2017 Teller In Residence Program at the International Storytelling Center

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

The Grapevine Storytelling Series, by Tim Livengood, storytellertimlivengood@gmail.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”

Loren Niemi will be in the area March 26-30, 2017

Noa Baum says, “A wonderful opportunity to hone your craft and grow your storytelling art.
I’ve learned so much from working with him over the years.
He’s a great and very generous coach.”
Loren say of his coaching sessions,
“I can provide coaching in three areas (pick one or some combo thereof) – 1) coaching on what is the story? Moving from a first notion or notes, to the what do you want to tell frame for a story. 2) shaping the story. Whether it be plot or emotional arc or making the meaning and why it matters clear. and 3) performing – how does the story fit for time or venue? What do you need or want to do to fully inhabit the story?  Priced at $50 an hour or portion of.”
Contact Loren at niemistory@aol.com

Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Awards and Project Grants

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 chad.buterbaugh@maryland.gov. We hope to hear from you by Feb. 3!

Livestream the National Storytelling Festival

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!

Visit us at https://livestream.com/storytelling/events/6378452

Join the celebration by using the hashtag #storyfest on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Connect with our audience in Jonesborough and around the globe!

Summer Institutes and a Master’s Degree program for Storytellers at ETSU

East Tennessee State University offers a Master of Arts in Professional Communication (PCOM) with Concentration in Storytelling/Theatre. This is one of a select few fully accredited graduate programs in Professional and Applied Storytelling in the United States.

The ETSU Storytelling Institutes are short intensive master classes on particular topics within the field of contemporary storytelling. Established in 1992, ETSU Institute instructors have included many of the best-loved performers and teachers in the storytelling world. ETSU Summer Institutes are a great way for interested students to get a taste of the spirit and energy of the ETSU Storytelling Program.

These popular four day workshops may be attended by anyone–either for university credit or on a non-credit basis. Generally one graduate credit hour is available per institute. In-state tuition is available to those who enroll–no matter the residence of the enrollee; however you must go through the National Storytelling Network Instructional Credit Agreement to receive this special rate.

August 1st -3rd, 2016, Andy Offut Irwin will be instructing a course “Telling stories with Wit” ~ great opportunity to learn from one of the best Andy is one of the most sought after performing storytellers in the United States. Andy has been a featured teller at the International Storytelling Festival for 6 years and has received many awards for his work.

September 30th – October 2nd. Clare Muireann Murphy will teach you how to navigate a “Journey through the Landscape of Story” ~ this young woman is bright and creative in her multifaceted works and skills. Clare is a world renowned storyteller who is currently touring with the Royal Shakespeare Company and working internationally as a consultant and an artistic associate with the National Theatre.

For more information: http://www.etsu.edu/cas/comm_perform/storytelling/

Or contact: Charis Hickson,Graduate Assistant, ETSU Storytelling Program, 423.439.7606