VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- Military veterans and family members get to tell it like it is, in "The Telling Project."

The non-profit Telling Project collects and transcribes the stories of vets and their families. Those stories are told on stage, not by professional actors, but by the real people themselves who actually lived through it, like Army vet Mark Anthony Garcia.

"There's some sad stories, some comedic, but overall, we wanted to get our stories out there and I think that's the best thing is letting veterans with PTSD actually come and let there stories be heard," he said.

Fellow cast member and Navy wife Sibel Galindez agreed. "We have so many of them here, so giving them a platform in which to do it has been so empowering and meaningful and I'm really grateful for this opportunity.," she said.

The cast also includes a Navy veteran, an Air Force Vet, and a Navy wife.

Since 2008, The Telling Project has done 40 productions in 16 states.

This year as part of the Virginia Arts Festival, the Telling Project comes to Zeiders American Dreams Theater at Virginia Beach Town Center.

The whole idea is to ease veterans' transitions by giving local communities an opportunity to understand what veterans and military family members go through.

"I think it's very true that people who were in the military rarely get to tell their stories in a way that connects with people who haven't been in," said Artistic Director Bart Kuebler. "And I think that's one thing the Telling Project does very well."

Director Eric Harrell is excited about the show. "What's so great about this production is it's building a bridge, which I think is important for our community," he said.

Performances are this Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, and Sunday, at 2 pm, at Zeiders American Dream Theater at Virginia Beach Town Center, next to McCormick and Schmicks.