Catherine Burns

Artistic Director, The Moth, USA

Catherine Burns is The Moth’s longtime Artistic Director. As one of the lead directors on The Moth’s Mainstage since 2003, she has helped many hundreds of people craft their stories, including a New York City sanitation worker, a Nobel Laureate, the Tower of London’s Ravenmaster, a jaguar tracker, and an exonerated prisoner. She is a Peabody Award-winning director, one of the long-standing hosts and producers of The Moth Radio Hour, co-author of the New York Times Best Seller How to Tell a Story, and the editor of the bestselling and critically acclaimed books The Moth: 50 True Stories, All These Wonders, and Occasional Magic. She is the director of the solo shows The Gates (written and performed by Adam Gopnik) and Helen & Edgar (written and per- formed by Edgar Oliver), which was called “utterly absorbing and unexpectedly moving” by Ben Brantley of the New York Times, and the feature film A Pound of Flesh. Prior to The Moth, she produced television and independent films, interviewing such talent as George Clinton, Chuck D, Ozzy Osbourne, Martha Stewart, and Howard Stern. She attended her first Moth back in 2000, fell in love with the show, and was, in turn, a GrandSLAM contestant and volunteer in the Moth Community Program before joining the staff full-time. Born and raised in Alabama, she now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son. Find her on Instagram @thecatherineburns.

All Sessions by Catherine Burns

11:25 - 12:05
Track 1

The Moth - How to tell a story

Join The Moth's longtime Artistic Director, Catherine Burns, as she guides you through the art and craft of storytelling. For the past 25 years, The Moth—a globally acclaimed nonprofit—has presented over 50,000 true stories, told live on stage at Moth events worldwide. Since 2008, "The Moth Radio Hour," from The Moth and PRX, has amplified these stories of people from all walks of life—including Nobel Laureates, dental hygienists, entertainers, and more—to millions of public radio listeners each week and via "The Moth Podcast," which is downloaded more than 100 million times annually. Through each episode, the storyteller and the audience embark on a transformative high-wire act of shared experience, often exhilarating, terrifying, hilarious, heartwarming, and everything in between. In this session, Catherine will explain how Moth story directors help draw out the best stories and then help prepare the tellers for the stage. She will demonstrate her points using story clips as examples—drawing inspiration from The Moth's recent "New York Times" bestseller "How To Tell A Story: The Essential Guide to Memorable Storytelling from The Moth."