Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival – 10/20/2006

Posted: October 5, 2006 in Literary Events

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Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival

October 20, 2006

The inaugural Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival “Something Wicked This Way Comes” will be held on October 20, 2006 at 7 p.m. The festival, featuring storytellers well known throughout the Midwest and the nation, will be held in the historic Genesee Theatre in downtown Waukegan. Tickets can be purchased starting September 8 at 10 a.m. at the Genesee Theatre Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge-by-phone at 312-559-1212 or online at http://www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are $17.

Storytellers will be weaving their magic with stories of the Halloween season including some by author, and native son, Ray Bradbury. His works, being brought to life in the heart of Waukegan by some of the most talented storytellers around, is sure to make this an event the whole family will want to attend.

This festival is sponsored by the Waukegan Public Library Foundation with Bradbury’s permission. “It only seemed right to honor Mr. Bradbury by using storytellers to bring his stories to life,” explains Richard Lee, executive director of the Waukegan Public Library. “His only request was that it was scheduled during his favorite time of year in Waukegan, the Halloween season. It is also a fitting tribute to host the event at the Genesee Theatre as one of Bradbury’s most powerful childhood memories was created at the Genesee Theatre when he saw a magic show that changed his life.”

Tickets are also available for a special “Prequel” at 5:30 p.m. in the lounge of the Genesee Theatre. Wine, cheese and hors d’oeuvres along with silent auction items will be included at this gathering, as well as the opportunity to meet the storytellers themselves. Prequel ticket holders will be guaranteed the best seats in theater. Prequel tickets are available online at http://www.bradburystorytellingfestival.org or at the library. Prequel tickets are $40 and do not include event tickets.

Festival storytellers include Jim May, a storyteller who speaks in the natural, matter-of-fact style of the fathers, horse traders, and small-town raconteurs who populated rural northern Illinois where his family has lived since the 1840’s. For adult audiences, he tells original stories of growing up in the tiny Catholic farming community of Spring Grove. These stories that are at once hilarious and touching range from, “How to Become ‘Most Valuable Altar Boy’ (MVAB)”, to horse trading tales and heart-warming memories of family life.

For children he offers stories from traditional sources. These folk tales, myths, legends and ghost stories from various cultures worldwide have the humor and wisdom of the great tales that have been preserved in every culture and handed down orally from one generation to the next.

Megan Wells “Megan’s storytelling has a radiance, which only comes from that rare combination of raw talent, deep intelligence and blistering honesty. Soul speaks through Megan’s mouth.” – Rebecca Armstrong, Joseph Campbell Foundation.

Megan Wells combines the worlds of theater, writing and storytelling. With a BFA and MFA in theater, Megan began her artistic career in Chicago directing: A Ruffian on the Stair, The Assignment, In the Wake of the Welded, Seventy Scenes from Halloween, and Good for which she was honored with a Joseph Jefferson award for excellence as a director. In 1990, Megan attended the National Storytelling Festival and encountered the art of Storytelling. Megan began “telling” her own words, thriving on the immediacy and intimacy of the teller/audience relationship. Sample venues include the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Symphony, Chicago Historical Society, as well as festivals, libraries, schools and museums.

Megan will be a Featured New Voice at the National Storytelling Festival this year and currently is the Board President for the Illinois Storytelling Festival.

Mark Kater is the resident storyteller at the North Park Village Nature Center in Chicago. He leads storytelling walk-abouts through the 46 acre preserve and coordinates other storytelling activities, including an after-school storytelling program for children, festival and the annual Tellabration event.

Mark tells stories exploring his Cherokee Indian heritage. He has programs for children and adults. His programs cover a wide range of topics and include original stories and retellings of myths, animal, nature and folk tales from around the world.

He studied storytelling at Emerson College Sussex, England. Mark holds a BFA in dance from the University of Illinois. Before beginning his professional storytelling career in 1996, Mark taught and performed dance in the schools with Creative Learning, Math On The Move, and GAIA Environmental Theater.

Daniel LeMonnier has been caught telling stories all his life, but began professionally in 1983 when asked by Encyclopedia Britannica to develop an educational show that would be of interest to children. He created Spinnin’ Yarns as an introduction to the American Oral Tradition and Music.

As a singer, actor, storyteller and writer, Dan performs world wide, delighting audiences of all ages with his renditions of American folklore, literature, tall tales and music. The continued popularity of Dan’s varied talents led him to found Folk Songs & Foolery Entertainment in 1987.

Dan holds a BFA in Theatre Arts from Marquette University and an MFA in Acting from the Goodman School of Drama at DePaul University. He is also well known in the Chicago area as “Benny the Bull,” mascot for the six time champion NBA Chicago Bulls. He is the co-director of the Chicago Children’s Museum’s Annual Storyfest each June, and has taught workshops at the NAPPS (National Association for the Preservation & Perpetuation of Storytelling) National Conference in Seattle, WA.

Elysabeth Ashe From living in the rainforest of Belize to years on theatre stages, Elysabeth recounts nature and life adventure stories. Personal experiences and adaptations of stories of life lived by “coloring outside the lines” are often enhanced with song, music and audience participation.

City slicker as well as outdoors woman, Elysabeth tells tales from her life as nature educator, team building facilitator, solo traveler, wildlife rehabilitator, dog walker, corporate career woman, poet and theatre performer. Her performances are often called “mesmerizing.”

Folk tales, family fables and ghost stories that tantalize the imagination and stimulate the senses round out a repertoire that takes listeners into the heart of the moment … and back home again!

The library is also working with local school district’s to provide two shows for school children in the morning and afternoon of October 20th through field trips. Schools signing up for a field trip will also be provided with storytelling workshops prior to the event for children and teachers. “We want to make sure that all children in Waukegan get a chance to hear the art of true storytelling and to be exposed to Bradbury’s stories in particular” adds Lee, “it is an art form that is too often neglected, one that is the basis of verbal literacy.”

Funds raised from the festival will be used to provide furniture, fixture and equipment for the library’s new branch located in the Waukegan Park District’s Hinkston Park Fieldhouse. This branch will be the first one since the 1930s. All funds used to open the branch were raised through private donations and special events.

The Waukegan Public Library has served the community of Waukegan for 108 years providing opportunities to learn, gather, be informed and entertained. The main library is located in downtown Waukegan at 128 N. County St. just north of the County Building, the Hinkston Park Branch is located at 800 N. Baldwin in the Waukegan Park District’s Fieldhouse. The library houses one of the largest collection of materials in Lake County. Free parking is provided at the downtown branch in the City of Waukegan’s parking garage located at the corner of County and Clayton. Further information is available by calling 847-623-2041 or online at http://www.waukeganpl.org.

Posted on behalf of Elizabeth Stearns, Public Relations/Marketing Manager, Waukegan Public Library

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