Six nationally renowned storytellers will headline the ninth annual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, along with a variety of local tale-spinners.
The festival, to be held at the Olmsted Park (on the corner of 800 North and University Avenue), Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 27-29, broke attendance records last year, with some 10,000 participants.This year's festival includes workshops, pre-shows for schoolchildren and a Story Train, along with the popular bedtime stories, ghost stories and Laughin' Nights that supplement the event.
The Story Train, otherwise known as the Heber Historic Railroad, will board Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Vivian Park for a ride, dinner, stories and melodrama through the Provo Canyon. Tickets are $25.
Vicki Juditz, Barbara McBride-Smith and David Novak are scheduled to be in town on Thursday to conduct workshops at Sundance for new and amateur storytellers. Joining them in storytelling Friday and Saturday will be Waddie Mitchell, John McCutcheon and Sheila Kay Adams.
Juditz will teach attendees how to craft life experiences into compelling, memorable stories. McBride-Smith will show how to find the humor in everyday life. And Novak's workshop will cover storytelling dynamics, including the best use of surprise, silence and simple objects.
Workshop tickets are $30, with an additional $6 for lunch, and can be purchased along with festival event tickets through Smith'sTix or at the Orem Library.
Juditz has been a performer on the PBS television series "Storyime," and played the secretary on the "Coach" sitcom. She is also known for "Teshuvah, Return," a solo theater piece about her journey to Judaism.
McBride-Smith tells stories from Greek mythology, mixing in a contemporary slant. Entertainer, comedian, historian and storyteller in one, McBride-Smith gives listeners a new take on the struggles of mere mortals, while preserving the depth and drama of Homer, Hesiod and Euripides.
Novak embodies the definition of the word "creative." He is an entirely original storyteller whose tales are inventions of his imagination, or original adaptions of classic fables. He has been telling stories professionally since 1978.
Mitchell says he can't even remember when he found cowboy poetry. It was always there. From his earliest days on the Nevada ranches where his father worked, Mitchell has been immersed in cowboy poetry, a tradition as rich as the lifestyle that spawned it.
McCutcheon labels himself a storyteller who happens to put some of his stories to music. He likes to talk, often introducing his songs with long, rolling, entertaining tidbits about how a song came to be, or why he enjoys "telling" it.
Adams comes from a small mountain community in western North Carolina. She describes herself as a seventh-generation ballad singer who wants to preserve the ballads she sings, sharing them with a wider world. She is also well-known for her prowess on the five-string banjo, for which she has received numerous awards.
Each of these national storytellers will also share ghost stories Friday evening and humorous stories on Saturday, in the SCERA Shell outdoor amphitheater, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Three will also participate in the bedtime stories at 7 p.m. Friday at the Olmsted Park.
Alpine School District Storytelling Contest winners will share tales with local spinners throughout the festival, and various musical and novelty performers will add color during schedule changes.
Other storytellers participating include Jeni Gubler, Sandra MacLees and Steven Henegar.