The National Storytelling Festival, held in Jonesborough TN, will be October 6-8. It’s on our calendar of events, but here’s a link to the “Souvenir Program” with the complete schedule of events.
This is a picture of the, now completed, Storytelling Quilt I made for our son Jonathan Metcalf-Burton, formerly of the Twinbrook Tellers. Jonathan worked incredibly hard to learn these, and other, stories. He is also a musician, so the characters have instruments, most of which Jonathan plays. Raven, Stork, and Woodpecker are from the poem Birds of America by James Broughton. Spider Woman and the Yellow Birds are from the Navajo tale Zinnia: How the Corn Was Saved from the book by Patricia Hruby Powell. Raven and Eagle’s Daughter are from the Northwest Native American tale How Raven Saved the Ancient Peoples, told in several versions. Rabbit is from two stories: Lion and Rabbit, from Favorite Tales from the Panchatantra by Mrudul Tata, and Who’s in Rabbit’s House by Verna Aardema. The “Long One” , the caterpillar in the tree and Elephant are also from Who’s in Rabbit’s House. And the Lion is also from Lion and Rabbit.. The saxophone-playing creature in the middle of the quilt is The Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll.
All of the illustrations are original designs, my interpretations of the characters from the stories.
The 2017 Teller in Residence program for the International Storytelling Center features a different storyteller each week, May through October. Tickets go on sale April 1, 2017. Programs are held in the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall in Jonesborough, TN. Each year TIR offers a talented line-up of storytellers representing the finest entertainment available in the world of storytelling. Choose from matinees, special evening concerts, children’s performances, and workshops. For more information: http://www.storytellingcenter.net/events/storytelling-live/tir-schedule/
The Grapevine Storytelling Series, by Tim Livengood, email@example.com
The Grapevine is a monthly storytelling program on the second Wednesday evening of each month from September through June, run by Noa Baum and Tim Livengood in Takoma Park, Maryland. We’re in the middle of our 4th season, the second at our current location. Our typical audience number is 30-50, with a peak of 87 the night that we hosted the incomparable Elizabeth Ellis. The Grapevine is presented at Busboys and Poets (BB&P), a small local chain with an arts and literary focus, named in honor of poet (and one-time busboy) Langston Hughes. The restaurant provides a dedicated performance space with food service.
I couldn’t claim to be an authority on what makes a successful, For the Florida Storytelling Association, “InSideStory” storytelling program, but I know what we do, and why we do it, and what level of success we’ve had. We have divided the labor to produce the Grapevine, by accident and by inclination, so that Noa has provided the artistic direction and Tim has handled organization and promotional materials. Noa and Tim swap hosting duties from one evening to another. The program opens with up to three open-mic tellers (five minutes each), followed by usually two (but occasionally just one) featured teller. Total performance time is about an hour and a half. We aren’t very specific in instructions to our tellers. We ask for whatever they are inspired to tell – fiction, nonfiction, myth, legend, autobiography, folk, or literary stories, in whatever mode they want – but no reading! We are supported by audience donations and by sponsorships. The program is free to anyone who wishes to be there, but we ask for donations of $15 per person if they can do it, and the collection shows that most people are able to pitch in for the full request. The collected donations are split between our featured tellers for the night. Our biggest single sponsor at this time is the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, which provides a reliable baseline payment for our artists in addition to the donations and which also accepts donations directed to the Grapevine by commercial sponsors, passing them through to the tellers and enabling the sponsors to take a tax deduction, since FSGW is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. FSGW covers the venue fee and the cost to produce promotional materials, and advertises the Grapevine through communications to its membership. BB&P is our other largest sponsor, as they give us a big price break on the venue fee, they feature the Grapevine on their monthly online performance calendar, and promote it in-house. Tellers are able to sell merchandise at the show.
