Peabody Award-winning producer and director Lea Thau came to New York City from her native Denmark in 1996 to pursue graduate studies in comparative literature. One evening she attended The Moth, then a fledging live storytelling show, and that experience set her on a very different path. Starting with a part-time gig running The Moth’s community outreach program, which brings storytelling workshops to underprivileged communities free of charge, Lea went on to become The Moth’s Executive and Creative Director. During her decade with The Moth, Lea facilitated the development of hundreds of stories, and she created the enormously popular Moth podcast, as well as The Moth Radio Hour, which is carried by 250 radio stations around the country.

In 2011, Lea branched out from The Moth to create an exciting new storytelling podcast, Strangers, which is sponsored by KCRW’s Independent Producer Project. Lea and I recently spoke about Strangers, and her ongoing exploration of the deeper connections that emerge when we share our truest stories with others.


Lea Thau, Producer & Director
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One of Lea’s most memorable Moth experiences was working with the comedian Anthony Griffith, who told a deeply powerful story at the 2003 Aspen Comedy Festival about losing his daughter to cancer. To date, more than one million people have watched this video of Griffith’s performance:

In this video, by Marshall Douglis, Lea discusses the show concept for Strangers as well as its unique story development and production processes:


Photograph of Lea Thau and her son in India courtesy of Lea. Their trip was one of the central inspirations for Strangers, as Lea discusses in this episode.

Allyson McCabe writes and produces stories about music for NPR, and her own subscription-based channel, Vanishing Ink. More from this author →