The Bear. true stories. erzähltes leben.
“The Bear creates compassion in our Berlin community because every voice is honored and every story matters." Dyane Neiman
Since its launch in November 2015, The Bear has presented 330 stories, told live and without notes in 30 shows to over 1500 storytelling fans. Audiences come to experience the great range of human emotion they showcase. Each shows starts with a theme, and the storytellers explore it, often in unexpected ways. Since each story is true and every voice authentic, the shows dance between documentary and theater, creating a unique, intimate, and often enlightening experience for the audience.
The Bear was founded by the speaker coach Dyane Neiman, who wanted to create more confidence in Berliners to share the extraordinary moments of their ordinary lives. With generous support from Frank Spandl, founder of meeet - “Inspirierende Räume", designer Hanna Martus and a team of volunteers, the Bear's third season has been regularly sold-out: a telling sign the ancient art of the raconteur is alive and well in Berlin.
Our mission is to promote the art and craft of storytelling and celebrate the diversity and commonality of our human experience. With a diverse cast of storytellers ranging from wanderers to wolf researchers, from around the world, in English and German, The Bear brings together the Berlin community.
We arrive first as strangers, and after an evening of storytelling, leave somehow connected by our shared human experiences.
Do you believe in the transformative power of storytelling?
Come partner with us.
The Bear is a non-profit event that is powered by a team of storyteller believers. We could bearly survive without THE BEAR team – they share their talent, time, and passion to promote the art of storytelling in Berlin.
Founder & Host
Dyane is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and has become the most German-like American you’ll ever meet. The former theater director and choreographer once told stories with moving bodies, now she creates with moving words.
By day, Dyane works as a speaking coach with her business Moving Speaker. And every third Friday evening, – she hosts, charms, persuades and twist arms so that Berliners will take the stage and share their stories.
“I believe stories help us find meaning out of this chaos called life.”
Design and Strategy
As a trained designer Hanna is sort of a visual storyteller. Focusing on where design and healthcare meet, she is passionate about improving patient experiences.
“Stories make us feel connected and understood in unexpected ways. They make us take time to really listen and be open for empathy – values that we’re often missing as a society right now.”
Read her podcast journal
In-kind Support, Strategy, Consulting
Frank Spandl is a Berliner with a Frankfurt-migration-background. He is here because someone once told him that Berlin today resembles Florence in the Renaissance: “Serious” businesses open their doors to all the “crazy”-people (like artists, musicians, “Lebenskünstler”). And with that, magic can happen.
That’s why Frank opened Meeet – a house where all those people – serious and not-so-serious – can share space, time, skills and stories. For Frank, The Bear is the perfect addition to his vision of Meeet.
Co-Host, Story Coach, Videographer
Michael is a native of Bremen, who fell in love with Berlin and its stories a long time ago. He turned his passion into a profession, and when he is not on stage at The Bear, he is making stones talk as he fascinates people about Berlin in his tour guide business Berlin Erkundungen.
Storyteller, Social Media
Ashlen is from the Heart of Dixie, ‘sweet home’ Alabama, and she is now in Berlin working towards her Masters Degree in Physics. She has been involved in the world of storytelling for nearly a decade and has found a home at The Bear.
“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.”
— Steve Job
Light Design, Sound & Audio Technik, Problem Solver, Center of Calmness in the Storm
- without Stephan the show doesn't go on: he is the professional behind our light design and audio recordings. Before the show, you'll find him doing sound checks with the musicians and in the breaks, he is serving drinks behind the bar.
Always in a good mood, there's no calamity that throws Stephan from his throne of his calmness. When he is not at The Bear, you will find him working at Meeet, studying event management, or singing with his band the Bleeding Thumbs.
Designer of The Bear Trophy, Design Consultant
Florence is a native of UK, now Berlin-based, and a violin maker. She creates lovingly by hand each and every THE BEAR trophy using her design talent and leftover pieces of fine mahogany wood from her violins. You can find Florence in her violin studio in Neukölln.
Our Storytelling coaches
Khushi is an uprooted Italian-American who leans more towards German minimalism than Italian-American embroidery and exaggeration. She grew up on drama … mostly inside the family. Then acted and directed for over 15 years.
Moving from New York to Berlin in 1995, Khushi worked as a Business English skills trainer. She is now a presentation coach, a speechwriter, and storyteller. Khushi is the founder of Center Berlin Toastmasters, one of nearly 16,000 Toastmaster clubs worldwide dedicated to developing speakers and leaders.
Characterized by enthusiasm, energy and optimism, you’ll find Khushi working behind the scenes supporting and encouraging speakers to reach their goals.
Catherine is a writer, story-teller, broadcaster, and she also facilitates workshops. She’s a Gemini… they’re the cosmic multi-taskers!
She leads a blameless life in Ireland but travels whenever she can. She’s been rescued by a circus troupe in Serbia, had breakfast with a Zambian chief, ate camel stew in the Sahara, and was kicked by a horse on the Mexican plain. Yeah…she has a couple of stories to tell.
Matthias is a recovering lawyer who now works as a professional speech writer. He is based in Berlin and writes speeches in German and Englisch for executives of international companies and lobby organizations. Matthias also offers speechwriting training in both languages. Compelling stories belong to his absolute favorite speech writing tools. In his opinion, nothing engages an audience more than a well told story.
If you would like to contribute in any way, by sharing your time and talent, please let us know!
We regularly get-together for thank-you dinners and feedback rounds. You’ll be recognized, thanked, appreciated and can go to bed knowing your small contribution makes a big difference.
Launch a podcast series. We need IT & technical help here.
Media, press and other forms of “spreading the word”.
Support for our Website (we are working with Squarespace, so no programming skills needed)
SEO tips and know how, so people can find us online.
Video, photo, and audio documentation of the stories.
Help with the bar, box office and setting up & striking down the night of the event.