Charleston Tells Storytelling Festival, March 8-9

This inaugural festival in Charleston, SC features: Syd Lieberman, Barbara McBride-Smith, Ed Stivender and Donna Washington, along with local tellers Sharon Cooper Murray, Julian Gooding, Hawk Hurst, Minerva King and Tim Lowry and Becky’s Box of Puppets. For more details, visit www.ccpl.org/charlestontells or the Charleston Tells Facebook page.

Do Tell! Stories Under the Bell Tower, April 13

~ from Debbie Weston From ~

Madison-Morgan Cultural Center presents an amazing day of storytelling, featuring tellers Donald Davis, Carmen Agra Deedy, Andy Offutt Irwin, Debbie Weston From and Hannah From. From the Saturday morning family workshop through the evening performance, audiences and tellers share a special journey of emotions through tall tales, legends, folklore, and original stories. Between sessions, engage in conversations and discover the joy of recollection while telling one’s own stories.

Schedule of Events

  • ”Tell Me a Story,” Family Workshop (Free) – 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
    • Featuring Carmen Agra Deedy and mother and daughter storytellers Debbie Weston From and Hannah From.
  • ”Lunch and Listen” ($10 at the door) – Noon
    • Bring a sack lunch and enjoy a delightful performance featuring Donald Davis, Carmen Agra Deedy, and Andy Offutt Irwin, with an appearance by Hannah From.
  • “Pen to Paper Workshop” ($10 at the door) – 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
    • Storytelling Circle of Excellence recipient Donald Davis brings his mastery to a workshop for adults and older students on the art of storytelling.
  • ”Do Tell! Stories Under the Bell Tower” (Call for tickets) – 7:30 p.m.
    • Don’t miss the grand finale performance with tellers Donald Davis, Carmen Agra Deedy, and Andy Offutt Irwin.

Hannah From and Debbie Weston From will present several storytelling programs for the local schools on Friday, April 12, in Madison, Georgia.

For more information please contact:
Madison-Morgan Cultural Center
434 S. Main Street
Madison, GA 30650
706-342-4743 or 877-233-0598 toll free
egarrett@mmcc-arts.org
www.mmcc-arts.org

Storytelling at Bear on the Square Mountain Festival, April 20-21

~ from Debbie Weston From ~

During Dahlonega’s Bear on the Square Mountain Festival (www.bearonthesquare.org), not only can you hear great bluegrass and old-time music, there will also be an opportunity to hear wonderful live storytelling at The Crimson Moon (www.thecrimsonmoon.com)!

Dates and Times:
Saturday (4/20) at 10 a.m. and 3 p canadianviagras.com.m.
Sunday (4/21) at 10 a.m.

For more information please contact Debbie Weston From at debbie@debbiewestonfrom.com.

Report from “An Evening of Stories”

~ from Debbie Weston From ~

On Friday, February 1st, the Sautee Nacoochee Center (www.snca.org) in North Georgia, welcomed National Storyteller Elizabeth Ellis, and regional storytellers, Gail Hogan, Rosann Kent, Hannah From & Debbie Weston From for an Evening of Stories! It was a packed theater and a wonderful evening of live storytelling!

The Georgia Appalachian Studies Center at the University of North Georgia invited Elizabeth Ellis to talk with Appalachian Studies students and faculty on January 31st. So while Ellis was in town, she also told stories with Hannah From and Debbie Weston From at White County Intermediate School and then later on that evening at the Sautee Nacoochee Center!

Elizabeth’s visit to North Georgia successfully demonstrated how important and valuable live storytelling is as an art form.

Report from “Tell it in the Mountains”

~ from Janice Butt ~

Just out of Young Harris, in the beautiful North Georgia mountains, nine storytellers gathered for four days to work on story with Elizabeth Ellis at the Brasstown Valley Resort. The first, hopefully annual, Tell It In the Mountains retreat and workshop afforded these tellers the opportunity to work on a story of their choice in depth, using the methods outlined in From Plot to Narrative, Elizabeth Ellis’ new book. Participants were challenged to look at every aspect of the story they chose, including characterization, viewpoint, and conflict.

Taking a break from that work on Tuesday, participants invited the community to a story swap and shared five-minute stories in the Track Rock Theatre inside the resort. Mary Apps wrote, “What a wonderful experience it was to spend time with all of you great storytellers. The facilities were great and the staff couldn’t have been more accommodating. Thank you, Elizabeth, for stimulating our creative juices. You are indeed, an American Treasure. An unforgettable experience. Thanks to SOS for arranging it for us all.” Jo Sanders added, “Elizabeth gave us such wonderful examples and words of encouragement for creating and building our stories. Now I have another story in my “Story Bag.”

