Paula Madison brings “Finding Samuel Lowe” documentary to St Pete and Tampa

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Jamaican-American journalist and filmmaker Paula Madison called her award-winning documentary Finding Samuel Lowe:  From Harlem to China, “the fulfillment of a longing.” That longing was to find the relatives of her long lost Chinese grandfather, Samuel Lowe. We invite all of Tampa Bay  to see the film and hear her talk about her amazing journey on Wednesday, September 9 at the Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive in St Petersburg  at 7:00pm and Thursday, September  10 at the USF School of Music Concert Hall, 3755 West Holly Drive at 7:00pm.

Madison, who is a former NBC Universal executive,  and her two brothers began their  journey  by putting the word out to Jamaican family and friends to help them. They were led to the Haka Conference in Toronto, to beautiful Jamaica, and then to China, where they united with hundreds of Chinese relatives they never imagined existed.

” It is a story about love and devotion that transcends time and race,” says Madison, “And it’s a beautiful reflection of the power of family and the interconnectedness of our world.”

The showing of Finding Samuel Lowe is part of  the Your Real Stories second annual Story Days in Tampa Bay storytelling festival. For five days, September 8-12, Story Days will have events around the Tampa Bay region. Stories will be read aloud, sung, danced, examined, exhibited in photographs, heard in poetry, slammed and seen in documentaries.

Finding Samuel Lowe  has won the Reel Choice Audience Award and the Markham Reel Choice Audience Award from the 2015 ReelWorld Film Festival.  Tickets can be purchased on . General admission is $15, Student/Senior tickets are $12. To purchase tickets online, go to,

For St Petersburg:

For Tampa:         

Tickets are also available at the door.

The event is sponsored by Advantage Environmental Services,  in partnership with the School of Theatre and Dance in the USF College of The Arts, the Confucius Institute, USF World, and News Channel 8 (NBC).

“This is My City: St Pete Stories” this summer and fall

Your Real Stories is producing a series of community conversations  called, “This is my city: St Pete Stories,” with the City of St Petersburg as the presenting sponsor.

The June 25, 2015 event at SPC Allstate featured stories from local St. Pete residents presented by actors, Andrida Hosey,  Roxanne Fay (not pictured here), Bob Devin Jones and Chris Rutherford with ASL interpreter, Kenneth Houghtaling. Photos by Boyzell Hosey.

Andrida Hosey as Deputy Mayor Kanika TomalinBob Devin Jones as Bishop Preston Leonard






Chris as Mayor with Kenneth

Dr Y wrapping up






Each event will have such dramatic readings and time for small group discussions. Dr. Yvonne Scruggs- Leftwich  provided a summary of the evenings discussion.

Here is the schedule for “This is my city: St Pete Stories”:  June 25, SPC Allstate Center, 3200 34th Street South; July 21, J.W. Cate Recreation Center, 5801 22nd Ave. North; August 27 at Lake Vista Recreation Center, 1401 62nd Ave. South;  and October 13 at Sunken Gardens, 1825 4th St. North.  Join us, it’s free.

See you there!

Second Annual “Give Day Tampa Bay” May 5, 2015

GDTB LogoOn May 5, 2015, people all over Tampa Bay and the nation will be donating money to their favorite charity.  It’s going to be a big “give fest” and Your Real Stories is part of it all. So ‘get your give on’ by supporting the cause of your choice. Your Real Stories will use any contributions to produce “Decades of Day Work VI,” more photographic exhibits, more community conversations and other projects.

What is it?

Give Day Tampa Bay is a one-day online giving challenge led by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and the Florida Next Foundation to raise support for local nonprofits and grow philanthropy in our region. It is a community-wide event to show off Tampa Bay’s spirit of giving, raise awareness about local nonprofits, and celebrate the collective effort of our region.

How does it work?

It’s simple! First, nonprofits create online profiles through the Give Day Tampa Bay website to participate in the event. Then, between 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 donors can log on to and make a donation to participating nonprofits that are located in Pasco, Pinellas, Hernando or Hillsborough County. Nonprofits may be eligible for additional prizes and bonuses!

 Don’t forget…give!


Season Opens with Photographic Exhibit September 2-10, 2014

Mark your calendars for…

 “My Soul Looks Back: The Decades of Day Work Photographic Exhibit,” at The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum, 2240 9th Ave. South, St. Petersburg, Fl.  September 2-10, 2014.

The Opening Reception, 

September 2 


  2014-2015 Season at a glance…

 Your Real Stories, Inc.

in association with

Communication Research Enterprises, Inc.


