Storytelling festival starts tonight

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Ghost stories, Jewish folklore and personal stories, and tall tales will be told with enthusiasm and fervor this weekend as storytellers from across the country converge in Denton for the Texas Storytelling Festival.

The festival, which begins tonight, features several free events as storytellers teach and perform at the Denton Civic Center for the 29th annual event hosted by the Tejas Storytelling Association.

“We are bringing in four of America’s finest storytellers this year,” said Elizabeth Ellis, artistic director of the festival. “We always bring in the best, and we always showcase some of our own because Texas tellers are just as good, if not better, than what you will find anywhere else.”

Each of the four featured tellers — Angela Lloyd, Janice Del Negro, Tim Couch, Peninnah Schram — have different expertise, ranging from personal stories to fairy tales.

Storytellers use the ancient traditions of storytelling to engage audiences of listeners, using old and new stories and techniques.

The kick-off event, which features storytellers performing ghost stories, starts tonight at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Other free events include performances at Emily Fowler Central Library from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. Saturday and all the events Sunday.

Tickets are still available, even for those who are not members. For a weekend pass it’s $130, and for an entire day of activities it’s $55. Individual concerts are $10, and individual workshops are $15.

So far, about 200 people have signed up and they expect up to 350 attendees, Ellis said.

“We have a lot of different kinds of stories for every different sort of mood, from hilarious to deeply meaningful to ‘I’m not going out in the dark after listening to that,’” she said. “We have something for everybody’s taste, so that anybody who comes is bound to have a good time.”

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.

TEXAS STORYTELLING FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

Today

7 - 9:15 p.m. — Goosebumps and Graveyards, ghost stories

Friday, March 7

Events

9 - 10:30 a.m. — Opening concert

10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. — Morning concert

12:15 - 1:15 p.m. — Lunch and story swaps

1:15 - 2 p.m. — John Henry Faulk concert

2:15 - 3:15 p.m. — Janice Del Negro concert: “Jouney’s End in Lovers’ Meeting: True Love and Vagabonds”

3:15 - 3:45 p.m. — Social

5 - 6 p.m. — Rising Star concert

7 - 7:30 p.m. — Pre-show music with Sleepy Creek

7:30 - 10 p.m. — Evening concert of featured tellers, presentation of Marvin Brown Volunteer Award

Workshops

10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. — Improvised Stories: Learn to create new stories quickly and effortlessly

10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. — Storytelling 101

1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. — Presenting a campus slammer

1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. — “All Ages?” Maybe...

Saturday, March 8

Events

9 a.m. - 3 p.m. — Kids day activities

9 - 10:30 a.m. — Family concert featuring Angela Lloyd

10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. — Liars contest

12:15 - 1:30 p.m. — Lunch and story swaps

1:30 - 3 p.m. — Afternoon concert

3:15 - 4:45 p.m. — Fringe concert

5 - 7 p.m. — Talespinner dinner and silent auction

7:30 - 10 p.m. — Evening concert of featured tellers, presentation of John Henry Faulk Award

Workshops

9 - 10:30 a.m. — Story Crafting: Retelling folk tales in your own voice

9 - 10:30 a.m. — Using tall tales to teach science

10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. — A conversation with Peninnah Schram

10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. — Prospecting your past to uncover hidden story treasures

1:30 - 3 p.m. — From “Through a Glass, Darkly” to “Face-to-Face”: Making scripture personal

1:30 - 3 p.m. — Say Wha...?

3:15 - 4:45 p.m. — Coming to our senses: Telling in the key of see

3:15 - 4:45 p.m. — Belly laughs and beyond

Sunday, March 9

Events

8 - 9 a.m. — Labyrinth walk with Jay Stailey

9:30 - 11 a.m. — Sacred tales concert

11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. — Closing concert with featured tellers

Workshop

8 - 11 a.m. — Master class


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