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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston Graduate Spends Her Spare Time Telling Stories


Bramhall on stage at a Mass Mouth event.



“I absolutely love getting up on stage and telling stories,” said Devin Bramhall, who has been doing just that for the past year and a half.

Bramhall’s first time getting up on stage to tell a story was in Vermont. Having always been a fan of The Moth Series, an organization which hosts storytelling events, Bramhall discovered a smaller version of the series put on locally, and she decided to try it.

“I was really nervous,” Bramhall said about her first time on stage. She calls her story “The Virgin Birth,” and it’s about the first time she delivered a baby.

“I went to Bali to volunteer for a birthing clinic, and I went there as a non-medical volunteer, but I ended up in a birth room helping to deliver a baby,” said Bramhall.

“I just describe what happens to someone as being a complete medical novice, being in a country I’m unfamiliar with, in a situation I’m unfamiliar with, and what that sort of does to my perspective. And literally what happens in that moment and my reactions to being in a completely foreign situation,” summed up Bramhall about her story.

Originally from Needham, MA., Bramhall was living in Vermont at the time.

“When I returned to the U.S. from volunteering in Bali, I moved straight to Vermont where my mom lives, so I could recover from one and a half years abroad. And by recover, I mean make all the money back that I spent while I was there,” said Bramhall.

After a year of living in Vermont and working for an app company, Bramhall was able to move back to Boston, where she discovered Mass Mouth, a community that puts on local storytelling events.

She entered a competition put on by Mass Mouth called “Big Mouth Off.” For the prelims and the semi-finals, Bramhall told “The Virgin Story.” The story has taken her all the way to the finals on April 17 at the Coolidge Corner Theater.

She feels more and more confident each time she tells the story.

“When I tell it on the 17th, I think it’s going to be the best it’s ever been. I’m really proud of it,” said Bramhall.

Bramhall has only been on stage six times. Her other stories are about her first three months of living in Vermont, including a story about her multiple encounters with the same cop who repeatedly caught her speeding. Another story recounts the first time she witnessed a turkey being slaughtered in her mom’s backyard.

Though the number of times she’s been on stage is small, the amount of stories Bramhall has written is anything but. Just check out her blog, which she started in April of 2010, at http://adventuresofd.com/. 

On her blog there are an immense number of stories like the time she had a huge fight with her sister which led to her discovering just how much she loved her, to her life in Bali, to running into ex-boyfriends who now have babies.

For Bramhall, the English major, blogging is part of the process in storytelling.

“I have to write them down first. Because what happens is you have to come up with the narrative first,” said Bramhall. “I’m a writer first, so I’m more familiar with drafting out a thought on paper.”

After writing it down, Bramhall practices telling the story in front of friends or family. If she can’t find anyone to listen to her story, Bramhall stands in front of a mirror.

“If you got no one to listen to you, it’s a great way to iron out the kinks. You can see your natural mannerisms and change them if you want. It forces you to look at yourself and listen to yourself. Things that you are generally uncomfortable with,” said Bramhill.

After telling stories for only a year and a half, Bramhall takes to it like a fish to water. She is content with her performances, but still looks to better them.

“I’m still improving, I’m not the best. Of all the things I do in my life, including my job, my blog, I love this [performing] the most. I feel so happy when I get off stage, it’s so much fun,” said Bramhall.