03-28-12-storytellers.jpgStory telling is an art form like no other. Long before Twitter or newspapers, oral story telling wove words together to impart wisdom, provoke thought and draw out emotions of listeners to educate, inspire and entertain. To celebrate that rich tradition, the Storytelling Festival of the Carolinas will be held March 29-31 in Laurinburg, N.C.

The festival has been featured in Our State magazine and attracts people far outside the boundaries of the Carolinas. Last year, more than 4,000 visitors flocked to the event, traveling from as far away as Washington state and Texas.

“It is such a big hit, we found no one around here does it like we do,” said Brenda Gilbert, the chair of the Storytelling and Arts Center of the Southeast.

The festival features nationally renowned storytellers and published authors, but on a much smaller scale than the national festival. The smaller scale is attractive to a lot of people because of the intimate setting, Gilbert explains.

“Story telling is give and take,” Gilbert said. “Storytellers draw the energy from the audience and thrive off it. The crowd connects to the performer and draws in all the details.”

Both national and regional storytellers will host workshops as well as perform on different topics to share their talent and tips.

“We really have fi ne tellers, no one as ever been disappointed,” Gilbert said.

Eth-Noh-Tec, the San Francisco-based kinetic story theater group of Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo and Nancy Wang, will be on hand. The group brings precision choreography, lyrical word weaving, graceful, playful and poetic. Eth-Noh-Tec has created an exciting new blend of storytelling and physical theater.

Gene Tagaban, whose heritage is Cherokee, Tlingit and Filipino, shares contemporary and traditional Native American stories, bringing them to life with the use of traditional flutes, drums, dance, masks and regalia.

Donald Davis grew up in a family of traditional storytellers who have lived on the same North Carolina land since 1781. After 20 years serving as a United Methodist minister, Davis became a fulltime storyteller. Now he gives more than 300 performances a year.

Whether he’s singing about catfi sh, pontificating on possums or extolling the virtues of dandelions, Doug Elliott will take you on an unforgettable, multifaceted cultural tour of North America’s backcountry.

The Storytelling Festival of the Carolinas kicks off with a preview show on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m., at the Storytelling & Arts Center of the Southeast. The storytelling festival continues Friday and Saturday with one-hour storytelling sessions from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There will also be craft and food vendors on hand.

You’ll become instant friends with people, whether you come with a group or head out to listen to stories yourself. You are sure to have a good time.” Gilbert said.

Guests can register for one day or the entire weekend. For registration and more information visit www. storytellingfestivalofcarolina.org.

Photo: Thousands flock to the Storytelling and Arts Center of the Southeast in Lauringburg, N.C.,
annually to attend the Storytelling Festival of the Carolinas. 

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