Bingeworthy TV: Stories from the Stage Makes the Case

 Storyteller Morris Irby, the first black baseball player at Tennessee Tech University discusses the cost of being a trailblazer. (Photo: Stories from the Stage)
Storyteller Morris Irby, the first black baseball player at Tennessee Tech University discusses the cost of being a trailblazer. (Photo: Stories from the Stage)

By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., NNPA Newswire Culture and Entertainment Editor 

It is summertime and many people are “bingeing” or “catching up” on their favorite television shows they haven’t had time to watch when they actually premiered or aired. While there are the usual suspects on HBO, Showtime, Bravo, Netflix and Starz, viewers should consider binge watching Stories from the Stage, the WORLD Channel original series that features ordinary people telling extraordinary stories, which returned with a national 24-hour binge-a-thon of episodes in June. The public television series features masterful storytellers from every walk of life, highlighting our differences and shared sense of humanity. 

The latest season of Stories from the Stage includes the premiere of  Rocky Top Remembers, an episode featuring stories about Morris Irby, the first black baseball player at Tennessee Tech University who learns the cost of being a trailblazer. “Rocky Top” refers to a place in Tennessee that is rocky and tough to plant, yet is fertile ground for great storytelling. Storytellers Harrison Young and Sandy Lewis are also featured on this episode, weaving tells of pecking orders in family and following in Dad’s footsteps, which isn’t always about the workplace or football field. 

Viewers can also check out the episode, Game On!, featuring former Olympian and current USA Adaptive Water Ski Team member Nick Fairall discussing the leap that forever altered his Olympic dreams and his life. Each show is hosted by award-winning humorists and storytellers Theresa Okokon and Wes Hazard.

With more than 40 episodes, the Stories from the Stage gives viewers a chance to catch up on the series dedicated to bringing real stories — whether humorous or poignant, commonplace or astonishing — to American homes. Each 30-minute episode spotlights a trio of raconteurs — some experienced, some novices — sharing short anecdotes related to the episode’s unifying theme. Love, loss, family, food, immigration and celebrations are among the topics explored in episodes including “Lost & Found,” “Welcome to the Neighborhood,” “It’s All Relative” and “Holidays: The Good, The Bad.” Although each story is unique, audiences everywhere are able to connect and relate with storytellers from a mosaic of backgrounds, ages, cultures and abilities.

Stories from the Stage is a collaboration of WORLD Channel, WGBH Events and Massmouth, showcasing the communal art form of storytelling. The series reflects WORLD Channel’s commitment to bringing fresh and compelling voices to public media audiences on all platforms, while reflecting the diversity of modern America and the global community. 

“Personal stories rich in human experience and emotion can create understanding, empathy and appreciation for people very different from us,” said Liz Cheng, General Manager for WORLD Channel and co-executive producer of the series. “With Stories from the Stage we hope to prove how much we all have in common and inspire community dialogue about our differences.” Stories from the Stage is co-executive-produced by Cheng and Patricia Alvarado Núñez. 

Stories from the Stage episodes, original digital content, and more can be experienced on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and on the WORLD Channel website. Follow the hashtag #StoriesfromtheStage to hear every word.

This post was written by Nsenga K Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. An expert in intersectionality and media industries, Dr. Burton is also a professor of film and television at Emory University and co-editor of the book, Black Women’s Mental Health: Balancing Strength and Vulnerability. She is Entertainment and Culture Editor for NNPA. Follow her on Twitter @Ntellectual or @TheBurtonWire.