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September 8, 2005

CW hosts internationally acclaimed storytellers for first storytelling festival

Colonial Williamsburg’s guests will be spellbound as they gather in Virginia’s restored 18th-century capital throughout the weekend of Sept. 16-18 to be entertained and inspired by eight internationally acclaimed storytellers during Colonial Williamsburg’s first storytelling festival “Spinning Stories/Spanning Time: A Weekend of Stories Old and New.”

These word artisans will bring to life tender and hilarious recollections of childhood; Southern stories; epic arguments; delicious recipes gone wrong; mime; African oral traditions; and post-modern folktales.

  • Don Davis, the acknowledged father of family tales, grew up in a family of traditional storytellers who have lived on the same North Carolina Appalachian southland since 1781. Davis captures the minds and hearts of his audiences, while simultaneously evoking thoughts and feelings from their own memories.
  • Jay O’Callahan says storytelling is an invitation to the audience to “see a world so vivid that the theater disappears.” For 25 years, O’Callahan has been spinning his stories around the world. Yet, after all this time, the Massachusetts native still enjoys the process of growing a story, weaving together the sounds, color and specific details that make a world.
    Alabama resident to deliver insights into humanity while sharing her wealth of Southern stories.
  • Charlotte Blake Alston is a Philadelphia-based storyteller, narrator and singer who breathes life into traditional and contemporary stories from the African and African-American oral and cultural traditions. She shares fables of flying slaves and tall tales through spoken rhythms and interwoven passages of song.
  • Laura Pershin Raynor brings to life the colorful cast of characters from her unique and loving family through tales of secret messages and outrageous tricksters. Her grandmother, who lived to be 105 years old, raised her on fascinating tales of the “old country,” providing Pershin Raynor with a rich landscape for her own stories.
  • Antonio Rocha, a native of Brazil, began his career in 1985. Since then he has performed his unique blend of mime and verbal narrative from the Far East to the Far West. Identified by some as “poetry in motion,” Rocha has studied with masters Tony Montanaro and Marcel Marceau.
  • Dylan Pritchett has averaged more than 200 performances annually in schools, libraries and museums since 1990. Pritchett’s performances and assemblies are age-appropriate with six major themes in mind: moral teachings, building self-esteem, respect, enhancing listening skills, the African oral tradition and having fun.
  • Barbara McBride Smith is an Oklahoma native and storyteller of mythical proportions. Acclaimed for her uptown-downtown Greek myths, unforgettable biblical tales and on-the-edge family stories, she often seems bigger than life. In reality, McBride Smith is a school librarian, seminary professor and moonlighting storyteller.

    Colonial Williamsburg’s storytelling festival weekend begins at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16 at Bassett Hall, the former Williamsburg residence of Abby and John D. Rockefeller Jr., with school group programs that include lunch. Friday evening’s 7 p.m. “Opening Olio” (storyteller sampler) in the Kimball Theatre, located in Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchants Square, offers guests a taste of what all eight storytellers will present during the weekend.

    On Saturday, Sept. 17, storytellers will perform at various Colonial Williamsburg venues, starting at 9:30 a.m. at Bassett Hall, and continuing to the Hennage Auditorium in the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Kimball Theatre. Storytellers will be available for autographs several times throughout the day.

    From 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Saturday, festival attendees are invited to stop by the “Swappin’ Ground Tent” to perform their own favorite story with other lovers of great stories.

    As the sun sets Saturday evening, guests are invited to gather for “Family Stories” from 7 to 8 p.m. at Bassett Hall. Those who think that the cover of darkness is a great time for bone-chilling stories are invited to enjoy 18th - through 19th- century and contemporary “Ghost Tales” from 8 to 10 p.m. at Bassett Hall. This program will include several of Colonial Williamsburg’s expert storytellers.

    From 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 18 in the Kimball Theatre, guests will experience the closing olio of “Sacred Stories” with the featured storytellers. From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Hennage Auditorium, Colonial Williamsburg’s storytellers will share “Colonial Stories” set in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    A variety of festival ticket options is available. The full weekend pass for Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday is $45 for adults, $25 for youth 6-17 and $25 for seniors and students. The weekend family pass for up to four family members is $100. The Saturday pass is $25 for adults, $15 for youth 6-17 and $15 for seniors and students. The Sunday Pass is $20 for adults, $10 for youth 6-17 and $10 for seniors and students. Evening only performances are $12 for adults and $7 for youth 6-17, seniors and students. Children under 6 are admitted free to all programs. Colonial Williamsburg ticket holders will receive a discount on storytelling festival tickets. Special event packages also are available for guests who choose to stay in one of Colonial Williamsburg’s five hotels: Williamsburg Inn and Providence Hall, Colonial Houses, Williamsburg Lodge, Woodlands Hotel & Suites and the Governor’s Inn.

    Media Contact:
    Lorraine C. Brooks
    (757) 220-7280



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