In today’s busy world, she recognizes the privilege of truly taking time to listen. “The whole experience is luxurious,” she observes. “There is the luxury of time. There’s the luxury of space and the luxury of real conversation with people.”
Jonesborough is often called the storytelling capital of the world, but Stavish thinks of it as more of a close cousin to Broadway. “It has the excitement and the energy of theater,” she says. “I was a theater major, so I know. Jonesborough is the gold standard.” She’s been performing in the town for decades.
Like many storytellers, over time Stavish has found her interests shifting away from purely traditional folklore and more towards tales about contemporary living. “I stayed away from personal stories for a long time because I thought they were egotistical,” she notes. But what I learned is that it’s not about me. It’s about humanity.”
But those reflections on humanity can take many forms. A recent piece that has been popular with her audience is a historical tale about the Holocaust—a longform tale that she’ll perform at the International Storytelling Center on the Thursday of her residency, which runs June 25 – 29.
Reservations for all performances, and particularly the Thursday matinee, are highly recommended. Tickets for all matinee shows are $12 for adults, and $11 for seniors, students, and anyone under 18. Heavily discounted season passes are still available for a limited time.
Altogether, Stavish will host five matinee shows, each beginning at 2:00 p.m in ISC’s headquarters in downtown Jonesborough. She’s known for her intricate construction and her surprisingly funny style.
Stavish has earned a fiercely dedicated audience, and the appreciation is mutual. “There’s just no other audience like it,” she says. “They understand story, and they understand storytelling. I’m a romantic and it’s just the romantic ideal of what storytelling should be.”
Exclusive discounts are still available to all ticketholders. Ticket stubs will earn a 10 percent discount on same-day dining at Main Street Café (lunch only), Olde Towne Pancake House, Texas Burritos & More, Krazy Krepes, Jonesborough Barrel House, the Icing on the Cake (lunch only), and the Corner Cup. Additionally, Boone Street Market is offering 10 percent off prepared meals and 5 percent off any other purchase.
The premier sponsor of Storytelling Live! is Ballad Health. Additional program funding comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Niswonger Foundation, Eastman Credit Union, the Mooneyhan Family Foundation, and Food City. Media sponsors include News 5-WCYB, FOX Tri-Cities, Tri-Cities CW, Johnson City Press, Kingsport Times-News, Herald & Tribune, and Cumulus Media.
Storytelling Live! is a seasonal program that runs from April to October.
The International Storytelling Center is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information about Storytelling Live!, including the full 2019 line-up, or to purchase tickets and season passes, visit www.storytellingcenter.net or call (800) 952-8392.