Storytelling Arts Center of The Southeast Festival Set for Weekend
The Storytelling Arts Center of the Southeast will host the fourth annual Storytelling Festival of Carolina Friday, April 23, through Sunday, April 25.
The three-day event features performances and workshops by six celebrated professional storytellers. The festival will take place on the grounds of the historic John Blue House in Laurinburg. Festival admission passes range from $15 to $35.
Jan Schmidt, executive director of the Storytelling Arts Center, explains that authentic storytelling is a performance genre and an artistic medium crafted by speech, imagery, stage presence and an integral relationship with audience members.
“Our featured performers are absolutely the best when it comes to the talent, craft and skill involved with storytelling,” she says. “They all have a natural charisma that reaches into the audience with honesty, poignancy and down-to-earth appreciation for laughter and wit.”
Schmidt adds that some folks might be surprised to hear that this year’s storytellers have performed all around the world in a variety of settings and venues, including Walt Disney World and the Disney Institute, the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution and on National Public Radio.
“We are extremely privileged to have these celebrated performers on our stage, and we expect nothing less than an unforgettable program,” she says.
Headliners at this year’s Storytelling Festival of Carolina are Andy Offutt Irwin, Mitch Capel, Kim Weitkamp, Doug Elliott and Gwen Rainer, with special guest Carmen Agra Deedy.
Carmen Agra Deedy is a frequent guest at storytelling festivals across the country. Her accolades include more than 40 national and international awards for children’s literature as well as honors from and recognition by Publishers Weekly, National Public Radio, and Parents’ Choice for her collection of 12 short stories for adults, “Growing Up Cuban in Decatur, Georgia” (Peachtree Publishers, 2004).
Deedy’s rich storytelling themes have evolved from her childhood experience of emigrating and growing up in the South following the Cuban Revolution.
In addition to the featured performers, winners of the Storytelling Festival of Carolina’s Youthful Voices Competition will take the stage.
Other festival activities include a Family Storytelling Olio, or performance sampler, on Friday evening; a Saturday evening gala with wine tasting, desserts, live jazz, dancing and storytelling under the stars at nearby Cypress Bend Vineyards; and a program of faith and spiritual stories on Sunday morning.
Also included are autograph sessions, workshops, open stage time slots for amateur storytellers, tours of the John Blue House, a children’s play center and food vendors.
Weekend, day and family ticket packages are available at the gate and for advance purchase at a discount. For more information and a schedule of events contact the Storytelling Arts Center of the Southeast at 131 S. Main St. in Laurinburg, via phone at (910) 291-0929, and online at www.sfoc.info.
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