“We wanted to give Berliners an open stage to share the extraordinary moments in their ordinary lives." Dyane Neiman
We are a non-profit storytelling event founded in November 2015 by the New York choreographer/performer, now Berlin based speaker coach Dyane Neiman. With generous support from Frank Spandl, founder of of meeet - “Inspirierende Räume" and a team of volunteers, The Bear has presented 30 evenings and over 330 stories to over 1500 storytelling fans. With a diverse cast of storytellers ranging from wanderers to wolf researchers, from around the world, in English and German, the Bear's third season has been regularly sold-out: a telling sign the ancient art of the raconteur is alive and well.
The Bear brings together the Berlin community, who first arrive as strangers, then leave somehow connected by their shared human experiences.
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.”
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.
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.
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
She helped create the co-working space Meeet together with Frank Spandl. She undertook this visionary undertaking because Carola, who is a coach, trainer, and holistic healer, believes freelancers need not work alone. At Meeet, as well as at The Bear, Carola brings sheer joy to everything she does and everyone she meets. When she is not selling tickets and pretzels, you find her on stage and in the audience at The Bear, sharing her great treasure of stories with us.
Johannes Sylvester Fluhr
Johannes is a visual communication designer and business owner of ichfilmeSie. Johannes helps grow The Bear with his insightful feedback and suggestions. When he is not taking photos of our storytellers, he gets on stage himself. Johannes won The Bear trophy in October 2016 with his amusing story about a NYC mugging: “I want my change”. You can listen to it in our Storylibrary.
Florence is a native of UK, now Berlin-based, and a violin maker. Every month she creats THE BEAR trophy using her design talent and leftover pieces of fine mahogany wood from her violins.
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 made 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.
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.