Numerous people lean forward while sitting in their chair. All eyes gaze on the speakers, hardly blinking, almost for a fear of missing something. Heads nodding in approval, and after the speaker concludes, the café erupts and vibrates with applause.

Chug down a couple of cold ones. Savor the mouth-watering stir-fried pasta. Loosen up and indulge at the lustrous Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Living Room Theater for The Vox Storytelling Event.

The welcoming scent of coffee wafts through the air. The sound of small – talk and mellow guitar music fills the air, along with the smell of a cappuccino with a hint of vanilla. The open bar is surrounded by mountains of all kinds of wine and beer. The golden chestnut tables make the environment stylish, yet friendly, inviting, and cozy for both students and Boca Raton locals.

However, the food isn’t the only thing worth indulging in. At The Vox Storytelling Event, you can also indulge yourself in a wide range of appealing stories. Stories to entertain, stories from all lifestyles, stories with heart and emotion, stories that will have your attention from the moment you arrive.

The Vox Storytelling Event started 15 years ago and happens four times a year in September, October, February, and March. However, FAU students and locals are already looking forward to the next event. With people already signing up for the next session, and with FAU giving students additional dates to show others what the full event will be like.

The event gives the opportunity for 10 storytellers, whether you are a student at the university, or a local, to get up in front of individuals and connect with them emotionally. Whether that is through laughter, love, sympathy, or joy, it’s always fascinating. Stories that are not so much of people just talking, but stories with a voice. A voice that allows these brave speakers to tell a vision, a dream, and a voice that may even help speak for you.

FAU professor and event organizer, Caren Neile, greets everyone with an ear-to-ear smile and makes every single person feel more than welcome. When it comes to this storytelling event, Neile has said she hopes, “This event will inspire family and friends to put down their cell phones for a moment, and share a story together, share a moment together. Share a moment with each other here.”

Neile also performs, teaches and produces numerous storytelling events throughout the U.S. and in South Florida. For instance, Neile’s work includes the Fulbright Senior Specialist in Jerusalem and Vienna. She is the former chair of the National Storytelling Network and is a co-founding editor of the academic journal Storytelling, Self, Society.

FAU student and multimedia studies major, Daniel Varella, hopes to one day share a moment here with one of his stories. While drinking his tall, cold, clear golden color beer, Daniel said, “I’m not looking for a professional story, just something that entertains.” Daniel hopes to share a moment here by one day telling us one of his stories. His stories about him overseas, his military training, and his time spent in Italy. He says, “I think it will help me to become a better public speaker and will help me to express myself more clearly with words.”

The first person to sign up for The Vox storytelling event at the FAU theaters café was FAU student, former Pennsylvania resident, and communications major, Daniella Rozan. Daniella told the audience how she was a chunky kid growing up. Always eating pizza, pasta, and all kinds of Italian cuisine, “Sounds like every kid’s dream,” she told the crowd. However, as she got older, this lead to her feeling numb, sick, and paralyzed. She later discovered that she has a gluten allergy. She said while smiling, “Eating at home, pasta and bread were my favorites! Now I can’t wait to go home and eat spinach.” She made audience members laugh, sigh, and feel informed.

Caren Neile asks that stories are “True, five to seven minutes long, and not a speech, commercial, or advertisement, and something that has involved you.”

When asked, Neile’s favorite storyteller of the night was Gary. Gary is a regular storyteller at the events, and Gary has said, “I never thought I would stand in front of an audience, in front of a group of strangers to tell my story.” When asked, Neile believes that Gary’s story was “heartfelt, full of humanity, it was touching, told with style, emotional, and it was an interesting touch to combine nature with human touching nature.”

Neile told the audience that, “We are the real winners of having the opportunity to hear all your stories.” So whether you are a student, newcomer, local, or simply wanting to tell others about you and a journey, The Vox storytelling event at the FAU theater café is waiting for you. So pull up a chair, lean forward, and be a part of the applause. Be a part of the story, because as Caren Neile said, “Sky is the limit when it comes to storytelling.”

If you’d like to contact Caren Neile or find out more information on The Vox Storytelling event or other storytelling events, you may email her at cneile@fau.edu.

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Nile Fortner is a Multimedia Journalism major from Florida Atlantic University. When Nile isn’t at a bookstore catching up on new books and authors or eating the last slice of pineapple pizza, Nile usually covers entertainment journalism. Nile covers topics such as movies, television, local hot spot attractions, and more for some of the websites and publications he loves contributing with. However, during a class presentation at Florida Atlantic University, Nile found an interest in bringing attention to economic awareness and attractions. Nile hopes to inform and encourage people to care more about their environment the same way he was informed and encouraged.

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