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

Erika Iverson

Director and Dramaturg

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

Producer and Director

Mike Dressel is a writer whose work has appeared in Burning House Press, Jellyfish Review, Litbreak, Chelsea Station, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn, among others, as well as in the anthologies Best Gay Stories 2016 and Best Gay Stories 2017. He was a frequent guest judge for the flash fiction reading series The Prose Bowl, and a panelist on the live comedy news show Fight the Feed. He teaches at The City College of New York.

Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons

Creator and Producer

Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons is a writer, teacher, and storyteller. Her recent nonfiction work has appeared in Hippocampus MagazineMarie ClaireBlack Fox Literary MagazineThe Literary Review (TLR)Newtown Literary, and she is a 2017 Pushcart Prize Nominee. Her superhero comedy, All I Want Is One More Meanwhile... recently made its Midwest premiere at Otherworld Theatre in Chicago. After earning her MFA in creative nonfiction from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Kelly Jean combined her love for theater and literature to create No, YOU Tell It!

Testimonials

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, 2014

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" November 21, 2014

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" April 15, 2015

I found the entire process of the No, YOU Tell It! series to be incredibly valuable. The workshopping aspect of it allowed me to view my essay from a number of different angles, and having readers with a variety of backgrounds helped to make the piece stronger. And there's something about hearing a piece you wrote read by someone else that allows you to see it in a new light, exposing new facets of it that I might not have been aware of otherwise. 

Tobias Carroll Author and Managing Editor of Vol. 1 Brooklyn NYTI "Blanked" September 27, 2016

As a playwright and lyricist, I hadn't penned a short story since grade school. I also hadn't performed since my first year out of college, but No, You Tell It! was the perfect place to get back to both! The feedback from the NYTI team and my fellow writers helped me to craft a story I was thrilled to share, and reading the other artists' work was an absolute privilege. NYTI is a wonderful meeting of talent and a celebration of the purity of writing.

Alex Rubin Playwright NYTI: "Blanked" September 27, 2016