Gay Ducey will close the book on Jonesborough’s 2013 Storytelling Live! season as the series’ final teller in residence.
Her residency, which runs Oct. 29-Nov. 2, will feature daily matinees at 2 p.m. in the International Storytelling Center’s Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall.
Tickets are available in advance, and reservations are strongly recommended.
During her week in Jonesborough, the entertainer will focus on stories drawn from personal experience and family history, traditional tales and “the occasional shameless shaggy dog story,” says Ducey.
She also plans to share a new set of stories about dancing, which she has loved since the age of 3.
“I took ballet lessons for a few years,” she recalls. “My career culminated with a part in ‘Cinderella’ as a ballet. I was the lizard.”
While reptiles aren’t among the cast of characters in traditional renderings of Cinderella, Ducey insists that it’s true. That unlikely casting decision likely played a role in Ducey’s development as an eclectic artist with a good sense of humor.
“One doesn’t choose art; it chooses you,” Ducey says. “Through the years, my community of tellers and listeners has delighted me and taught me. I have an insatiable appetite for stories, and can’t imagine that ever changing.”
Ducey’s last storytelling residency was in 2010. While the California resident now travels to Tennessee for storytelling gigs, her Southern roots go far deeper. She still fondly recalls her first visit to Jonesborough, when she was a student.
“I’m from New Orleans, and went to college in Maryville, Tennessee,” she says. “During my time there, my friends and I would occasionally drive around to explore. One of those days we happened upon what seemed like the perfect small town. We spent the rest of the day there, learning that Andy Jackson practiced law right on Main Street. We saw Sisters Row and visited a Baptist church. We ate somewhere — I don’t remember where — and were treated to the kind of warmth that was home to me.
“Before we left, we climbed up on the railroad tracks,” she continues. “Each of us had placed a penny on the tracks shortly after we arrived, and we collected our flattened treasures to remind us of our day. When I return as a teller in residence I see the town as I did on that autumn day, but now filled with friendships.
“I still have the penny. I tuck it into my pocket every October as I leave for home.”
Tickets for Ducey’s performances are $12 for adults and $11 for seniors, students and children under 18. All ticket holders will save 10 percent on same-day dining at The Olde Courthouse Diner, The Dining Room, Jonesborough General Store and Eatery or Main Street Café.
The teller-in-residence (TIR) program is curated by the International Storytelling Center. Also known as the Storytelling Live! series, the popular concerts attract a parade of world-class storytellers to Jonesborough through the month of October. The 2014 season will begin next May.
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.