Storytelling Festival

Graphic logo for 2020 Storytelling Festival. A plant growing out a of a book.
Storytelling Festival: Growning Stories

8th Annual Storytelling Festival: Growing Stories
February 7, 2020, 5-8 p.m.
February 8, 2020, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

 

All performances are free!

The Festival opens up Friday night during Art Hop, February 7 at 6 p.m. Hear author, radio journalist, and storyteller Joe McHugh perform with his wife, Paula McHugh, a rich trip through history called The Time Travelers. Using stories, music, and images of original artwork inspired by American folk songs, the two help us travel through time. Learn of colorful characters, including frontier trailblazers, Civil War soldiers, gold seekers, medicine show pitchmen, and many more.

Allison Downey returns to the Festival at 7 p.m. with her own blend of music and stories. She is a professional storyteller, singer-songwriter, radio producer and Western Michigan University professor who believes in the power of story & song to inspire, foster connections, and teach us about ourselves. With an MFA in theater from the University of Texas, Allison has been a featured performer and presenter at conferences, festivals, and events around the country, including the National Storytelling Festival, Ann Arbor Storytelling Festival, Lincoln Center Theatre, as well as being a Moth Story SLAM winner, and Moth Mainstage performer.

A vendor fair will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 8, with Michigan authors, educators, and gardeners. Mama Edie, percussionist, speech pathologist, and storyteller, takes to the stage at 11 a.m., sharing stories on “The Vines That Hold Us Together.” Pulling from her rich African Native American background, she will share through music and sign language in Spanish and English. Kelvin & Co. will be here with BBQ sandwich box lunches for purchase, so plan to stay the whole day.

New this year is a Storytelling Panel at 12:30 with Joe McHugh, Randy Pearson, Jenifer Strauss, and Judy Sima. Bring your lunch into the Theater as our panelists share how to become a storyteller, where inspiration comes from, techniques to share your stories, and the brain development behind oral stories. There will be a time for questions and answers, too. Donna Marie Todd weaves stories of family and gardening full of humor and imagery at 2 p.m.

Back by popular demand, Adam Mellema takes to the stage at 3 p.m. His energy and depth know no end, and his stories will leave you wanting more. Arif Choudhury closes the Festival at 4 p.m. He is a professional storyteller, comic, and filmmaker who shares stories of growing up in a Bangladeshi-Muslim family in the suburbs of Chicago. His stories examine the lighter side of ethnic and religious identity, diversity, multiculturalism, and assimilation. Discover how stories can bring us together, help us grow, and define who we are individually and as a community.

Friday, February 7, 2020

  • Joe and Paula McHugh. Joe is holding a violin and wearing a hat. Paula is holding a banjo.
    Joe McHugh
    6 p.m.
    Hear author, radio journalist, and storyteller Joe McHugh perform with his wife, Paula McHugh, a rich trip through history called The Time Travelers. Using stories, music, and images of original artwork inspired by American folk songs, the two help audiences travel through time. Learn of colorful characters, including frontier trailblazers, Civil War soldiers, gold seekers, medicine show pitchmen, and many more.


  • Allison Downey

    7 p.m.
    She is a professional storyteller, singer-songwriter, radio producer and Western Michigan University professor who believes in the power of story & song to inspire, foster connections, and teach us about ourselves. With an MFA in theater from the University of Texas, Allison has been a featured performer and presenter at conferences, festivals, and events around the country, including the National Storytelling Festival, Ann Arbor Storytelling Festival, Lincoln Center Theatre, as well as being a Moth Story SLAM winner, and Moth Mainstage performer.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

  • Headshot of Mama Edie smiling.
    Mama Edie Armstrong
    11 a.m.
    Mama Edie, percussionist, speech pathologist, and storyteller shares stories on “The Vines That Hold Us Together.” Pulling from her rich African Native American background, she will share through music and sign language in Spanish and English.

  • Headshot of Jenifer StraussHeadshot of Judy Sims
    Headshot of Randy PearonsHeadshot of Joe McHugh
    Storytelling Panel Featuring: Jenifer Strauss, Judy Sima, Randy Pearson, and Joe McHugh
    12:30 p.m.
    New this year is a Storytelling Panel at 12:30 p.m. with Joe McHugh, Randy Pearson, Jenifer Strauss, and Judy Sima. Visitors may bring their lunches into the Theater while the panelists share how to become a storyteller, where inspiration comes from, techniques to share stories, and the brain development behind oral stories. There will also be a time for questions and answers.

  • Headshot of Donna Marie Todd
    Donna Marie Todd
    February 8, 2020
    2 p.m.
    Donna Marie Todd is a storyteller, comedian, TEDx speaker, singer, and writer from the mountains of West Virginia. She will weave stories of family and gardening full of humor and imagery.

  • Headshot of Adam Mellema
    Adam Mellema
    February 8, 2020
    3 p.m.
    Adam Mellema travels the world as a storyteller. His energy and depth know no end, and his stories will leave listeners wanting more. He is also a producer who has worked with Disney and School Zone Publications, and is an Emmy Award winner for his children’s television show “Come On Over.”  

  • Arif Chowhury standing at a microphone.
    Arif Choudhury

    February 8, 2020
    4 p.m.
    Arif Choudhury is a professional storyteller, comic, and filmmaker who shares stories of growing up in a Bangladeshi-Muslim family in the suburbs of Chicago. His stories examine the lighter side of ethnic and religious identity, diversity, multiculturalism, and assimilation.

     


2017 Storytelling Festival Song from Kalamazoo Valley Museum on Vimeo.