeking to bring important works of art to the stage.
Julies love for the stage began as an adolescent, her mother minored in Theater at Whitworth College and the family spent evenings playing improve games in the family living room. Julie studied theater in high school and in college and has several acting credits in the greater Seattle/Tacoma Area. They include: Sylvia, A Christmas Story, Blithe Spirit, The Tempest, Guys & Dolls, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, If Spiders Made Honey, Its a Watchamadozie and was blessed to audition for the Julliard school and more.
As a woman, minority, Christian and part of the LGBT community, Julie takes great honor and pride in representing people from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. A through a life time of creativity and service, Julie considers building relationships through forming deep connections to be the highest form of confidence.
Julie currently resides in south King County with her family.
meet the storytellers
Coming from all cultural background, beliefs and professions, each session combines a thoughtfully cultivated group of "The Storytellers", each bringing a unique experience to the stage. Sharing some of their most intimate and personal journeys through life, love, relationships, trauma & tragedy this collection of provocative & riveting stories will take you on an emotional roller coaster through unimaginable pain, heartache, soul searching and then lift your spirit through triumph and unimaginable, incomprehensible joy.
ALLEGORY producer and Storyteller, Julie Smith is a Seattle area transplant born and raised in Spokane, WA. Julie received her A.A.S. from Spokane Community College, studied Multi-Media Design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Business Administration at Western Governors University & H.R. at Green River Community College. Julie is the co-founder of the youth organization dedicated to anti bullying, self-esteem and civic engagement, The Power Cave, former Marketing Director of Seattle Fashion Week, LGBT activist, unabashed feminist and champion for youth, race, gender, female rights & equality. A creative in every sense of the word, Julies passions also include art, design and acting. She has several theater credits to her name.
A true servant of the people Julies Christian upbringing has empowered her to seek opportunities to help and support people in need of love, friendship, knowledge and emotional breakthrough. This same background also created a space for internal conflict as Julie navigated violent relationships, fought the demons of depression, childhood cancer and her own sexual identity. She believes that through reflecting on our past experiences and sharing our personal histories we can change or even save lives.
Born and raised in the small city of East Chicago, Indiana, and now residing in San Diego, California, Joe McClain Jr(JoeMac) has established a name for himself in the word of spoken word over the last 10 years. Sharing the stage with such big names as Rudy Francisco and Def Poet Ise Lyfe, he is the 2018 Inland Empire(CA)slam champion. He has opened for R&B singers Joe and Jon B., and has performed in multiple venues worldwide, including Guam. Additionally, he is the author of nine books. Best known for his unfiltered, gritty approach, he unique style has captured fans across multiple platforms.
BERNARD BUTLER Jr.
Bernard R Butler Jr was born in LaPLata, Maryland but raised in Dahlgren, Virginia. This country boy's dreams had no ceiling! Setting off to Seattle 2004, his dreams began of dancing, acting, modeling, and traveling world wide. Bernard has danced with the likes of Recording Artist Ciara during the Monday Night football Halftime show. He Has been a body double for Richard Sherman when he played for the Seattle Seahawks & Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers. He has modeled in many fashion weeks including New York Fashion Week. It wasn't until traveling to all 7 Continents is when Bernard realized what his true calling was: To one day be a Pilot. His journey has not always been glamorous. From Leaving home from Virginia at 18 alone with only $200 to his name to travel across the country to becoming homeless at one point or two as well. You can find Bernard always smiling, positive, always willing to help anyone in need and ready to take on more dreams. He now sets his new goal of being a Pilot to one day bridge the gap of making traveling even easier for those who don't get the opportunity to see the world.
kilam tel aviv
While many poems come off like a lecture, or someone airing out their grievances, Kilam’s poetry is a relationship. He grapples the harsh realities of the world with caution, ferocity and the honesty needed to appreciate the complexity of such topics. Though draining, we empathizes with Kilam’s frustration because he needs that empathy and we too should feel frustrated. His writing isn't about popularity, but about effectiveness. Born of Nigerian descent, Kilam Tel Aviv is a Seattle native. His work merges his pragmatic thinking with a more energetic and flavorful attitude with hints of hip hop and pop culture influences. He hopes that his works will inspire people to think differently about topics they may have had preconceived notion about, to further encourage open minded thinking. Kilam's first chapbook "12th Man: Echoes of the Forgotten Race" is available for purchase now at speakerthoughs.com. You can find more of Kilam's on Word Lit Zine, the anthology "Voices That Matter" and also on Instagram for weekly poems @kilamtelaviv,
After 7 years of teaching in the Highline School District, Marcel stepped out on faith to pursue his passion of Videography & Photography where he birthed his brand "New Focus". With a developing business and heart for his community he has become a staple in Seattle. Four months before his wedding Marcel was shot in the neck and left for dead.This life changing tragedy drastically altered the lives of Marcel and his family. From homelessness to graduating from the Art Institute of Seattle, Marcel has fought against numerous obstacles on the journey of becoming an impressive entrepreneur in the Seattle Area. With a severed spinal cord leaving him paralyzed per his medical team Marcel, family and friends are praying for a miracle.
Rayna Mathis is an arts educator at the Seattle Art Museum. She is passionate about the intersection of community, education, youth and activism. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, viewing art, live music and swing dancing.
volunteer applications available!
Storyteller Applications are NOW OPEN.
Storyteller Application will close March 18, 2019 for the upcoming series IN LIVING COLOR, Stories from the LGBTQ Community.
VOLUNTEER applications will continue to be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
**Applications to be a Storyteller DO NOT require the addition of a completed work. Sharing our stories is a process and all selected storytellers will receive guidance and direction to ensure guidelines are met.
Due to the high number of application submissions, not all stories will be selected at this time. Take heart dear friend, your story matters & may be considered for use at a later date.
Julie Smith, Producer
This is how you help inspire hope....
Meraki Productions is a registered 501(c)3.
ALLEGORY; Stories That Shape the Soul is a ground breaking performance and podcast helping real people share deeply personal experiences. Offering hope and healing through storytelling, ALLEGORY Storytellers lay everything on the stage.
It is through donations from people like you who value the necessity of sharing real life that we intend to change and save lives.
Thank you in advance for your support of our creative platforms to help start a conversation that matters.
We look forward to seeing you in the audience!
-Julie Smith, Producer