Secretly Y’all is an organization that broadcasts true stories to inspire, create, and invest in community.

We recognize that the power of a story is more than a sum of its words. For the past eight years, Secretly Y’all has curated live events and provided a microphone and a safe space for those who have a true story that needs to be shared, as well as a welcoming space for those who choose to listen.

SY is the community of Richmond, Virginia – the individuals who have been willing and wonderful enough to stand up with a microphone and share a story, and all of those who have shown up again and again to listen and show their interest and support through this simple act.

Our live storytelling events are the foundation of Secretly Y’all. Every other month we host a regular event where an average of 150 people come to listen and donate to the featured local nonprofit or charity. Along with special events that we have been invited to organize (eg, with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts or Library of Virginia) we have curated and recorded over 65 live storytelling events, have more than 600 stories in our archives, and raised and funneled around $16,000 directly back into our local community.

What happens at a Secretly Y’all event?

Every live event has a theme. The set list is the first part of the evening, which is comprised of people who have submitted and been selected to share their story. The story must be true, told without notes, and under 7 minutes in length. During the second part of the evening, we pick names at random from a hat for volunteers share their stories.

We recognize and strive to embody the fact that the power of a story is more than a sum of its words. We provide a welcoming, safe space for telling those stories, and use this as a way to invest back into our community. From the $5 door donation collected at each event Secretly Y’all has channeled over $13,000 directly into local non-profits and charities since 2009.

The team

Secretly Y’all was founded by Kathleen Brady and Colin King. Tyler Trumbo is our sound engineer and helps with events.

Brittany Jezouit manages the website and works on the archives. Logo design by Jenn Buch.

Press coverage & articles

“It’s a pretty magical… it’s a different kind of community gathering than going to a pub and drinking beer. It’s a quiet attendance, because people are telling a story. It’s great to see a large crowd get quiet and listen to someone else speak.”

Secretly Y’all: Telling stories on the rooftops of Richmond, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2017

Could you stand in front of one or two hundred people–most of them strangers–and tell a true, personal story? You can! Colin King and Kathleen Brady have created a space for you to do just that–and to make connections you may have not otherwise made. Secretly Y’all says they exist to “encourage people to tell true stories in front of an audience, bringing people together through storytelling.” If you’ve ever been to one of their events, you know they are achieving their mission each and every time.

Secretly Y’all, High Five RVA, 2016

“For $5 for a couple hours worth of entertainment you cannot go wrong attending this at least once”

Storytelling in Richmond with Secretly Y’all, DiscoverRVA365, 2016

“The people listening are super-supportive so storytellers don’t have to battle for an audience’s attention. In four years, we’ve never once had to ask someone to turn off their cell phone or to be quiet.”

Not So Secret – Style Weekly, 2014

“Charity is what makes the event great and keeps people coming.  Not only are they enjoying the stories but they are also donating and learning about a charity or organization doing good in Richmond.  It just makes it more about community”

Secretly Y’all, Home on the James, 2015

“An event where people tell true stories in front of a live audience based on a theme, that’s kind of our bare bones”

LOCAL STORYTELLING SERIES SECRETLY Y’ALL BRINGS FIRST BIKE-THEMED FESTIVAL TO FORMER GRTC BUS DEPOT, RVA Mag, 2015

“Even as a lifelong Richmonder (greater RVA, that is—I did grow up in suburbia), I struggle to name what it is that makes Richmond so…Richmond, but I know it when I hear it. Fortunately, I hear these kinds of narratives regularly at storytelling events hosted by Secretly Y’all.”

Who tells Richmond’s story?, Scalawag, 2016