Beloved storyteller and humorist Andy Offutt Irwin will soon appear in downtown Jonesborough for a special series of matinee performances at the International Storytelling Center’s Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall, located just off Main Street.
The popular teller, whose signature character, Marguerite Van Camp, is an octogenarian who became a doctor late in life, will share a wide variety of funny stories and lively songs, accompanying himself on guitar.
Irwin’s appearance in Jonesborough, which is scheduled for June 13 – 17 (Tuesday through Saturday), is part of the ISC’s Storytelling Live! series, an artistic residency program that runs from May through the end of October. Each day he’ll offer a performance at 2:00 p.m. Tickets for matinee performances are just $12 for adults and $11 for seniors, students, and children under 18. Advance purchase is always recommended.
In addition to those appearances, Irwin plans to host a children’s concert on Saturday, June 17, at 10:30 a.m. The show, which is geared towards ages six through ten, will feature music, especially the storyteller’s incredible whistling, as well as a set of stories based on his own childhood in Georgia.
Tickets for the Saturday morning show are just $5 for all ages, and ticket holders will receive coupons for 15 percent off at The Lollipop Shop, a popular Main Street store that sells old-fashioned sweets and toys.
Irwin particularly likes performing for kids, who he still feels a kinship with even as he approaches age 60. “The secret to life is to treat children with the respect you give adults, and treat grownups with the exuberance that children crave,” he says. “That’s what I try to do in my concerts for kids.”
The storyteller is thrilled by the prospect of spending a week in Tennessee’s oldest town, which he visits at least once a year. “It’s just so sweet to walk down the street in Jonesborough and step into a store,” he says. “I feel like it’s home because people know my name. I’m a small-town boy, and we’re on the road a lot, so to feel at home in Jonesborough is a huge, huge gift. I’m grateful for it. I know that sounds sappy, but it’s just a fact.”
Storytelling Live! will bring a new storyteller to Jonesborough each week during its 2017 season. Ticketholders can present their ticket stubs for a 10 percent discount on same-day dining at JJ’s Eatery and Ice Cream or Main Street Café, two popular eateries in Jonesborough.
Information about all performers, as well as a detailed schedule for 2017, is available at www.storytellingcenter.net. The premier sponsor of Storytelling Live! is the Heart & Soul program of Mountain States. Additional program funding comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the East Tennessee Foundation, Eastman Credit Union, the Niswonger Foundation, Citi and Food City.
The International Storytelling Center is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information about Storytelling Live! or to make a group reservation, call (800) 952-8392 ext. 222 or (423) 913-1276.