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Teller-in-residence series kicks off May 7

staff report • May 3, 2013 at 2:13 PM

The new season of the International Storytelling Center’s wildly popular teller-in-residence series is set to begin May 7 with Kim Weitkamp, a Virginia-based storyteller who specializes in tall tales, humor and poignant personal stories.

Weitkamp will be the first in an all-star lineup of 26 performers who will each host a week’s worth of matinee storytelling concerts in Jonesborough from May through early autumn.

Since 2002, the teller-in-residence series has offered a supersized season of storytelling concerts that run all summer, extending into the crisp fall weeks following the National Storytelling Festival in October.

The 2013 season will kick off with a packed month of special events. In addition to regular matinees by some of storytelling’s best and brightest, there will be a workshop with Weitkamp, an evening concert by Jay O’Callahan, a children’s show with Antonio Rocha and a charity event hosted by Connie Regan-Blake. All performances will take place in the storytelling center’s Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall, an intimate venue in the heart of downtown Jonesborough.

The lineup always includes a wide variety of performers who represent traditions and styles from all over the world, including old-fashioned tales, personal stories, comedy, and historical pieces. Several world-class musicians are on the roster, too, including the Rev. Robert Jones, David Holt and Chic Street Man, whose rich repertoires include blues, folk and bluegrass.

In addition to old favorites like Andy Offutt Irwin, Elizabeth Ellis, Carmen Deedy and Donald Davis, the 2013 season will feature a host of new voices, including Jeff Gere, Tim Lowry, Geraldine Buckley, and Kim and Reggie Harris.

“All of our Storytelling Live! tellers are amazing performers — that’s a given,” says Susan O’Connor, director of programming. “What’s remarkable is that they’re amazing in so many different ways. It’s easy to forget that each teller works with the same setup and stands on the same stage. Their talent is transformative.

“One of the advantages of storytelling as an art is that there’s room for an infinite variety of perspectives,” she continues. “For instance, David Holt’s mountain music can show you one side of how storytelling has developed in the U.S. Gayle Ross’ stories, from the Native American tradition, can show you another side. Either way, you can count on the fact that you’ll be entertained.”

Information about the TIR performers, as well as a detailed schedule for 2013, is available at www.storytellingcenter.net.

Several times each season, Storytelling Live! expands beyond its regular matinees to offer exclusive evening concerts. Reservations for these special performances are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are $15.

Three TIR tellers will offer Saturday morning children’s shows. Tickets are $5 for all ages, with performances geared towards children ages 6 to 10. Ticket holders will receive coupons for 15 percent off at The Lollipop Shop, a popular Main Street store that sells old-fashioned sweets and toys.

Tickets for all matinee performances are $12 for adults and $11 for seniors, students and children under 18. Season passes that offer savings of nearly 50 percent are also available while supplies last.

Ticket holders for all matinee and evening performances will save 10 percent on same-day dining at The Olde Courthouse Diner, The Dining Room or Main Street Café.

The International Storytelling Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Storytelling Live! is sponsored in part by Eastman Credit Union. Media sponsors are News 5-WCYB, FOX Tri-Cities, Tri-Cities CW, Johnson City Press, Kingsport Times-News, Herald & Tribune and Cumulus Media.

For more information about Storytelling Live! or to make a group reservation, call (800) 952-8392 ext. 222 or (423) 913-1276.

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