Hilary Trudell (‘12) is the founder and leader of The Yarn, a storytelling venture based in Little Rock that uses the power of story to amplify voices, build understanding, and create space for human connection.
Trudell, who also works as Director of Local Programming and Regional Outreach at the Clinton School, has produced many shows through The Yarn since its founding three years ago. The Yarn has helped individuals tell their stories on a range of topics, including motherhood, mental health, adoption, sexual assault, and LGBTQ support. Trudell and her team have coached nearly 200 people in efforts to help share their stories succinctly, effectively, and with impact.
Starting on Thursday, August 27, The Yarn will partner with Arkansas PBS to make the its workshops available for free to the public for the first time with two virtual opportunities. The workshops will allow participants to share and shape their true-life experiences of living, working, and dreaming in the U.S. for PBS American Portrait’s national conversation about what it means to be an American today. Launched in January, PBS American Portrait is a national storytelling project aligned with PBS’s 50th anniversary celebration. It is the organization’s most ambitious multi-platform project in its history.
The first workshop, scheduled for Thursday, August 27 at 7 p.m., will invite participants to share their personal hopes, dreams, and successes with the prompt, “My American dream …”
On Saturday, August 29 at 10 a.m., the second workshop will allow participants to explore career paths, proudest accomplishments, sacrifices, and challenges like unemployment with the prompt, “To me, work means …”
Online registration is required.
“The goal is that all of these participants will submit their stories to PBS American Portrait,” Trudell said.
Participants in each workshop will learn how to structure their experiences for an audience and connect with others around these shared themes. Participants will leave the workshop with the makings of a story ready to post to the PBS American Portrait website.
“We’re talking about storytelling so that, ultimately, people can submit their stories to American Portrait,” Trudell said. I’m giving an overview of why storytelling is important and how we connect with people through story. I’m going to be giving them tools about story and story structure and then they’ll get an opportunity to practice their stories with others.”
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.