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SPARK storytelling

Stage Left's SPARK storytelling series seeks to bring the community together through the telling of personal stories that excite, entertain, touch, teach and pass on the unique culture of the Rust Belt and the Ohio River Valley.

Join us as we share our true stories

on the theme of

 "Beg. Borrow. Steal?"

We've all been there!

desperately in need and desperate enough

to do about anything to get it.

 7 PM JUNE 8th

$10 General Admission at the Door

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SPARK Archives
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Help revive the art of oral storytelling in Northeast Ohio, the Ohio River Valley and upper Appalachia by mentoring community members to share personal stories that reflect the history, unique struggles and successes of the region. 



Each event has a professional storyteller to help coach our amateurs. who will also share a story at the end of each storytelling showcase.


Each storyteller will have several workshopping sessions with our professional coach. These sessions are intended to help polish stories and, maybe, discover hidden meanings within them.


Each SPARK event will feature a theme of the night. The storytellers must stick to the theme, even loosely. Themes will be posted prior to open submissions.


One rehearsal will be scheduled the night before the main event. This rehearsal is an opportunity for the tellers to get comfortable in the space, and for coaches to give any last-minute tips.


A call for submissions will occur several weeks prior to the event. The submission form will ask several important questions and will also provide space for the teller to write out their story for approval.


Invite your friends, family, coworkers and anyone else who supported you during the last several weeks. It's time for the big event!


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Kandace Cleland

KANDACE CLELAND has been telling stories since she was a five-year-old trying to explain the broken cookie jar. At an early age she recognized the power of stories to help her get in and out of predicaments and take her on the rollercoaster ride of life.


She became particularly interested in the art of story to transform, inspire and create communities when she visited Phoenix, Arizona and attended a USA Today storytelling event. Her son-in-law, Will Flannigan had advised that storytelling would be the perfect addition to the offerings at the Trinity Playhouse, but that all consuming and relentless season of productions kept Kandace busy- until she fell backstage during the Christmas show in December of 2021. Confined to bed with a broken humerus, she distracted herself with stories from the PBS Moth Story Hour and the SPEAK UP podcast of Matthew Dicks, with whom she was privileged to have some Zoom conversations.


As Kandace honed her Art of Storytelling OAC funding came through and Stage Left was able to launch the SPARK initiative. She is very excited to lead out as a coach in our April 2023 cohort and looks forward to sharing her story titled “Wait until your father gets home.”

Kandace received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Kent State University. She has taught grades 5-8  at Canfileld Village Middle School and served as artistic director for college, high school and community theatre productions.



WILL FLANNIGAN is a multimedia journalist, writer and stand-up comedian. 

He's worked alongside master storytellers, of numerous disciplines, to help hold government accountable, shed light on injustices and document undercovered communities.

Will studied creative writing and English literature at Kent State University. He also has lectured on writing and multimedia at the Walter Cronkite Journalism School at Arizona State University. He currently works for The Wall Street Journal.

He enjoys photography, film, hiking, cycling and walking his dog, Arlo. He's also an avid reader of non-fiction and creative non-fiction.

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