bicycleThe story begins when Powerstories Theatre was born in June 1998 as Fran Powers crossed the Wyoming border on a cross country bike trip. The idea took root when she returned to Tampa and notified women of an audition opportunity.

She simply asked “Do you have a story to tell?”

Eight local women, ages 30 to 70, with little to no acting background were selected to perform for the general public. An original script “Let the Stories Move You” with original music was written to link all the stories into a cohesive and inspirational theatre piece.

debartolo-foundationPowerstories Theatre debuted in November 2000 at the Friday Morning Musicale in Tampa, Florida. By August 2001 they performed at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center to sold out audiences.  By 2010, it won a prestigious Arts & Humanities Award, presented by Michelle Obama at the White House. Today, Powerstories Theatre is branching out onto the national stage with the Advice I Would Give My Younger Self series.

Washington-DC--Girlstories-600From the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center to the hallowed halls of the White House, Powerstories Theatre has a rich history and a proud list of accomplishments garnered over its nearly two decades in existence.


  • July 1998 – Founder rode bicycle across the United States and as she crossed the Wyoming border, she envisioned building a theatre called Powerstories. This would be a theatre focusing on true stories and the empowerment of women and girls worldwide.
  • 1999 – Founded announced a new theatre called Powerstories Theatre was being created. She invited interested women to the first Powerstories Theatre gathering in an old cigar factor in West Tampa. She asked for them to share their true stories of success.
  • 2000 – Produced “Let the Stories Move You” a show of seven women telling true stories. Performed in Tampa at the Friday Morning Musicale.
  • 2001 – Performed “Let the Stories Move You” at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center to sold out audiences.
  • 2002 – Powerstories debuted “It’s Possible” Seminars at Marriott Downtown. 300 women attended full day seminar featuring Powerstories.
  • 2003 – Powerstories Theatre became a non-profit 501c3 with the mission of staging true stories of women and girls worldwide to open minds and hearts.   First Powerstories Board of Directors was formed. “Seek and Speak Your Story” workshops were offered to general public. A second production “Clarity Cometh” opened in Tampa. The Girlstories Project began helping girls in the inner city tell their story using theatre and art concluding with workshop performances.
  • 2004 – The first book was published titled Power Stories – Everyday women creating extraordinary lives, AND the women performed for their first national conference, AND work began with Moffitt Cancer Institute to help patients tell their story. November 2004 Powerstories was featured in “Smart Women” series in 67 TV stations nation-wide.
  • 2005 – Board approved a Social Entrepreneur Model to train others to become facilitators. Three women trained in 2005.
  • 2006 – Powerstories produced and performed a custom show for Moffitt Cancer Center’s 20th Anniversary. Powerstories enjoyed their 5 year celebration featuring women in the community, Powerstories girls and women and singer Irene Cara. Sold out!
  • 2007 – “Bernadette’s Bravo” began to perform nationally! Powerstories set strategic goals of performing in seven cities and adding seven new facilitators in 2007. Women performed in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Savannah Ga, and Asheville NC.
  • June 2008 – Girls performed Lights So Bright at Tampa Bay Performing arts center to a sold out audience. Women continued performing. National Financial crisis stopped growth. Powerstories lost significant funding. Regrouping yet staying strong.
  • 2009 –   All programs continued. New funding sources were sought. Girls performed The Hero Within.
  • 2010 – Powerstories won the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award and received the award at the White House in October. Bernadette’s Bravo selected to go to Washington DC for the DC Fringe Festival. The fourth women’s show SheVolution opened in Clearwater, Fl. Girls performed The Mighty ME Mission.
  • 2011 – Continued to perform SheVolution in Tampa. Created our first annual fundraiser “The Gift of Story Gala” which drew guests from Washington DC. Hired an administrative assistant. Girls performed The Dream We Dare. Won the WEDU Be More Award.
  • 2012 – Moved into a new studio on Kennedy Blvd. which was turned into a 30 seat theatare. Started a second Girlstories Leadership Theatre in SouthShore doubling programs for youth. Hired a Director of Development. Open Mic Nights begin.
  • 2013 – Produced the fifth original women’s show SheVolution – Act II. Powerstories was selected to attend the Women’s Summit at the Omega Institute.
  • 2014 – Hired Artistic Director and Director of Operations. Received funding from Arts Council of Hillsborough County. Launched first season of published plays called “The PowerPlay Series”. Received the Lightning Community Hero Award. Rebranded Powerstories Logo.
  • 2015 – Completed 1st PowerPlay Season of Shows to include: Never Saw Another Butterfly, Graceland and The Elvis Monologues, and Stop Kiss. Increased size of Powerstories Theatre from a 30 to 60 seat theatre. Won the Children’s Board Business Competition for the Social Enterprise project The Advice I Would Give My Younger Self Play SeriesStarted 3rdr new Girlstories Leadership Theatre in Sulphur Springs in Hillsborough County.
  • 2016 – Completed 2nd PowerPlay Season of Shows to include: Decision Height, Gas and Candles, and Last Lists of My Mad Mother. Officially launched The Advice I Would Give My Younger Self Play Series. Hired two marketing staff. Won the DeBartolo Foundation Spirit of Humanities Award.

Awards

2010 – National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award

2011 —  WEDU Be More Award

2014 – NHL Lightning Community Hero Award

2015 – Children’s Board Business Competition First Place Award. Disney Award

2016 – DeBartolo Foundation Spirit of Humanity Award