Arts Beat: Join the Club

'Blair Witch’ producer Robin Cowie organizes gatherings for those with tales to tell.

A storyteller in action at a recent session of the Orlando Story Club, which begins a regular schedule Jan. 6.


Robin Cowie loves the art of storytelling.  He’s got one you’ve probably heard about.  It’s pretty scary.

Cowie is one of the Orlando-based producers of The Blair Witch Project, the upstart, phenomenally successful horror film that was made for $20,000 in 1999 and wound up grossing $140 million.

Cowie rode that wave to Los Angeles, where in his leisure time he became involved in a nationwide oral storytelling club called The Moth.

Actually, “involved in” is putting it lightly. He has much fonder memories of the club than of the jaded star-making machinery of Tinseltown. Being a bigshot had its moments. Winning an award for his own oral storytelling was a lot more satisfying and authentic.

“The truth is I became addicted to it,” he says. “There is a connectivity and a community experience to telling stories live. It’s just as exciting as any other live performance.”

Cowie moved back to Orlando a few years ago “after seeing the best and the worst of Hollywood” and established a storytelling club, which up until now has met sporadically and in various locations—Enzian, East End Market, the Orlando Museum of Art. But starting next week, in a new partnership with the Downtown Arts District, it will have a home base and a regular schedule. It’s called The Orlando Story Club, and if you want to tell a story, voila: Welcome to the club.

Here’s how it works:

The club will meet once a month at The Abbey, a nightclub and laid-back gathering spot in Thornton Park.  The door charge is $5, all of which goes to a different charity each month. There will also be a different storytelling theme each month.  The first meeting, hosted by local radio personality Carlos Navarro, is Jan 6. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the event is 7 to 9. You can come just to listen to the stories, or you can draw a number to be one of 10 people who’ll get the chance to take the stage and tell a tale.

Make it a scary one if you want, but that’s not necessary, says Cowie.

“The best stories tend to be very real, very funny, and very human,” he says. “And we live in a great town with a lot of great stories.”

Including yours.

For more information on Orlando Story Club, including guidelines and the 2016 schedule, visit

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