Speaking of Stories will present a free preview at Center Stage Theater on Thursday as part of the monthly 1st Thursday offerings downtown.

Two short stories will be included in the brief performances, at 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Free cookies and milk will be served on the patio before and after each performance — because every story should come with cookies and milk!

The short reading will include encore performances of two of the most popular stories so far from the Speaking of Stories season.

Rebecca Ridenour, who was recently seen in Santa Barbara in the Genesis West production of The Lieutenant of Inishmore will read The Cat Came Back by Ivan E. Coyote, a comic tale of youthful adventures in the Yukon. And the always charming Devin Scott will put a comic twist on the sting of The Rejection by Woody Allen.

The Speaking of Stories season opened in January with a sold-out performance of Nothing But Laughs, and it’s looking forward to continuing that success with its next performance, Down Memory Lane March 28-29 with stories that take a stroll through the past — ranging from the touching to the hilarious.

Performances include Sylvia Short, Jenna Scanlon, Rudy Willrich and Kristina Kulchin reading stories by Isabel Allende, Anne LaMott, Susan Vreeland and Stuart McLean.

Click here for information about the season’s remaining shows.

Teri Ball is the executive director of Speaking of Stories.