Elizabeth advised us: “As you get back into the groove of your regular life, remember to take time to think of yourself as an artist (tell yourself, ‘I am an artist.’) and about the importance of your work (‘I am an artist and what I do makes a difference.’) The world needs to hear stories.”

Report from 2013 SOS Festival

~ From Anthony Vinson, SOS President ~

The 2013 Southern Order of Storytellers Annual Storytelling Festival was, in a word . . . . Well, it is actually impossible to describe the festival properly using a single word. I suppose that one might try “Stupendous” or “Superlative” or even “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” – but while one or more of those might capture the scope of the event, it was the individual pieces, performances, and people that made the festival a veritable smorgasbord of story, song, and something special.

The festival kicked off on Thursday night with Stories on the Edge of Night, produced by Shannon McNeal and Stacy Beth Shulman, and held at Manual’s Tavern in Atlanta. The sellout, standing-room-only crowd was treated to an olio of thirteen storytellers. The performers were drawn from contributors to the several “reality storytelling” events that take place monthly around town, those events being Carapace, True Story, Write Club Atlanta, and Stories on the Square. Stories on the Edge of Night performers were selected after having shared a memorable story at one or more of those events during the previous year. The event was created as a showcase by which to introduce traditional storytellers to reality storytellers and vice-versa, since many of the performers were also members of the Southern Order of Storytellers.

The Bard’s Feast and Annual Membership Meeting were held on Friday evening in Decatur. After a catered dinner, outgoing SOS President Janice Butt recognized and thanked the members of the 2012 Board of Directors for their hard work and dedication; they received “Everybody Loves a Storyteller” mugs.

She then introduced the 2013 Board of Directors, including new President Anthony Vinson, who delivered a brief “State of the Story” message to members. Presentation of the Seanachie Awards followed, beginning with a special and long-overdue award being presented posthumously to longtime supporter and member, Sam Goldman. The award was presented by Feriel Feldman to Sam’s partner, Tom Ptaszynski. Next, it was announced that the recipients of the Seanachie Award for the year 2013 were Jan Cribbs and Tom Wallace.

The Friday night Regional Tellers Concert featured Anthony Vinson, Barry Stewart Mann, Eugenia Williams, and Sarah Beth Nelson. Impeccably emceed by Ann Ritter, the concert was a blend of humor, drama, history and ironic hilarity. The stories took us from the bowels of the earth to the forced busing of Florida school students in the 1970s, and provided poignant memories of Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as the unlikely pairing of wisdom teeth and weddings.

Saturday was filled with concerts and workshops. The storytelling sessions offered everything from folktales and fairy tales to ballads and bad puns. Performers included SOS founder Loralee Cooley, as well as three up-and-coming youth storytellers. All of the performers were practiced, polished and ready to perform when they took the stage, and the emcees kept the programs rolling right along on schedule. Workshops for adults were conducted by our headliner Elizabeth Ellis, and by members John Beavin and Sarah Beth Nelson. There were also two workshops for children and youth tellers conducted by Deborah Strahorn and Debbie Weston From; these sessions culminated in a children’s concert featuring performers who had participated in the workshops and emceed by SOS Youth Coordinator, Anne Wallace.

Our featured headliner, Elizabeth Ellis, set a new standard for any performers selected to appear at future festivals and events. Elizabeth attended practically every scheduled event. She also made herself available to members and attendees over the entire course of the festival. She supported and encouraged other performers and freely answered questions, offered advice and insight, and took lots of notes about all the great ideas she received in return. As Elizabeth put it, “I know a good idea when I steal it!” Her workshops were well attended and highly lauded, and her Saturday night concert was remarkable, with a combination of myths, legends, and personal stories.

And let us not forget to thank all of those who selflessly volunteered their time, talents, and hard work to make the festival a success. Led by Ticket Coordinator, Cynthia Rintye, Volunteer Coordinator, B.J. Abraham, and her equally able assistant Feriel Feldman, a small but dedicated group of member-volunteers attended to all the many behind-the-scenes details that made the festival a fun and memorable time for all. And in case you were unable to attend, SOS’s unofficial Official Photographer, David Miller, snapped lots of action photos, many of which will soon be posted at www.southernorderofstorytellers.org.

  

The 2014 Festival Planning Committee will begin meeting this month to start preparations for next year’s festival, which is scheduled for January 23rd through 25th. We are looking to do something new and different, next year – something you won’t want to miss! So please mark your calendars for January 23-25, 2014, and plan on being there.