Ford’s residency, a weeklong gig from September 17-21 (Tuesday through Saturday), is part of the International Storytelling Center’s Storytelling Live! series. ISC invites a new storyteller each week to host a string of live concerts. All matinees begin at 2 p.m., and are located in the International Storytelling Center’s intimate state-of-the-art theater, located on Main Street.
Over the course of the week, Ford will share a wide range of Appalachian folktales, many of which she learned as a girl growing up in the mountains of Pennsylvania.
Her father’s stories about Brer Rabbit are among Ford’s fondest memories. “There would be this kind of Tennessee twang that would come out as he was telling stories,” she says, referring to the tales her father, who was originally from Memphis, used to tell at bedtime. “I think I do the same thing because I start to remember the people who shared their stories when I’m telling them.”
In addition to her regular matinee shows, on Saturday, September 21, Ford will host ISC’s third and final storytelling workshop of the season, “Educating the Mind and Heart: Storytelling Skills to Build Classroom Community.” The two-hour event (9:30 – 11:30 a.m.) is a hands-on workshop that will introduce K-2 teachers to a wide variety of new resources, and explore how educators can use stories to build trust in the classroom. The workshop is free to area teachers through the generosity of the Niswonger Foundation.
While Ford is looking forward to working with teachers, she’s also excited about her performances, which she likens to sharing stories with friends and family. “I love making that connection with an audience,” she says. “That just feeds my heart.”
Storytelling Live! tickets can be purchased in advance on ISC’s website, in person, or over the phone. Walk-in seating is available the day of the show, while supplies last. Tickets for all afternoon matinees are $12 for adults, and $11 for seniors, students, and anyone under 18.
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! will conclude its 2019 season in October. A few encore performances, including several holiday shows, will be held at ISC through the year’s end.
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, visit www.storytellingcenter.net or call (800) 952-8392.