A! Magazine for the Arts

Noa Baum

Noa Baum

Featured tellers at festival celebrate variety

September 27, 2022

The featured tellers at this year’s Storytelling Festival are some of the best storytellers in the country.

Connie Regan-Blake is one of America’s most celebrated storytellers. She has captivated the hearts and imaginations of people with her powerful performances. Regan-Blake has recently been invited by the Library of Congress to house the compilation of memorabilia from her life’s work as a storyteller, including her role in the birth and beginnings of the American Storytelling Revival.

Brigid Reedy is a new voice at the festival. Featured at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering for the past six years, Reedy has become a singular young voice representing her home state of Montana.

A native of Osaka, Japan, Motoko has performed storytelling and mime professionally since 1993. Her repertoire includes Asian folktales, Rakugo and Zen tales, and mime vignettes, as well as personal stories from her childhood in Japan and life as an immigrant in the U.S.

Bil Lepp’s family-friendly tall tales and stories have earned the appreciation of listeners of all ages and from all walks of life. Though he is a five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars Contest, his stories often contain morsels of truth, which present universal themes in clever and witty ways.

Kevin Kling is from Minneapolis, Minnesota where he lives on purpose because “when you freeze paradise it lasts a little longer.” He has been a commentator on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and was the subject of the Emmy-winning PBS documentary “Kevin Kling: Lost & Found.”

Dolores Hydock is an actress and storyteller from Birmingham, Alabama. Her vivacious style fills the stage with wit, energy, and a swirl of characters that bring to life an array of personal stories, medieval adventures, oral histories, and literary classics.

Bill Harley is a songwriter, storyteller, author, performing and recording artist. Recipient of two Grammy awards, Harley uses song and story to paint a vibrant and hilarious picture of American life.

Josh Goforth grew up in Madison County, North Carolina, surrounded by the music and stories of his ancestors. He is a highly accomplished storyteller and old-time, bluegrass, and swing musician playing close to 20 instruments. He was nominated for a Grammy for his 2009 release with David Holt, entitled “Cutting Loose.”

A nationally recognized and award-winning fourth-generation storyteller, author and educator, Lyn Ford shares folktale adaptations, spooky tales and original stories rooted in her family’s multicultural African-American Appalachian (Affrilachian) heritage. Ford’s “Home-Fried Tales” are seasoned with rhythm, rhyme, audience interaction, humor and heart.

Designated an American Masterpiece Touring Artist by the NEA, Elizabeth Ellis grew up in the Appalachian Mountains hearing stories from her grandfather, a mountain minister. The “Divine Miss E” is a versatile and riveting teller of Appalachian and Texas tales and stories of heroic American women, though her personal stories are arguably her best.

Jeff Doyle is a new voice at the festival. He started storytelling by scaring children with creepy tales around the campfire. His desire for sharing stories grew and he found his place telling funny stories to adult audiences. Doyle takes joy in finding humor in everyday life and crafts stories that evoke both audience laughter and tears.

Carmen Agra Deedy is the author of 12 books for children, including “14 Cows for America,” a New York Times bestseller. Her personal stories first appeared on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Funny, insightful, and frequently irreverent, Deedy’s narratives are culled from her childhood as a Cuban refugee in Decatur, Georgia.

Donald Davis was born in a Southern Appalachian mountain world rich in stories, surrounded by a family of traditional storytellers who told him gentle fairy tales, simple and silly Jack tales, scary mountain lore, ancient Welsh and Scottish folktales, and most importantly, nourishing, true-to-life stories of his own neighbors and kin.

Raymond Christian is a new voice at the festival. His stories have appeared in “Readers Digest” and “The Bitter Southerner” and he has been featured on NPR’s “Snap Judgement” and the “Moth Radio Hour.” He is a 12-time Moth Story Slam champion and the winner of the 2016 National Storytelling Festival Story Slam.

Born in England, Simon Brooks was raised on traditional tales. He’s been telling stories since 1991, and since then, he has taken his powerful performances all over New England and the U.S. With his bodhrán and stories full of memorable characters, Simon combines the intensity of a solo performance with the intimacy of a face-to-face conversation — and a fair bit of humor.

New voice at the festival, Sarah Brady is a storyteller, teaching artist and writer whose background in theater and education influence her storytelling. Her telling spans genres of historical, traditional, literary and personal tales, while her awards include being chosen the Sunburst Performing Artist of the Year from Arts for Learning Virginia and selected “best liar” of the Cambridge Storytellers Liars Contest.

Born and raised in Israel, Noa Baum is an award-winning storyteller who uses her art to build bridges of peace and understanding. Her stories, drawn from diverse cultures but primarily from her own Jewish heritage and personal experience, highlight our similarities, celebrate our differences, and encourage curiosity, awareness and acceptance.

New festival voice, Peter Chand is one of Europe’s finest storytellers who has told his fantastic tales all over Britain, and in Ireland, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Greece, Canada, Denmark and India. Of Punjabi heritage, Chand is constantly in demand for his fantastic tales and has worked with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Chuna McIntyre is a master artist, storyteller and dancer who performs traditional Yup’ik dance and song accompanied by percussion on a hand drum. He dances in his native costume and uses authentic artifacts and masks to illustrate the customs and stories of this ancient Southwest Alaskan tribe.

When Jay O’Callahan takes the stage, he transforms it into a dynamic and sensitive world filled with compelling characters. His solo performances at Abbey Theater in Dublin, the National Theater Complex in London, Lincoln Center and others throughout the world have been heralded by critics in The Boston Globe, The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly.

Charlotte Blake Alston tells stories from African and African American oral traditions. She has performed in venues throughout North America and abroad, including the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution and the Women of the World Festival in South Africa and festivals in Ireland, Austria and Brazil.

Peter Cook is an internationally renowned deaf performing artist whose work incorporates American Sign Language, pantomime, storytelling, acting and movement. Cook has presented his work both nationally and internationally, including at the Kennedy Center, the National Book Festival and in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Japan.