The Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival, featuring three world renowned storytellers, returns to Oak Ridge on Saturday, June 1.
It’s the second annual storytelling festival in Oak Ridge. The annual event is led by the three Rotary Clubs in Oak Ridge, all volunteers.
This year’s festival will be in the Historic Grove Theater. Due to public demand at the 2018 performances, a larger venue and an additional performance have been added, a press release said.
Bil Lepp, Carmen Agra Deedy, and Bobby Norfolk will perform for the 2019 festival. They have achieved national and international recognition and appear regularly at festivals, including the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, the press release said.
On Saturday, June 1, the Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival will present the art and magic of live storytelling with three performances at the Historic Grove Theatre: 10:00 a.m. to noon, 2 to 5 p.m. (with intermission) and 7 to 10 p.m. (with intermission), with different stories at each session.
Although the stories would be rated PG, it is suggested that the 10 a.m. performance would be most enjoyable for children five and older as it is a special family-oriented performance, the press release said. A free crafts-for-kids activity will be offered beginning at 9 a.m. at the Grove Theater.
Due to sell-out performances in 2018, it is suggested that tickets be purchased early, the press release said. There will be a limited amount of tickets for the performances at the door. Early Bird price is $40 for both afternoon and evening shows. Single show is $25. Family show is $30 for up to two adults and two children ages 5-18. Individual tickets for the family show are available for adults at $10 and for children at $5.
The storytelling weekend kicks off on Friday, May 31, from 1 to 4 p.m. with a writing workshop. Minton Sparks returns to conduct a three-hour interactive writing workshop, “My Crazy Kin—Transform Your Family Stories into a Compelling Personal Narrative.”
“Let Minton help you craft your own story from your family history and experiences and structure it for effectiveness,” the press release said.
“Wow, do I have a story for you! Learn how to transform your personal experiences into a compelling narrative. What’s your story? That’s what we will discover in this writing workshop,” Minton said in the press release.
A portion of the proceeds will go to the Flatwater Tale’s Community Partner, the Historic Grove Theater, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. Restoration of portions of the theater will include the building’s exterior wall. Featured will be historic photos of Oak Ridge from the collection of the late Oak Ridge photographer Ed Westcott.
“The Festival’s goals are to help bring our community together, introduce people to Oak Ridge, support local economic activity, and celebrate and support the clubs’ community projects,” said Emily Jernigan, Flatwater Tales chair and former Breakfast Rotary president. “We expect to grow Flatwater Tales to include local and regional lore, music, and history, and to help share the Oak Ridge story—past, present, and future—with a wider audience. We want to expand our storytelling training to include helping children find their voices using this age-old art form.”
For those who want to spend the Flatwater Festival weekend in Oak Ridge, rooms are reserved at a group rate at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel of Oak Ridge. Visit the hotel’s web page or call the hotel directly at (865) 481-2468 and refer to the group code: FTS.
Who are these internationally acclaimed storytellers? Meet them:
Bil Lepp, an acclaimed teller from Charleston, West Virginia, and five-time winner of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest, takes listeners on a winding, incredulous path before tying up all the loose ends in a neat, fantastical package. He tells humorous, imaginative tales, and says that while all the details may not be accurate, the feelings are always honest.
Carmen Agra Deedy, an award-winning author and teller from Decatur, Georgia, is a renown children’s author and storyteller. Born in Havana, Cuba, she came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1964. As a mother and storyteller, she has written numerous books and is the recipient of many national awards. Writing and telling stories for children for more than two decades, she has been the invited speaker at The American Library Association, Refugees International, The Smithsonian, TED, The Kennedy Center and many others.
Bobby Norfolk is an internationally known story performer and teaching artist, three-time Emmy award winner, and Storytelling Oracle Awards recipient. Born in an impoverished area in St. Louis, he overcame a debilitating stutter by entering a fourth-grade poetry contest. He later became a stand-up comedian, a National Park Service Ranger, and storyteller.
Tickets are now on sale on the Festival’s Facebook page and website, www.flatwatertales.com, and at The Ferrell Shop in Oak Ridge. For more information on Flatwater Tales, visit their website or email [email protected].
“If you can’t go to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, be sure to come to the Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival in Oak Ridge,” the press release said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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