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The Importance of Experiencing Stories

The Importance of Experiencing Stories

By: AE Sarver

Last week, I took a trip to Ohio to visit my parents. It’s always nice to go home; a place of nostalgia, memories, and reminders of the stories I love. We got out the old home videos and took a trip back in time to when I was just a little girl.

And there I was: dreaming, dancing, and wanting to be a part of a beautiful story.

I was reminded that as a child, I knew no boundaries, I loved hearing fairy tales, and I loved picturing myself as that princess or as the hero of a dangerous adventure. I look at my life now and realize that many of those stories and dreams are still with me. The ability to dream as a child is extremely important. I believe experiencing stories is imperative.

In an article from Harvard Business Review, the authors discuss a business concept called “the experience economy.” If we look at the world through the lens of a businessperson or an economist, we see that throughout history businesses have gone from being producers of goods and services to producers of experiences. You can read the article to get a deeper understanding, but here’s a quick example they offer:

You could bake a cake for a birthday using a recipe and gather all of the ingredients then bake the cake, or you could “outsource” the entire birthday party and have someone else provide the decorations, the cake, games…an experience. The article continues to describe a market for experiences. “Today the concept of selling experience is spreading beyond theaters and theme parks.” As humans, we have the innate desire to live in community, to experience, to be a part of the story.

We are in a time where even businesses are recognizing the importance of experiences.

This summer, as Acting Out is preparing for another beautiful show, I’ve had the privilege to help plan and prepare for Belle’s Enchanted Tea Party. It’s going to be a magical day for both boys and girls as they play games, have snacks, and interact with some of the characters from this beloved story. It’s an experience they won’t forget.

Not only can your kids attend the tea party, but they also have a chance to be “The Prince or Princess for the Day.” There will be a raffle at the party for one child to get this title for one of the productions of Beauty and the Beast. They will get pampered, escorted to their reserved seats at the show by their very own Lady-in-Waiting (which is me, and I’m beyond excited!), and get announced as the Prince or Princess of the day at the show! Who wouldn’t want to be royalty for a day?

I believe in the power of story and I believe in the necessity of experiencing these stories, especially as children. These events will stay with them for a long time. And isn’t it wonderful to see a young mind at work, dreaming, smiling, joyous and excited for the potential in their future?

I hope you to see you at the Enchanted Tea Party. And I hope it will be an experience you will never forget.

AE Sarver is the Graduate Assistant for the Theatre Department at Olivet Nazarene University. Though she is not in the cast of Beauty and the Beast, she will be the Lady-in-Waiting for the Prince or Princess of the day each night. She’s had the privilege to be in Acting Out’s productions of Sweeney Todd as the Beggar Woman and It’s a Wonderful Life as Rose Bailey. She directed Olivet’s Spring Musical Guys & Dolls and will be directing their fall play Our Town.