 “My Soul Looks Back: The ‘Decades of Day Work’  Photographic Exhibit”

in association with the

Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum

September 2-10, 2014



Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum,

2240 9th Ave S. St Petersburg FL 33712

                Opening Reception

               September 2, 2014


“Digital Storytelling–50 Steps To Documentary Success”


Andrew W. Thornhill

Founder and author of ‘The Digital Television Report’

September 10, 2014


Cash bar and snacks open at 5:00PM

Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum,

2240 9th Ave. S. St. Petersburg, Florida 33712

 “Disruptions”– Past, Present & Waiting Around The Corner”

The FCC Spectrum Auction, ATSC 3.0 & Digital Channels

in association with University of South Florida St. Petersburg

September 11, 2014


The Nelson Poynter Library, USFSP, St. Petersburg, Florida

140 Harborwalk Ave. S, St Petersburg, FL 33701

Storytelling Through the Ages
with a sneak preview of radio special

“What Are You Wearing New Years Eve?”

from the Fashion Media Project

Presented by

Thornhill Design Laboratory

September 13, 2014


Tampa Museum of Art

120 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602

“The Making of Decades of Day Work”

                                                 Jaye Ann Terry interviews YRS Artistic Directors

Lillian Dunlap and Jaye Sheldon.

November 11, 2014


The Studio@620

620 First Ave. South,

St Petersburg, FL 33701

“My Soul Looks Back: The ‘Decades of Day Work’  Photographic Exhibit”

in partnership with

The Studio@620

March 11-17

Gallery hours: 12:00PM-4:00PM


The Studio@620

620 First Ave. South,

St Petersburg, FL 33701

“Decades of Day Work V”

March 25-27, 2015


freeFall theatre

6099 Central Ave.

St Petersburg, FL 33710

Community Conversation:

The Death of Malcolm X Plus 50″

April 16, 2015


The Studio@620

620 First Ave. South,

St Petersburg, FL 33701


Your Real Stories 2014-2015 Season!

For Immediate Release


Your Real Stories Announces its 2014-2015 Season!

Producers of the popular theatre series, “Decades of Day Work,” announced the “Your Real Stories 2014-2015 Season” at a waterfront  reception in St. Petersburg on July 31. The season opens September 2-10 with “My Soul Looks Back:  The Decades of Day Work Photographic Exhibit” in association with the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum, 2240 9th Ave South in St Petersburg.  An opening reception is set for September  2, 6:00 to 8:00.

The final day of the exhibit begins “Story Days in Tampa Bay,”  September 10-13.  This four-day event invites storytellers, writers, actors, artists, photographers, media professionals, futurists, and entrepreneurs to share information about new and beneficial ways to tell, develop and distribute stories. This season, the featured speaker is Andrew W. Thornhill, founder and author of The Digital Television Report. His presentation, “50 Steps to Documentary Success,”  is from 6:00 to 8:00 on Wednesday, September 10  at the Woodson. On  Thursday, September 11 from 6:00 to 8:00, Thornhill  presents “Disruptions–Past, Present & Waiting Around the Corner”  at the Nelson Poynter Library on the  University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus. This interactive session answers questions about what’s next in the digital media world and  how new graduates and  people developing their own stories can win.

On November, 11, in partnership with The Studio@620, Your Real Stories presents “The Making of Decades of Day Work,” with attorney/author/playwright Jaye Ann Terry interviewing YRS Artistic Directors, Dr. Lillian Dunlap and Jaye Sheldon.

For 2015, YRS has scheduled  “My Soul Looks Back: The Decades of Day Work Photographic Exhibit II” in partnership with The Studio@620, March 11-17. Gallery hours are 12:00-4:00 Tuesday-Saturday. And March 25-27, YRS presents the fifth production of “Decades of Day Work” in association with  freeFall Theatre, 6099 Central Avenue, St Petersburg, FL. A special guest storyteller will be announced later.  ” Decades of Day Work IV”  at the same venue  earlier this year featured storyteller and author, Dr. My Haley, widow of Alex Haley and collaborator with him on the book and television series, “Roots.”

The last scheduled production will be the first Your Real Stories “Community Conversation:  Stories, Food and You” on April 16, at the Studio@620. The evening explores what the death of Malcolm X  has to teach people of all races and religions, 50 years later. “The Death of Malcolm X Plus 50” begins at 6:00.

The Your Real Stories  mission is to use storytelling and the magic of theatre, documentary film and other media to challenge people to talk and listen to each other across perceived differences of identity, experience and opinions.  Your Real Stories, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) tax exempt organization. We invite you to join us for any or all of our 2014-2015 Season events. Come and be inspired.

YRS Artistic Directors Jaye Sheldon and Lillian Dunlap
YRS Artistic Directors Jaye Sheldon and Lillian Dunlap

About the officers


Artistic Director/Founder        Lillian R. Dunlap, Ph.D.

Artistic Director/Founder        Jaye A. Sheldon, M.Mus.

Board of Directors

President    Teresa Nixon

Secretary   Linda Steele

Treasurer  Susan E. Langsdale