"To be a person is to have a story to tell." - Isak Dinesen
Meet some of our featured national tellers:
Donald Davis was born in a southern Appalachian mountain world rich in stories. Listening to folk tales, fairy tales, true stories and legends of mountain lore as a youngster in North Carolina, Davis absorbed the culture and discovered his life's passion. Weaving stories that capture the audiences' imagination and take them on creative journeys, he shares personal stories while encouraging listeners to draw on their own experiences. The winner of dozens of storytelling awards, including the National Storytelling Network's Lifetime Achievement Award, Davis is considered "among the most popular figures on today's storytelling circuit," according to the Los Angeles Times. A featured teller at the Smithsonian Institution, the World's Fair and festivals and concerts throughout the world, Davis is a prolific author, master teacher, recording artist and a guest host on National Public Radio.
Diane Ferlatte has wowed audiences across the globe, performing at festivals, theaters, conferences, universities and churches. Her affinity for the craft stems from spending her early childhood years on her grandparent's porch in Louisiana, swapping stories, lies and tales with family and neighbors. A mother of two, Ferlatte began telling stories to entice her second child to read rather than watch television. Known for dynamic characterization with animation, expression and interaction, the New Orleans native believes the tradition of storytelling must be nurtured. A Grammy nominee and international award winner, Ferlatte was named to the National Storytelling Network's Circle of Excellence Award for her commitment to the art of storytelling.
Ferlatte is accompanied by her musical sidekick Erik Pearson on banjo and guitar, to bring their performances to life with interactive songs, sign language and humor.
David Novak is an award-winning storyteller who uses his background in theater to engage and entertain audiences. Described as "the Brothers Grimm and Carl Jung meets Monty Python," Novak creates experiences to promote imagination, engage emotion and discover common ground with his listeners. Through his highly interactive performances, he contrasts simplicity with complexity, the familiar with the surprising and the ordinary with the fabulous. From the simple power of the spoken word to the circus hijinks of a veteran entertainer, this North Carolina performer offers unique stories that feature universal themes of character, courage, caring and wonder. A teacher, author, recording artist and professional actor, Novak was honored with the National Storytelling Network's Circle of Excellence Award.
Dovie Thomason learned Indian stories from her Kiowa Apache and Lakota relatives, especially her grandmother and father, and has dedicated her life to sharing her Native American culture through storytelling. Her wise, boisterous tales come alive in listeners' imaginations, and her performances reveal sly humor and astonishing vocal transformation. Using elegance, wit and passion, she inspires delight in the spoken word and teaches respect for values passed on through generations. The Pennsylvania resident is an award-winning storyteller and has performed throughout the world, including Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, the Smithsonian Institution and the Kennedy Center. She also is a published author, recording artist and narrator of children's books, and the National Storytelling Network named her to their Circle of Excellence.
Meet some of our featured local and regional tellers:
Chetter Galloway plays the Djembe drum and specializes in sharing African and African-American stories. A native of Suffolk, VA, Galloway is the youngest of ten children. He first experienced the power of storytelling at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Williamsburg, VA, and later honed his craft in the Masters of Storytelling Program at East Tennessee State University. Galloway enjoys captivating listeners through dynamic, animated and energetic performances.
According to her parents, Martha Reed Johnson has been telling stories since she could speak. As one of five children raised in New England, Johnson shares humorous and heartfelt tales of growing up in a family of adventurers and their travel mishaps from Massachusetts to California, Central America to Africa and everywhere in between.
Tim Lowry grew up in southeastern Kentucky, where he learned the art of storytelling from Appalachian folk who told tales to entertain, teach morals and pass along local history. A storyteller for more than 20 years, Tim performs a variety of folk tales and stories about the South Carolina Lowcountry. An award-winning storyteller, he recently performed at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn.
Linda Stout weaves folktales and imagination together to captivate audiences. Known for her interactive performances, Stout enthusiastically shares traditional folktales from around the world, and her performances encourage audience participation from attendees of all ages. A founder of the S.C. Storytelling Network and editor of their newsletter, Stout is the director of Stories for Life in Charleston, S.C.
Carolyn "Jabulile" White was born in Charleston and grew up on James Island. She learned the art of Gullah storytelling from her parents and grandparents, and she speaks fluent Gullah when telling her stories, using the Island-dialect she heard as a child. While traveling in South Africa with the Presbyterian Church USA Peacemaking Program, White was given the Zulu name "Jabulile," which means happiness and expresses what she hopes to share through her stories.
Becky's Box of Puppets
Since beginning her puppetry career in 1980, Becky Becker combines music, puppets, props and audience interaction to help children discover the joy of reading through her Box of Puppets performances. A popular guest at festivals, corporate events, school residencies, teacher workshops, and summer reading programs, Becker enjoys sharing the magic of puppetry with young people and those still young at heart.