Newcastle Flame encourages the art of storytelling at Royal Exchange

SOLD OUT: The crowd awaits a speaker to take the stage at the first Newcastle Flame. The next event is on November 10.
SOLD OUT: The crowd awaits a speaker to take the stage at the first Newcastle Flame. The next event is on November 10.

There’s a saying that the truth is often stranger than fiction and whether that’s the case or not, for the organisers of Newcastle Flame, it’s certainly just as entertaining.

For Shea Evans and Sebastian Kovacs, the art of storytelling and the idea of listening to real stories by real people is an interesting concept. So interesting in fact that the two university students have organised an event entirely devoted to the idea – and the results so far, have been more than encouraging.

Newcastle Flame, held at the Royal Exchange in Newcastle, encourages real people from varied backgrounds to share their personal stories with an audience.

“It’s our project together, it’s about story telling and getting people from all over the place to tell true stories about their lives,” Evans said.

“We got the idea from something similar in the U.S called The Moth.”

 Shea Evans

Shea Evans

“Our first event was on the 18th of August and we sold out. There’s only 75 seats at the Royal Exchange so it wasn’t hard to do,” he laughed.

The pair plan to do it every three months with hopes that the event may expand to other areas such as Maitland, Sydney and beyond.

“We’ve had really cool people with really interesting stories,” Evans said. “We’d like to take it on the road and have something like ‘the Maitland Flame’ and also see it in bigger venues like the Enmore [in Sydney].

Tickets to the event are $10 which according to Evans, is put back into promoting the event.

“The proceeds are really just put back into printing posters and getting the word out there, we’re not really trying to make any money off it at this stage. If people want to share their story with us they can email us or get in contact with us through the Facebook page,” he said.

“Often a storyteller will get in contact with us or we will brainstorm and find someone. Every story is unique and every storyteller has something different.”

The next Newcastle Flame will feature Ruth Boydell who first sailed halfway around the world at 17 years of age and who now, in her 60s, helps others as an end-of-life doula. Another storyteller is Sean Kerwin, a part-time musician, veteran, and former member of the Australian defence force who is to speak on the art of maintaining a long-distance relationship.

The next Newcastle Flame will be held at the Royal Exchange on November 10. Tickets are $10 at the door. For more information visit