Youthful writings come alive at Woodford

By Elizabeth Foster

Canadian group, Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids made its Woodford debut (and in fact, their first out of North America performance) on Friday; and the show does exactly what it says on the tin. Volunteers get up on stage and read things they wrote as children, anything from diary entries to song lyrics, the only thing that’s guaranteed is that at each show you’ll be getting an entirely unique experience.

The act was created by husband and wife duo Dan Misener and Jenna Zuschlag Misener in 2006, since then they have had hundreds of volunteers read their personal writings on stage, and have even created a podcast to broadcast their shows across the globe.

Chloe Goodyear heard about the group when living in Canada, and after volunteering at the Woodford folk festival for the last 17 years, just knew she had to bring them down under.

Chloe even had a go at reading on stage, lamenting about a story she wrote when she was 12 about her best friend Rachael; who by the way, just so happened to be in the audience, with the pair reuniting in the crowd after 10 years apart.

“This is something that could only happen at Woodford” she said.

Dan was grateful that Chloe had invited them, feeling like the show really resonated with a Woodford audience.

“As we learned more about the festival and the history and the kinds of people who tend to come, the more we realized these are our kinds of people, the kinds of people who are really into arts and storytelling and really appreciating the weird and wonderful side of life”  

“frankly one of my favorite things so far has just been walking around, seeing what’s what and being pulled in one direction by something you hear and then just hanging around and checking it out” he said.

Most of the time the audience was erupting in laughter, listening to how one volunteer wrote a guide of how to be cool when she was 13, another’s rap lyrics from year four. But when one volunteered read out her diary from when her Grandfather passed away, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

According to Dan, these emotional and raw moments are what really make the show something special.

“So much of our material that we read on stage was never meant to be shared with an audience and I think it takes a lot of courage to take something that was private and secret and make it public. But if you can find that courage a lot of people find that they get a lot out of it, in their own reflection but also what you get out of sharing a little bit of yourself with others” he said.


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