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September 5, 2007

CW third annual Storytelling Festival, Sept. 14-16, features national, regional and Foundation's own 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 and four regional storytellers, and continues to expand its offerings to guests to include six Colonial Williamsburg storytellers. Shel Browder, Kathaleen Getward, Arthur Kivel Johnson, Sharon S. Rogers, Darci Tucker and Tracy Ellis Turner will continue the tradition of passing stories along generations.

Browder, a journeyman blacksmith in Colonial Williamsburg’s Anderson’s Blacksmith Shop, was born and raised in Wallace, N.C. He grew up listening to tales of farmers, loggers and millworkers told around the coal stove in his family’s hardware store, family stories shared on the front porch of his grandmother’s house and his father’s stories told at the kitchen table. A member of the local storytelling group, Weavers of the Word, Shel has participated in Telebration and First Night. In Colonial Williamsburg’s evening programs, “Legends, Myths, Mysteries and Ghosts,” he primarily tells Scottish stories.

Getward, a Colonial Williamsburg employee since 1987, has worked as an interpreter and performer for evening programs since 1995. She is extensively trained in history, characterizations, drama and storytelling. Getward performs in “Papa Said, Mama Said,” “Ear to Ear,” “Legends, Myths, Mysteries and Ghosts” and “African American Music” evening programs. She has traveled from Virginia to California teaching the art of storytelling.

Johnson is a veteran African American interpreter with Colonial Williamsburg. A well-known interpreter in Williamsburg, he is interested in historical construction of heroes and has presented sessions dramatizing history. Johnson’s performance of “The Jackal and the Dog,” a tale about the choice between freedom and slavery, is featured on the Foundation’s Web site.

Rogers, a storyteller for Colonial Williamsburg’s “Legends, Myths, Mysteries and Ghosts” evening program, is making her second appearance at the Foundation’s Storytelling Festival. While she has been a part of the storytelling world for only a few years, her theatrical career began some time ago. A graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, she pursued all aspects of theater, including acting, directing, producing, and set designing and construction. She served as a founding member of several theater companies, including Silos Theater Co. in Manassas, Va., and Newport Little Theater in Newport, Tenn.

Tucker, who joined Colonial Williamsburg in 1987, sings, dances, acts, tells stories and teaches teachers how to enliven history in their classrooms. Through her business, American Lives: History Brought to Life™, she travels the country, performing for students and teaching storytelling and character interpretation skills to teachers.

Turner, a native of Gloucester, Va., has toured as a soprano soloist and a featured dancer, and has participated as an actress in numerous international Playwrights Retreats. A director, choreographer and makeup artist for several children’s plays, she teaches in the Williamsburg-James City County public school system and interprets in Colonial Williamsburg’s evening programs.

National storytellers Len Cabral, Donald Davis, Onawumi Jean Moss, Eth-Noh-Tec, Carmen Deedy, Tim Tingle, Kathryn T. Windham and Bil Lepp, as well as regional storytellers Denise Bennett, Ralph Chatham, Linda Goodman and Kim Weitkamp, join Colonial Williamsburg’s storytellers.

For a schedule of storytellers, visit

A Storytelling Festival Vacation Package is being offered at several official Colonial Williamsburg hotels and includes nightly accommodations, daily continental breakfast (at the Governor’s Inn and the Williamsburg Woodlands only), length-of-stay admission tickets for the Historic Area and weekend passes for the Storytelling Festival, as well as one CD of 2007 Storytelling Festival highlights per reservation. Package rates (based on double occupancy, two-night minimum stay) start at $65 per person, per night at the Governor’s Inn, and $93 per person, per night at the Woodlands for a standard room, or $117 per person, per night in a Woodlands suite. Taxes are additional.

A variety of festival ticket options are available. A Weekend Pass provides access to day programs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Friday evening olio storytelling sampler, and one Saturday evening storytelling feature event, for $65 for adults or $33 for youth ages 6-17. A Single Day Pass is available for Friday, Saturday or Sunday and includes admission to all morning and afternoon programs for the selected day for $29 for adults or $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 or $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 more information, call 1-800-HISTORY (447-8679) 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