The next performer in the resident storyteller series curated by the International Storytelling Center (ISC), Irwin will mix his well-honed sense of humor with poignant personal stories and outrageous character work.
As part of ISC’s Storytelling Live! program, Irwin’s residency will include daily concerts at ISC’s downtown Jonesborough location from July 16 – 20, Tuesday through Saturday, with daily matinees beginning at 2 p.m. The storyteller has long served as an anchor on the organization’s live storytelling calendar, with his annual pilgrimage to Jonesborough always drawing crowds.
Irwin is perhaps best known for his signature character, 85-year-old Aunt Marguerite Van Camp, a Southern lady who became a doctor late in life. Irwin’s renderings of the fictional aunt’s voice seem so real that fans often ask how the character is faring in real life. While the teller sometimes has fun with fans for the mistake, he knows that it is part of what creates the special atmosphere of a standout storytelling session.
“I’m not telling to the audience; I’m telling with them,” Irwin says. “It’s a partnership, and I depend on their feedback. I describe things, but I leave space so people can see their own pictures. That’s one reason I never physically describe Marguerite. I let her voice do a lot of the work, but I never say what she looks like so people can form their own image.”
Irwin frequently accompanies himself on the guitar, which he’ll have in hand during the weeklong storytelling residency.
On the evening of Thursday, July 18, Irwin will offer a special evening concert, “Perpetual Calendar”. The nighttime performance will begin at 7:30 p.m., with tickets priced at just $15. The evening will feature a brand new story about Aunt Marguerite and her reaction when the local bank removes its perpetual calendar.
Reservations for all Storytelling Live! performances are highly recommended, but not required; walk-in seating is sometimes available. Tickets for all matinees are $12 for adults, and $11 for seniors, students, and anyone under 18. Discounted season passes are still available for a very limited time.
More exclusive discounts are available to ticketholders for the evening concert and matinee shows. 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.