Tennessee’s own Hannah Harvey will soon be featured at the International Storytelling Center (ISC) as its upcoming storyteller in residence.
The Blountville native was recruited into storytelling at an early age, no doubt in part due to her family’s proximity to Jonesborough. “I remember when the Folktellers, Barbara Freeman and Connie Regan (now Connie Regan-Blake), came to my elementary school,” Harvey says. “This was when they were first becoming professional storytellers and making a name for themselves. I remember sitting there with the whole school in our gymnasium and just being transfixed.
“It was one of those pivotal moments where you see the possibilities of what you can do,” she continues. “You see two people performing a story and captivating hundreds of children. We were all held there and suspended in the same story. And we all are traveling to this different place. I thought, my goodness, the power of just—’just’—a story. That shaped my education goals, the questions I asked of culture and of life as I grew up, and my later graduate studies. It shaped how I understood the world around me, and how I understand it now.”
Harvey had in fact been a storytelling aficionado even before that formative experience, having attended her first National Storytelling Festival around the tender age of seven. “My mother took me,” she recalls. “I stood up on the hay bales and I told stories.”
Little did she know that, as an adult, she’d be commanding her own tent filled with thousands of people listening just as attentively as she did years ago.
During Harvey’s weeklong residency, the storyteller plans to share a variety of folk tales, personal stories, and pieces based on other people’s true stories. She’ll perform daily September 12 – 16, Tuesday through Saturday, beginning at 2 p.m. Tickets are just $12 for adults and $11 for seniors, students, and children under 18 for all performances. Purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended.
Harvey’s live performances are part of ISC’s Storytelling Live! series, a signature program that runs annually. The 2017 season will conclude in October.
Ticketholders for all events, including matinee concerts, 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.
For six months of the year, Storytelling Live! brings a different storyteller to Jonesborough each week. Information about all performers, as well as a detailed schedule, is available at www.storytellingcenter.net.
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.