Seattle, WA
May 29, 2023

Take Town Hall With You Wherever You Go

Town Hall is always looking for ways to make our programs even more accessible—from livestreaming sold-out programs, to making our talks freely available through our media library and podcasts. With our new Digital Stage page on our website, it’s easier than ever to take Town Hall with you wherever you go!  On this page, you’ll find our In the Moment podcast, access audio and video of past events, see upcoming livestreams, and find our latest initiative: articles and interviews with upcoming speakers.

We distill our lengthy conversations with speakers down to just a few choice minutes, and that means some fun exchanges don’t make the final cut. Just for you, our Members, here are some behind-the-scenes extras from the clipping room floor, material that didn’t make it into the publicly-released version of Jonathan Shipley’s interview with lexicographer Kory Stamper:


JS: What are some interesting things to happen in a dictionary office that most of us know nothing about?

KS: There is no speaking. The work that we do is mentally intense and so it is very, very, very quiet in a dictionary office. We don’t talk to each other about lunch plans or…

Do you like each other?

(Laughs) We do like each other! But it is an office of pretty extreme introverts. We email each other and there’s a company Slack channel and all that, but during the work day the office is almost entirely silent because of the way that work is.

Another thing – most people think that if you work at a dictionary office you know everything. That, in fact, is not the case. We don’t know everything.

If that were the case you’d all be wizards on ‘Jeopardy!’ and win millions of dollars and no longer have to work at a dictionary office.

Lots of times people will ask weird questions about anything. I’ve gotten questions like, ‘What do you look for when purchasing an Alaskan Malmute?’ One of my colleagues got a question, ‘Where can I buy beans?’ People assume we know everything.

Is there a certain person at the office who handles all of these questions?

It’s different for every dictionary company. At Merriam-Webster the way we did it was there were three editors who basically took turns going through all the customer email. They’ll either answer them, forward them on to another editor to answer…

Or send it to all staff to giggle at?

It’s kind of funny because it’s so common now that it’s, ‘Whatever.’

Stay tuned to our Digital Stage for more original content, articles and interviews, and unique previews of the big ideas on their way to Town Hall’s stages!

April is National Volunteer Month

April is National Volunteer Month, and Town Hall would \like to say thank you to everyone who has volunteered with usl.  Volunteers make our events possible, introduce new people to Town Hall, and offer invaluable support in our offices. More than 120 of you dedicate your time and efforts to help our community–thank you!

We spoke with a few of our most steadfast volunteers about their experience with Town Hall:

I learned about Town Hall shortly before moving to Seattle in January 2014 and I just knew it would be a place I would feel at home.  I love being involved with such a vibrant, vital community organization. Town Hall always makes me feel valued as a member and a volunteer. It’s my happy place.” -Wendy

I like that I can volunteer for author talks, radio shows, spelling bees, children’s concerts . . .  I can also choose to stay for the event or not, and/or leave early to catch a bus. . . Both the staff and the volunteers are interesting people, and most times I learn something from them during the shift. For the most part, people who attend events appreciate that we are volunteers and are doing our best to make sure they have a good experience.” –Sarah Horrigan

“I started volunteering when I moved here. So far it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. I look at Town Hall as my “food” for thought. So I have dinner there a lot.” -Lucy Bauer

Thank you! If you’re interested in volunteering with Town Hall, we’re currently looking for:

  • Photographers to capture our events. Enjoy free tickets and insider access to our events, and help us document this amazing year spent Inside/Out. Interested? Contact:
  • Volunteers to table at events, helping patrons become new members, answering questions, and sharing your love for Town Hall. Interested parties should contact:

Volunteers to support our events at the box office, check-in, as well as ushering and assisting patrons. Interested parties should contact:

Distilled Tickets are on sale now!

Inside/Out has introduced us to new community members and given us the opportunity to confront and overcome new challenges—and we’ve felt the support of you, our Members, every step of the way. Your commitment and belief in Town Hall has made it possible for us to program an experimental season while diving wholeheartedly into the exciting, new, and unfamiliar. That’s why yours are the familiar faces we’re most excited to see at this year’s Distilled fundraiser on May 18!

Distilled is Town Hall’s annual fundraiser where we boil down the essence of our organization–the empathy of an organizer, curiosity of a scientist, creativity of the artist, voice of the people–into a night of celebration and support. We’ve programmed an evening that embraces the new while capturing the soul and substance of Town Hall—a dash of civics, a splash of art, a heap of fun! Your night begins with a cocktail party at Canvas’ sleek modern event space in SODO alongside fellow Town Hall supporters and a few Seattle luminaries. Together, we’ll enjoy signature drinks from Sound Spirits, delicious hors d’oeuvres, games, and great conversation. The festivities continue with live music, a program featuring friends of Town Hall, a classic address from Executive Director Wier Harman, and a chance to raise your paddle in support of Town Hall.

Town Hall is more than a building; it’s the act of coming together. Wherever the like-minded and curious minds of our city gather to support bold ideas becomes a laboratory for brewing change. Town Hall’s magic is found in the warmth of our community and the buzz of inspired ideas. So whether we’re mingling in the Great Hall or somewhere entirely new, it’s our community and our devoted Members that comprise Town Hall’s lifeblood.

Come together for a night of cocktails, conversation, and music, and the opportunity to raise-the-paddle in support of accessible and enriching programming for all. Add your love to the mixture and help us concoct the essential night out for Town Hall!

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Spring Construction Update

Our friends at Rafn Construction have been using these scaffolds to give the Great Hall a face lift, accessing the ceiling to install new molding and lovingly remove the stained glass windows for restoration offsite. Construction is going well, and we’re thrilled to watch the space transform over the next few months! When the upgrades are installed and the renovation is complete, we’re looking forward to inviting our community to fill the stately oak pews once again, and filling the Great Hall with the voices of our city.

Rafn Construction has also been assisting us with a particular project that we’re excited to share with you first: the installation of our signature acoustic upgrades!

First on our list is a custom-designed acoustic reflector. The wooden construction mimics the shape of a lute, and will deliver fully rounded sound to every seat in the house, so you can hear a pin drop, a single voice, the silence between violin strikes—or the roar of a full orchestra. Town Hall is a one-of-a-kind platform for our region’s homegrown talents and ideas, and this acoustic reflector will ensure that you hear the sounds of our city louder and clearer than ever!

We’re also including a suite of special sound dampening materials to preserve sound fidelity between our performance spaces. Imagine a symphony in the Great Hall, a civic policy discussion in the new West Lounge, and live radio theatre Downstairs—all at the same time. The insulation will ensure that you hear every detail of your program with no interruptions from the others (or the din of traffic from outside). Add in a new bass trap and AV upgrades, and we’re poised to become an even better home for music and culture in Seattle—an even stronger shared resource for artists and audiences alike.

You’ll be hearing more about these acoustic upgrades in the coming weeks, but we wanted you to be the first to know! Stay tuned as we unveil new and exciting details, and stand with us as we ask our community to come together to help fund a world-class performance hall for our homegrown talents.


A rendering of the new acoustic reflector.


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