THE STORY OF MY MOTHER’S STORY
It started with a story.
In 2004 Marilyn Norry, a Vancouver actor, writer and story editor, first heard the story at a wedding that started this project. Since then, many people have marveled at the story they’ve written about their own mother and at the stories they’ve heard of others. We are each storytellers and witnesses to the unfolding of the human race.
The first show was created by Marilyn Norry and Jenn Griffin in 2006, comprised of 20 mother stories collaged together in a unique form and delived by the actors who wrote them who swamped the stage at the Beaumont Theatre in Vancouver. People in the audience said the performance was a dream that flowed like a river.
We continue to be astounded at the impact this simple writing receipe has had on the people who write their stories, the mothers who are made visible, the families who learn and share their common history.
The stories collected for My Mother’s Story have been used for or provided the inspiration for a new form of theatre produced in Canada, East Timor, Portugal and Ukraine, 3 anthologies, a workbook, a radio documentary, many many writing workshops, a simple form of therapy, a social movement. And an Archive.
A copy of our Archive is also housed at the Digital Repository of Langara College in Vancouver where it will be kept safe.
Mothership Stories Society is a non-profit society formed in 2008 to manage this website, the Archive, and publishing our books.
About... some of our people
Marilyn Norry, BFA
Canadian actor, writer, dramaturg, director and teacher
Marilyn is a Canadian actor seen on stages across Canada, and in over 100 projects in film and television around the world. She has earned awards for her stage work, and on-screen has had the pleasure to work with Steven Spielberg, Sam Shepard, Laura Linney, as well as many other amazing artists, both known and unknown.
Marilyn is also the creator of My Mother’s Story and founder of the non-profit Mothership Stories Society. Since its inception in 2004, Marilyn has created an online Archive for ongoing mother story submissions, edited and published three written My Mother’s Story anthologies – The Originals, North Vancouver, and Gone Too Soon – written a workbook called Writing Women’s History Starting with Your Mother, and has co-created nine My Mother’s Story theatrical presentations through the Mothership.
In January 2023 she will be delivering a talk on My Mother’s Story for TEDxSurrey.
In 2010 the Union of B. C. Performers presented Marilyn with their Woman of Distinction award for advancing the status of women through her work creating My Mother’s Story, and its multimedia campaign telling women’s history one mother at a time.
Jenn Griffin, MA
Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Jenn has been a Vancouver based actor since 1986 and more recently an actor/playwright.
She was awarded the Sydney Risk award in 1999 for best emerging playwright in the wake of her first play “Drinking with Persephone”. “Into the Waves”, her first full- length play was first read at Nightwood’s Hysteria Festival” in 2005 under the direction of Sarah Stanley. In 2006, Jenn co-created with Marilyn Norry, the first in seven versions of “My Mother’s Story” a theatrical collage.
Griffin has been nominated for several Jessie Richardson awards, winning two. She has performed in several critically acclaimed productions. Highlights include: Yvette Nolan’s: “The Unplugging” and Dorothy Dittrich’s “The Dissociates”, was commissioned to write an original operetta for Fugue Theatre. In August 2009, “Via Beatrice” the commissioned work for Fugue Theatre, was performed in Vancouver. Via Beatrice received a Jessie Richardson nomination for Best Original Script.
Griffin and Marilyn created “My Mother’s Story: North Vancouver” under a commission from Presentation House (Brenda Leadlay A.D.) It had a successful run in October 2012. Griffin is currently an Associate at Playwright’s Theatre Centre, where she is creating a new work currently entitled: “The Long Call”. In May 2013, Jenn will be collaborating on a research project with Joanna Garfinkel and Natalie Schneck (Nightswimming Theatre).
As an actor, Griffin has numerous film and television credits. Highlights include: The L Word, Sheltered Life, Paul Pontius, Shattered, DaVinci’s Inquest, Better than Chocolate and Freeway 2.
20 questions with Jenn Griffin
Michelle Hohn, MA RTC
Having lost her mother to breast cancer at age 11, Michelle has spent her adult life focused on authentic paths to healing from loss and is passionate about supporting adults bereaved in childhood and adolescence. Through her private practice, Michelle specializes in grief and bereavement, navigating complex life transitions, and Sustainable Self-Care ® – a solution-focused program of individual counselling and coaching to support mental health and emotional well-being. Combining her love of writing with therapeutic benefits, Michelle also designs and offers custom workshops that integrate expressive writing techniques including: Celebrating Spirit (for human loss) and Celebrating Animal Spirit – The Loss of a Beloved Animal Companion (for pet loss).
After writing “The Story of Florence” in 2015, Michelle became the first MMS facilitator, and used her own transformative experience as the catalyst to propose a new themed collection surrounding early loss and bound together by author reflections about respective healing journeys. In addition to being a contributing author to My Mother’s Story: Gone Too Soon, Michelle counsellor-facilitated the expressive writing workshops and co-edited the anthology.
While not designed as research, Michelle is keen to
explore ways in which to replicate the transformative results from the collective experience in an evidence-based format.
Michelle holds a BA in Psychology, MA in Communications, certification with the US-based Therapeutic Writing Institute, a diploma in Applied Psychology and Counselling, and is registered with the Association for Cooperative Counselling Therapists of Canada (ACCT).
A CBC radio documentary was made of one of our meetings and played across Canada on Mother’s Day 2006. It is available for rebroadcast and can be heard at http://www.prx.org/pieces/17900-my-mother-s-story