Michelle Buteau.
Michelle Buteau. (Submitted photos)

BRATTLEBORO — Everybody has a story or two to tell, and the storytellers in the upcoming The Hatch are practiced at telling theirs well. In its sixth presentation in four years of Storytellers on a Mission, The Hatch will feature nationally celebrated storytellers on Saturday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Latchis Theatre.

The Hatch's cofounder and seasoned storyteller Bodett is one of six performers. He has been a regular fixture on National Public Radio (NPR) first on "All Things Considered" and is currently a panelist on "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me." He has been the brand spokesman for the Motel 6 lodging chain for over 25 years, has been heard on Saturday Night Live, National Geographic Explorer and several Ken Burns documentaries. He is also a blogger at cartalk.com and a regular performer for The Moth storytelling series. He will once again weave his true tales to raise money for a chosen charity. This year's beneficiary is Youth Services of Windham County. The Hatch was originally launched in 2013 as a way to coordinate efforts to raise money for good causes.


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It has proven to be very successful in doing so, raising over $200,000 for various organizations. According to Bodett the hardest part of organizing this event is deciding upon the beneficiary. He said he couldn't live long enough to sponsor every organization that would be a deserving recipient. Their first beneficiaries were Latchis Arts, Vermont State Parks and New England Youth Theater, When they did a benefit for Morningside Shelter.
Bill Torrey
Bill Torrey
Bodett said he and members of the board realized that helping a social service was very gratifying, and so have chosen Youth Services this time around.

Bodett taps into his Moth connections, pestering good-hearted friends who won't get paid for this event to share their stories. Their appearance allows for high-priced tickets – all in the name of a good cause. There are some new storytellers this time plus a couple of returns including Bodett. In light of this event's beneficiary the performers were asked to tell stories based on youth. That still offers a pretty broad range of subject matter.

Tom Bodett
Tom Bodett

A thematic show also makes for easy segues between acts by host and fellow storyteller Michelle Buteau. Buteau is a comedian who has toured the country bringing her unique perspective and big personality to stage and screen, She was the co-host of Big Morning Buzz Live on VH1. Buteau's half hour stand-up special premiered on Comedy Central last September, and Comedy Central Records concurrently released her album, "SHUT UP!" which is now available on iTunes. After 15 years doing standup comedy she was introduced to storytelling by a friend after recounting her story of an ex-boyfriend. Her friend told her her story was amazing and should be shared. Buteau said, "I love storytelling, you get to be vulnerable on stage without judgement, It is cathartic and fun to do, it feels like group therapy. And you don't have the pressure of filling up the silence with laughter as you do in stand up comedy." For her also, coming from a long line of fundraisers in her family, it is a win, win situation to be part of this event.

Storyteller David Rees has been a performer for a long time. He doesn't usually do traditional storytelling, but he does incorporate stories into his stand-up routine. He is the author of "How to Sharpen Pencils" and "How to Tie Your Shoes," that may appear to be jokes at first, but Rees does serious research that reveals facts hitherto unknown by most of us, initiating questions not thought about before. He said he likes to sneak up on people like that. They think he's making a joke, but then they discover they are truly learning something. He is also the host of "Esquire TV's Going Deep" with David Rees and his cartoons and writing have appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine and other national publications. He said he is, "Looking forward to the sparkle and wonder in people's eyes when I do my 'How to' story! I am also looking forward to the hearing the other performers' stories."

Ian Chillag returns to Storytellers for his second time. He is a producer for National Public Radio's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me!" A humorist who has produced, written and voiced for various radio and television shows, and a Moth veteran, Chillag also co-hosts the popular podcast How to do Everything.

Also in the lineup is Bethany Van Delft whose "hip & grounded, laid back delivery" has earned her the honor of performing at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, and notable appearances on Comedy Central, TV Guide Channel and NickMom. The former model is a co-creator of the comedy showcase The Dress Up Show, and her new monthly show, Artisanal Comedy, and has been named "one of the top indie nights to check out." Van Delft has been a panelist on "You're The Expert" and "Literary Death Match," and is a touring storyteller with The Moth Mainstage, as well as a Moth StorySlam host.

Bill Torrey is a sixth generation Vermonter who spent most of his life working alone in the woods. In 2013, he retired from logging with almost all his fingers and toes. During 2014 he began work as a writer and oral storyteller because he's never let fear and common sense stop him from doing stuff. He has won four Moth Story Slams and three Extempo Competitions at Central Vermont's premiere, live, true storytelling event, and has performed by invitation at the Flynn Theater, Middlebury College and the Vermont State House.

Youth Services has been providing transformative programs in prevention, intervention and development for young people and families in Windham County communities for 44 years. From helping homeless teens transition into life off the streets to building parenting skills for young families to providing mentors to children in need, Youth Services helps those in Windham County that might otherwise be forgotten. All of the money raised through the Hatch's efforts goes directly into the programs which are a safety net for young people in crisis.

Youth Services director Russell Bradbury-Carlin said that as an agency we try to bring these youth's stories forward, and storytelling is an important way to do that. Bradbury-Carlin has settled into his role of six months at youth services as executive director as he listens to the community, the board of directors and his staff to manage the 18 programs that fall under the three umbrellas of mentoring via Big Brothers Big Sisters; youth development for runaways, homeless and to help those aging out of the system to become self-sufficient; plus juvenile justice through a Diversion Program. One of their biggest challenges these days is filling the funding gap for substance abuse resources. This fundraiser helps with that also.

He said, "Without Youth Services, Windham County simply would not be as wonderful a place as it is. We are proud of the work we do and we're eager to do even more. Without funds from events like Storytellers on a Mission we wouldn't be able to make a difference, to change lives, hearts and minds or to build the caring community we all benefit from."

As a fan of Moth stories, Bradbury-Carlin was very excited to learn that The Hatch was already a planned event when he started and he can't wait to go.

The show runs about 90 minutes, with each story 10 to 15 minutes long.

Bodett said, "These stories range from funny to heartfelt by polished, clever storytellers. There is something in our DNA that receives a story when eye to eye with the teller, different than other media. If you have never been to one of these events you gotta try. it is for a good cause."

To connect to Hatch events, visit HatchVT.org, Facebook.com/HatchVT and Twitter/HatchVT.

Tickets to Storytellers on a Mission are $60 front orchestra, $40 rear orchestra, $25 balcony and can be purchased online at CatamountArts.org. As the lineup of storytellers has been known to tell late-night stories with late-night content, this event is not suitable for children.

Supporters of the event include Foard Panel, Farnum Insulators, The Richards Group, as well as media sponsor Vermont Public Radio.