Story Cafe Location, Hours, and Prices
444 Leonard St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Hours (may vary)
Tues.-Thurs.: 10:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
Fri.-Sun.: 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Tues.: Writers Group
Wed.: Storytellers & Singers Groups
Thurs.: Drama & Improvisation Training Group
Drinks and treats: $-$$
Playback Theatre Performances: FREE
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Story Cafe, a new coffee shop and community center in town, will hold its Grand Opening on Saturday, February 16. The celebration will include free samples throughout the day, live music and storytelling. Since its soft opening, the cafe has featured a full espresso bar and pastries from deBoer Bakery in Holland and artisan chocolates from Confections with Convictions in Kalamazoo. Starting Saturday, the shop will serve soups, sandwiches and smoothies as well.
Owners Billy Angel, a filmmaker, and Marcia Angel, an occupational therapist, envision the shop as a community arts center alongside a commercial cafe.
"We are keen to hear people's stories. Everyone is seeking, and we are all connected in that sense. Everybody is welcome," Billy Angel says.
Billy Angel is a storyteller, singer, musician and script writer. He is well placed to offer a platform to local performers, encouraging folks to develop their talents in the community. With its tables of various sizes and a small stage for performances, the space is designed to accommodate a variety of art forms including Marcia Angel's passion: Playback Theatre, an improvisational form of theatre.
"It's very powerful, simple, accessible and you can take it anywhere," Marcia Angel says of the Playback model.
During a Playback performance, a conductor invites the audience to tell true stories that the actors and a musician then play back. When coupled with a theme such as single parenting or alcoholism, the performance can function as a healing art. The story always relies on the mood of the audience, so if the group is feeling light-hearted, the story will be light-hearted as well.
"If someone comes with a gripping story, then we can provide a platform and enable them to present that,” Billy Angel says.
From the authentic Swiss mime masks hanging on the wall to a piece painted by a friend named Interplanet Janet, the space tells the Angels' story. The couple invites Grand Rapids to share its story with them over a cup of coffee, a Playback performance or an evening art group.
"Story Cafe is the place to have a cuppa story along with your chai latte," Marcia Angel says.
Community Literacy Initiative Director at the Literacy Center of West Michigan, world traveler, Spanish speaker, MA student, and high school English teacher at heart.
Reports on: Arts-Entertainment, Dining, Social & Cultural Issues