Reading Mary Hamilton’s new book, Kentucky Folktales, is like taking a storytelling master class that leaves you with its full text instead of sketchy notes and skimpy handouts. Through the use of scary tales, tall tales, folktales, and family tales Hamilton sheds light on such issues as fear, parental neglect and abuse, healthcare, hunting, war, kingly challenges, smart women, and raising babies.
Each tale is followed by a commentary that relates Hamilton’s sources for her tales and notes on how she adapted them for her own storytelling performances. Most of the stories are also followed by the script of one of the original tales, making comparisons and detail mentioned in the commentary easy to follow. Read more »
Back when I was an aspiring actor in New York City, fresh out of conservatory and performing in showcase productions in out-of-the-way, off-off-off-off-Broadway theaters, we had a rule — understood if not clearly spoken: call off the performance if the actors outnumber the audience. (Unless of course there happened to be a casting agent in the house.) I remember a particular production of Richard III (yes, think Richard Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl?) when the cast of fifteen put the policy to the test on numerous occasions.
Whether or not we cancelled shows (I don’t think the producer was in on the compact), the principle is clear. Don’t squander your talents on less-than-ample audiences. Or, more pointedly: what if you put on a show and nobody comes? Read more »
The bankruptcy of the International Storytelling Center is a sad affair and a concern to all citizens of Jonesborough, who recognize the great cultural and economic contributions that the Center and its programming bring to the town. For storytellers and storytelling proponents around the country and the world, however, it is a tragedy in the ancient sense, a drama in which the protagonists have pushed to an avoidable yet seemingly inevitable crisis. As a citizen of Jonesborough, a chronicler of the history of the storytelling movement, a past board member of the National Storytelling Network (NSN), and longtime supporter of both ISC and the National Festival, I would like to recount a version of this story which may help to fill some gaps in the narrative framed so far for the local press and public. In storytelling, point of view is all-important, and the tale is heard quite differently beyond the watershed of Little Limestone Creek.
For the first twenty years of its existence, the Storytelling Festival was produced by a hard-working partnership of storytellers from around the country who made up the Board of the National Association for the Preservation and Perpetuation of Storytelling (NAPPS), then the name of the Read more »
Press Play to hear storyteller Larry Brown talks about storytelling in higher education on the Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf.
All life is narrative, well at least narrative is how we perceive the structure of the cosmos, derive meaning, use language, and develop community. That seems to be a universal experience. I cannot imagine teaching informally or formally without narrative, without telling stories. So in the undergraduate or graduate classroom, or in alternative adult education, I do tell. I am aware that considerable contemporary research has indicated the value and effectiveness of story in teaching/learning, but I often structure the class period itself as a narrative plot. The class Read more »
Press Play to hear Michael Reno Harrell speak about American Folk Music and it’s effect on American Storytelling Community on the Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf.
Michael Reno Harrell Writes… People like to be talked to. Well, if you have something interesting to say, they do. It’s in our genes. All of mankind’s knowledge was passed on through storytelling until very recently as things go. And it’s a good bet that music started out as a part of that storytelling at about the same time. The two are as closely intertwined as fishing and talking about fishing. Read more »
Press Play to hear Jimmy Neil Smith about the future of the International Storytelling on the Art of Storytelling Center with Brother Wolf.
Photo Courtesy of Fresh Air Photo
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Jimmy Neil Smith
The Future of the International Storytelling Center
Jimmy Neil Smith writes…
In the early 1990s, I attended a conference of the Tennessee Arts Commission in nearby Johnson City. During the session, potter Bill Strickland spoke about the arts-based Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild and Bidwell Training Center in inner-city Pittsburgh an institution, founded by Strickland, that teaches low-income, inner-city youths an employment skill.
Strickland spoke eloquently about his institution and its program. His address was stirring and powerful. Then, as a closing, Strickland said, “I challenge each of you to go home and build an institution that confirms and makes real what you know.”
Strickland’s challenge inspired me.
Less than a year later, the National Storytelling Association announced the development of what would become the International Storytelling Center the organization’s first permanent home in 30 years and a “launching pad” for a series of national and international programs, products, and services.
It was Strickland’s challenge that would give birth to the institution that has become the International Storytelling Center. The Center campus now composed of the elegant Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall, Historic Center Inn, and the Storytelling Read more »
Press Play to hear Dr. Sherry Norfolk speak on why would should use storytelling in school settings on the Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf.
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Purchase a HQ Mp3 File of Interview #091 Sherry Norfolk
Why storytelling should be in Schools.
Sherry Norfolk Writes…
Last year, I taught a 3rd grade storytelling and creative writing residency in St Louis. The kids I worked with were typical – meaning that every child was different from every other child. They each had unique interests, skills and abilities. They each had different life experiences and different needs. Typical class, right? So; what? Why am I telling you about these typical kids?
Because they WERE typical! Because in that class, there were some kids who HATED to write and some kids who NEVER paid attention in class and some kids who HATED to get up in front of people for any Read more »