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July 10, 2007

CW's third annual Storytelling Festival to include regional storytellers

Colonial Williamsburg’s third annual Storytelling Festival, “Spinning Stories/Spanning Time: A Weekend of Stories Old and New,” Sept. 14-16, features eight nationally acclaimed storytellers. Events this year also will include regional storytellers.

“Colonial Williamsburg welcomes four new storytellers from the Virginia Storytelling Alliance,” said Tim Sutphin, director of Historic Area events. “These new storytellers will add another exciting dimension to Colonial Williamsburg’s Storytelling Festival.”

Virginia storytellers Denise Bennett, Ralph Chatham, Linda Goodman and Kim Weitkamp will bring tales as varied and rich as their experiences. Bennett tells original stories, folktales and sacred stories often interlaced with harp and vocal music. Performing and teaching in schools, churches, libraries and retirement communities, she also has been a featured teller at the Virginia Storytelling Alliance (VASA) Gathering, the LAUGHS Festival, and most recently, the Grapewine Storyfest in Gum Spring, Va.

Chatham, storyteller, physicist and all-purpose curmudgeon, began formal storytelling in 1979 at 300 feet under the Arctic Ocean to a submarine crew who had not seen the light of day for six weeks. Surfaced now, he tells stories to audiences from here to Hawaii. Chatham regularly performs at Washington, D.C.-area Celtic, folk and story festivals presenting his newfangled folktales, defrosted for the microwave age, featuring Jack and Clever Jill, as well as a supporting cast of other strong women. In 2003, the National Storytelling Network presented Ralph and his storyteller wife, Margaret, with the Mid-Atlantic Oracle Award.

Goodman, an Appalachian Mountain native, has performed nationwide. She is listed on the Virginia Commission for the Arts “Writers in Virginia Directory” and has been published in the “Chicken Soup” and “Stories for the Heart” series. Her book, “Daughters of the Appalachians,” based on her one-woman show, is available through Overmountain Press. Actors Studio at the Tannery in Newburyport, Mass., recently performed it as a play to sold-out audiences.

Weitkamp has been using stories for more than 15 years in her work with troubled youth. She is a member of VASA and the National Storytelling Network. She has told stories and shared songs at camps, retreats, libraries, schools and festivals throughout the East Coast. She is the resident teller at her local Barnes & Noble, the Montgomery County Museum, and the Jefferson Art Center. She is most noted for her original and humorous Pitscreek stories, which have resulted in two CD projects.

VASA provides a network for Virginia storytelling arts by connecting, supporting and exchanging information among storytellers and promoting the art of storytelling throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

A variety of ticket options for Colonial Williamsburg’s Storytelling Festival are available. A Weekend Pass features day programs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Friday evening Olio, which is a sampling of storytellers, and one Saturday evening storytelling event, for $65 for adults and $33 for youth ages 6-17. A Single Day Pass is available for Friday, Saturday or Sunday and includes admission to all day programs for the selected day for $29 for adults and $15 for youth ages 6-17. An Evening Pass provides admission to one evening program, with the exception of the Wine-and-Cheese Storytelling, for $15 for adults and youth ages 6-17 and $8 for children under age 6. Guests also can attend the Wine-and-Cheese Storytelling (adults only) for $30.

School groups are invited to attend programs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday at a cost of only $10 for teachers and $5 for students. Stories address portions of the Virginia Standards of Learning – Oral Literature for grades four through six. A limited number of $5 brown bag lunches consisting of sandwich, chips, cookie and beverage will be available if booked in advance.

For information on tickets, call 1-800-HISTORY or go to

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture — stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic tradespeople research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information or reservations, call toll-free 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg on the Internet at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121