My experience telling my story (in the theater)

As I had written about in an earlier post, I took part in a community performance put on by a local theater (Mixed Blood in Minneapolis, MN). They are having 12 artists collaborate with 12 different neighborhoods throughout the metro in something called 12 x 12. I participated in the performance centered on disability. The performance happened on April 1st and I haven’t written about it for this blog yet!

I wanted to talk about my experience and squeeze it in still in April!

I am not an actor or performer by any stretch of the imagination. So why did I participate in this? I wanted the experience of telling my story about disability so I get better at being an engaging storyteller. I want to be an engaging storyteller because I am actively writing my memoir. I would have never done something like this before my severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) because I was shy, nervous and anxious. After the TBI I am none of those things. It’s an amazing change that I am taking full advantage of by participating in things pre-TBI Laura never would have done. The other performers were like me and not actors. Over the course of several weeks we met primarily via Zoom to create this 15-20 minute performance. The group was led by Alison Bergblom Johnson who is an artist and is also disabled. She recruited members of the disability community online (primarily) and helped us create this piece that answered the question: What is our NOW? We ended up structuring it like a day and the performers worked in pairs standing on either side of a mirror. We mimed daily activities (brushing teeth, talking to pets) while talking outloud to ourselves in the mirror talking about our experiences with disability. Each person had a different disability (although there was another woman with a brain injury as well). I spoke specifically about my Traumatic Brain Injury and how it has resulted in hearing loss. I hope that by sharing my story that I drew attention to the issues of brain injury and hearing loss.

While April 1st was our individual performance, there will be more (showcasing other groups and showcasing my group). The “12×12” series culminates with a celebration where all 12 groups get together to perform at Mixed Blood Theatre in August. Starting with the performance on April 1st there will be a new 12×12 performance (taking place in the featured neighborhood) every two weeks until August.

To learn more about the 12×12 series and reserve tickets for upcoming shows (you can attend either in person or virtually), visit this website:

It was definitely a different experience telling my story (or a small part of it) for a live audience. Like I said, pre-TBI Laura never would have volunteered to do this. She couldn’t have because of shyness, anxiety, nerves and fear. Oddly now that I have a story to tell all those traits that prohibited me from telling any story are thankfully gone (thanks, TBI, apparently you’re good for something)! And all the practice of telling my brain injury story in support groups also helped!!

I look forward to performing this again in August and I will certainly update when that happens.

A Selby Sweetie Conclusion

Here she is wearing my sleep eye mask!

3 thoughts on “My experience telling my story (in the theater)

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