About No, YOU Tell It!

Write your story. Perform someone else’s.

No, YOU Tell It! is a nonfiction reading series dedicated to performing true-life tales with a twist: Each participant develops their own story on the page and then flips scripts with a partner to present each other’s story on stage. A hybrid of a literary series and storytelling show, No, YOU Tell It! blends the collaborative process of creative writing workshops with the intimacy and immediacy of theatrical performance to create a charged evening of personal stories.

For each show, the NYTI team — Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons, Erika Iverson, and Mike Dressel — works with a group of four storytellers as they workshop pieces based around a theme. Switching the stories gives everyone involved the opportunity to both develop their story on the page and then watch as it is performed on stage by their partner.

The No, YOU Tell It! Team

Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons

Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons is a writer, teacher, and storyteller. Her recent work has appeared in the Black Fox Literary Magazine, Newtown Literary, Hippocampus Magazine, Crack the Spine, Hypertext Magazine, and TLR Share. She is an Adjunct Instructor at York College and teaches creative writing workshops at The Astoria Bookshop and co-hosts a monthly Sip-N-Scribe at Q.E.D. – A Place to Show & Tell. Earning her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Fairleigh Dickinson University, she combined her love for theater and writing to create No, YOU Tell It! Follow Kelly Jean on Twitter @KJ_Fitzsimmons

Writers: Does the idea of reading your work aloud make you cringe? Are you about to embark on a book tour and want to improve your voice, poise, and stage presence? The NYTI Team also offers private coaching services for authors that will turn you into a superstar at presenting your work in a public setting. Contact Kelly Jean for rates and additional information.

  • Email Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons

Erika Iverson

Erika Iverson is proud to be a part of the three-headed dog that is NYTI. She has also directed Elizabeth Murray’s Woman in the Dark and a workshop of Liz Maurer’s Inside the Cyclone. She recently appeared as Picasso’s companion Fernande Oliver in A Serious Banquet. A founding member of the Magis Theater Company, she was last seen in Occupy Olympus. Her solo performance work with the Cosmic Joke Collective has been seen at the Knitting Factory and the Cornelia Street Cafe. She is certified in the Alexander Technique by Master Teacher Chloe Wing (and is accepting clients), so if you need alignment advice or a director for your one-person show, she’s your woman.

  • Email Erika Iverson

Mike Dressel

Mike Dressel is a writer and educator. His work has appeared in print and online at Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Metazen, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, Promethean, and Chelsea Station, among other places. He is an adjunct lecturer at The City College of New York and the recipient of the 2013 Norman Levine Outstanding Teaching Award.


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No, YOU Tell It! was my first storytelling experience--my first time standing up in front of a crowd delivering a story. And because of NYTI, I feel as though I've found my passion. I have gone on to perform in storytelling events after NYTI, including several Moth StorySlams. With each performance I become more and more comfortable with my storytelling skills, and I give credit every time to NYTI--they lit the spark!

Shelley Gazes Writer and Content Creation Specialist NYTI: "Wild Card" September 19, 2015

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I found the most frustrating part of writing stories, memoirs, anecdotes is repeating the same voice without a grasp of how I sound.  I came across No, YOU Tell It! by accident and it proved to be super valuable for hearing the voice and rhythm in my story. After the first session and hearing someone read my piece I was able to chop off some bad habits I had developed (mostly dealing with the flow of words and poorly placed humor). The breakdown of sessions helped develop the themes I was overlooking from the piece and find a strong balance between humor and grounded narrative.

The most valuable piece of No, YOU Tell It! was literally hearing work read and interpreted by different participants each week, ultimately being performed and curated by a different performer - a very, very unique opportunity.  It's had a very positive effect on the development of further work.

Mark Pagán Performer, Multimedia Artist, and Writer NYTI: "Revival" September 19, 2015

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I had a wonderful experience working with Kelly Jean, Erika, and Mike. Being exposed to the processes of the other writers in our group was valuable and enlightening, and I know my own work benefited greatly from our conversations around the table. I was particularly taken with the public reading event itself, attended by a supportive and enthusiastic audience, in an atmosphere of warmth and levity. I would gladly participate in No, YOU Tell It! again, and would recommend the experience to anyone who's interested in writing or storytelling.

Noah Diamond Writer and Groucho at I'll Say She Is NYTI: "Uproar" September 19, 2015