We have learned a few lessons. We were advised from the beginning by Loren Niemi that in hosting a show, it is not the host’s show, although it took a little experience to believe him fully. The host introduces the program, keeps it moving, reminds the audience of the mechanics (what they can expect, please donate, please turn off your cell phone, please donate, honor our sponsors, and please donate), runs the open-mic program, and introduces the featured tellers. Hosting is not a call to tell stories of our own each night, although we do reward ourselves by each appearing as a featured teller one night per season. Starting the program with the open-mic session, instead of at the end or middle, is intentional. Audience tends to trickle in, no matter what you do, and it’s tough to tell a long and intricate story while the room fills and half the audience missed the beginning. Starting the program with the open-mic encourages audience to come in, get settled, and support their friends for the open-mic, and it encourages new tellers to come up and tell a story without embarrassment from following a seasoned professional.
A really big lesson has been the importance of food. We started in a lovely auditorium with great sound, appearing on local public-access TV as an arts program sponsored by the City of Takoma Park. The facility was great, but audience was small. We were in a noncommercial area with no food service, forcing potential audiences to choose whether to eat early, eat late, skip dinner, or skip us. We sought and gained a member grant from the National Storytelling Network to make the jump from the Community Center to cover the venue fee at Busboys and Poets for our third season. Having set the plan, we worked with FSGW to expand the budget for the fourth season, with additional support from commercial sponsors who receive recognition during the program.
The Grapevine is drawing a good audience (although we cherish dreams of growing just… a bit… bigger). We have had autobiographical storytellers, traditional tellers, local and out-of-town tellers, Griot tellers, bilingual tellers and musical tellers, funny tellers and serious tellers; we have tellers coming who tell through movement, and tellers who tell in group performance. Soon, we will be scouting for tellers to fill the program for our fifth season, September 2017 through June 2018, looking for every flavor of story and every mode of live-performance storytelling. Come hear it (and tell it) through the Grapevine!
Submitted by Tim Livengood, written for the Florida Storytelling Association, “InSideStory”
I’ve learned so much from working with him over the years.
He’s a great and very generous coach.”
Maryland Traditions applications for Apprenticeship Awards and Project Grants are now open!
Maryland Traditions, the folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council, is pleased to open applications for its annual Apprenticeship Awards and Project Grants. These two forms of support are designed to help artists and organizations document, preserve, and sustain Maryland’s traditional arts and culture.
The Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Award funds a year-long period of study between a master and apprentice artist in the folk and traditional arts. These awards support the passing down of cultural knowledge in a wide array of living traditions in Maryland. Past Apprenticeship Award recipients include performers of Nepali folk music (pictured) and Korean drumming, as well as practitioners of Chinese calligraphy and Norwegian rosemåling. Download the application for this award here. Note that Apprenticeship Award applications must be submitted on paper and postmarked before midnight on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017.
The Maryland Traditions Project Grant helps organizations add significance to Maryland’s cultural communities by encouraging and funding professionals as well as community scholars, organizations, and artists working with Maryland’s traditional arts and culture. Past Project Grant-funded activities include the production of an old time fiddle competition, a rowhouse arts festival, and a documentary film on traditional river baptisms. Access the application for this grant here. Note that Project Grant applications must be submitted via eGrant, MSAC’s online grant application system. Instructions are available via the link above. Online submission of applications is due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017.
Technical assistance for Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Awards and Project Grants is available to all applicants. Please refer any questions or comments to Maryland Traditions Director Chad Edward Buterbaugh at (410) 767-6450 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to hear from you by Feb. 3!
From the International Storytelling Center:
Can’t make it to this year’s National Storytelling Festival? We’ve got you covered.
On Friday, October 7, we’re streaming video live from our Family Tent so you can join us in Jonesborough from wherever you happen to be.
Throw a viewing party, check in on your phone during lunch, or binge watch the whole thing from the comfort of your couch!
Want to convince others about the power of storytelling? Invite your family, colleagues, and students to tune in, too!
It’s easy, it’s entertaining, and it’s free!
Join the celebration by using the hashtag #storyfest on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Connect with our audience in Jonesborough and around the globe!