The Interstitium

live stories from humans in healthcare


Northwest Narrative Medicine Collaborative presents the Interstitium: a storytelling evening that invites our community to share stories of how health and illness shape the way we live. Onstage. With a mic. Live. 

Interstitium [int-ər-ˈstish-ē-əm] • noun the space between two things that both joins and separates them

We created “The Interstitium” to contemplate the stories happening in these “in between spaces” of our lives.  What stories aren’t being told? How can we learn from them?

“The Interstitium” celebrates our lived experience of health and healthcare—it’s so much more than a diagnosis or a lab result. Each and every person’s relationship to their body lives at the intersection of health, power, and identity. We want to make that intersection a place where people feel heard and respected.

The stories we share are funny, serious, heartfelt, heartbreaking, lyrical, or absurd.  Each storyteller illuminates hidden moments in health and illness that can bring us together in shared humanity.

What’s Next: Online

May 26, 2021

"I'm Fine" and Other Lies from the Worst Year Ever

The COVID pandemic has challenged all of us in unique and unexpected ways. To help tell those stories, the Northwest Narrative Medicine Collaborative is proud to partner with the Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good (MACG) and Together+Well to share an evening of stories about what life has really been like for some of us in the last year.

This event will showcase three stories from healthcare workers and three stories from the communities they serve with an emphasis on the communities most impacted by COVID. It includes several stories from Latinx performers told in their native language and the entire event will be interpreted live for all to enjoy. Additionally, this particular show will feature opportunities to get involved with local community organizing efforts in Portland focused on addressing local health inequities.

Inspired already? Tickets are pay what you can and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Get yours now!

We'll be performing live from the Clinton Street Theater and broadcasting via Zoom. Link will arrive via email after you reserve your tickets.

Facilitator Bio

Ben Colburn is a family medicine physician at OHSU and the founder of “The Interstitium,” a narrative medicine performance series designed to raise up underrepresented voices in healthcare dialogues and create community through shared experience. His clinical passions are end of life care, LGBTQ+ health, and Latinx health. His personal interests are mushroom hunting, taking on craft projects he’s not qualified to attempt, and fawning over his COVID kittens Milo and Timothy Chalameow.

Event Details

May 26, 2021
7:00-9:00 pm

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Pitch Your Story

If you’ve got a story to tell, we want to hear from you! Patients, professionals, clinicians, caregivers, writers, artists—and the many of us whose lives span more than one category—all are welcome.

Calling All Storytellers! Do you have a COVID tale to tell?

We are thrilled to present this special edition of “The Interstitium” in partnership with the Metropolitan Alliance for Common Good (MACG) to be broadcast live on the evening of Wednesday, May 26th and available to stream remotely to keep our community safe.

We are actively looking for submissions from individuals with a COVID story to tell as part of the performance cast. We welcome ALL voices but especially aim to lift up the stories of people of color and others whose stories are heard less often. No story is too small or mundane to share: tell us about your healthcare experiences in the COVID era, your newfound love of homemade sourdough, your beloved new COVID pet, your unconventional home gym, or any other experience that has personal meaning to you! If you experienced it, we want to hear it. No prior performance is experience is necessary - our team will work with you to prepare your story before the event! To submit your story, write a 1-2 paragraph summary of what you want to share and why and pitch us below!

¡Llamando a Todos Los Cuentadores! ¿Tiene una historia de COVID que contar?  

Northwest Narrative Medicine Collaborative (NWNMC) y Metropolitan Alliance for Common  Good (MACG) están encantados de presentar “El Intersticio,” una noche de historias de nuestra comunidad sobre la vida durante la pandemia de COVID.  “El Intersticio” es un espacio para que nuestra comunidad puede compartir las historias  sobre las relaciones personales que todos tenemos con la salud, pero que rara vez  podemos compartir públicamente y relacionarse.  

Esta edición especial de “El Intersticio" se transmitirá en vivo la noche del miércoles 26 de mayo y estará disponible para transmitir de forma remota para mantener a nuestra comunidad  segura.  

Buscamos personas para contar sus historias de COVID con el elenco de esta actuación. Damos la bienvenida a TODAS las voces pero sobre todo apuntan  a realzar las historias de personas de color y otros cuyas historias se escuchan con menos frecuencia. Ninguna historia es demasiado pequeña o mundana para compartir: cuéntenos sobre sus aventuras médicas en la  era COVID, su nuevo amor por la masa madre casera, su querida nueva  mascota COVID, su gimnasio en casa poco convencional o cualquier otra  experiencia que tenga un significado personal para usted. Si lo experimentó, queremos escucharlo!  

No se necesita experiencia previa, nuestro equipo trabajará con usted para preparar su historia antes del evento. Para someter su historia, escriba un resumen de 1-2 párrafos de lo que quiere compartir y por qué y presenta tu historia a continuación.

The Interstitium began with a bang in the spring of 2019.

Check out our past shows!

Events Calendar

July 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  • NWNMC Board Meeting

Let us know about your upcoming event—or ask about bringing NWNMC to your community!