SALT LAKE CITY — Every year during the third week of November, storytellers and communities gather together for TELLEBRATION!, a worldwide event that celebrates good stories.
On Nov. 16 and Nov. 18, guest storytellers from the Utah Storytelling Guild will be presenting at the Kaysville and Farmington local libraries, respectively, in honor of the occasion.
“These are going to be the best storytellers in Utah who are going to be offering the best stories they can because they’re very eager to support this event,” said Darrell Mangum, a storyteller of 25 years who will be presenting at Tellebration.
Covering a variety of topics from fairy tales and folklore to mountain men and outlaws, Utah’s Tellebration will be a casual, family friendly event with stories ranging from 10 to 30 minutes long.
In the past, the Farmington Bay Chapter of the Utah Storytelling Guild has held the event in more private, intimate settings, Mangum said. But this year, it's hoping to expand its reach.
“What these events accomplish is to teach or show people as audience members that they have something to contribute to the world,” Mangum said. “Their story is important, too.”
When it comes to the art of storytelling, eye contact, stage presence and stories the audience resonates with make all the difference in a good delivery, Mangum added. Consequently, if a storyteller feels the story they’ve chosen for the night doesn’t fit the audience, he or she will change topics sometimes moments before performing.
“The flexibility of storytelling makes that possible,” Mangum said. “It makes it a wonderful art form.”
According to Mangum, Tellebration is unique when it comes to storytelling events, as it brings people across the world together and gives them a shared sense of belonging. It also helps histories and traditions stay relevant in a modern world.
“I think it gives us a cultural identity,” he said. “There is a great need for community entertainment — something that people can participate in — where they can go, attend, enjoy that entertainment that reflects their culture, their neighborhood, their community.”
Storytelling also has a human element that evokes feelings and memories from those who attend that is hard to duplicate elsewhere, said Mangum.
“It reminds us of how far we’ve come,” he said. “You can read in history books, you can watch the news, you can watch history films that tell you the events. They tell you the facts. Storytelling tries to capture what people felt, how it affected them personally, to remind us of where we’ve been and where we’re going.”
If you go
What: Tellebration, a worldwide event celebrating storytelling
When: Thursday, Nov. 16, and Saturday, Nov. 18
Where: Kaysville Library, 215 N. Fairfield Road, Kaysville, and Davis County Library, Farmington Branch, 133 Main St., Farmington
How much: Free to the public
Phone: 801-451-1800 and 801-451-1820