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Meet the Festival 2018 Storytellers

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Karen Chace

Karen Chase Karen Chace is an award-winning storyteller, teaching artist, workshop leader, and author.

Since 2002, she has taught the art of storytelling to over 600 students. Karen is a contributing author to numerous publications including a monthly column in Storytelling Magazine.

Her book, Story by Story: Creating a School Storytelling Troupe, received a 2016 Storytelling World Honor Award and a 2015 Anne Izard Storytelling Award.

She produces and hosts the television series “Story Café” and is the recipient of the LANES Brother Blue-Ruth Hill Storytelling Award in 2009 and the 2011 National Storytelling Network’s Oracle Service and Leadership Award. http://www.storybug.net

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Donald Davis

Donald Davis Donald Davis was born in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, to a world rich in stories. While he heard many traditional stories about Jack and other heroic characters, he was most attracted to the stories of his own family and places of origin.

During his twenty-five year career as a United Methodist minister, Davis began to use stories more and more. Eventually he was asked to perform at festivals and other settings so often that he retired from the church to tell stories full time.

Donald Davis is the author of eighteen books and more than forty original recordings. He is the recipient of both the Circle of Excellence and the Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Storytelling Network.

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Elizabeth Ellis

Elizabeth Ellis
Elizabeth Ellis, one of the best storytelling coaches in the U.S. Professional tellers use her to prepare their performance pieces.

Elizabeth is a recipient of both the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Network. She is a frequent favorite at the National Storytelling Festival and the Teller-In-Residence Program of the International Storytelling Center.

More than half a million children have been mesmerized by her stories during her thirty-five year career as a teller. Adults fall under her spell as well. Her keynotes filled with story have energized and inspired people from public defenders to those who work in child abuse prevention.

A sought-after story teacher and coach, Elizabeth offers workshops, master classes and weekend intensives for all who use the power of storytelling in their work.

She is the author of From Plot to Narrative, which received Anne Izard and a Storytelling World Awards. With Loren Niemi, she is the co-author of Inviting the Wolf In: Thinking About Difficult Stories.

"Elizabeth Ellis has a wonderful ability to focus on the content and details of a story and respond with honesty, integrity and deep understanding. She names the parts that work to further the story and also the parts that hinder. Her suggestions and observations are spot on every time."

- Marcia Kosstrin (Member of Storytelling Anon and the Fairfield Tellers)


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Arnie Prichard

Arnie Prichard Arnie received his Ph.D. from Yale in 1976; after the collapse of the college teaching job market, he spent his career working for several state agencies.

He discovered storytelling as an avocation. History and storytelling united when he inherited a trove of letters from his father’s time in the Army during WWII and as director of a postwar Displaced Persons camp; a story based on those letters is now Arnie’s main storytelling project.

Arnie also coordinates an active storytelling program at the Institute Library in New Haven.

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Dovie Thomason

Dovie ThomasonDovie Thomason’s journey as a storyteller and artist began with the childhood influence of her Kiowa Apache grandmother Dovie, whose name Thomason proudly carries. Dovie honed her understanding of the ancient craft of storytelling.

She learned new tales from neighboring cultures, different interpretations of familiar stories, and the tales of her maternal Lakota ancestors.

Telling these stories to audiences young and old, indigenous and non-indigenous, became Thomason’s vocation.

Today, Dovie Thomason is one of the most respected and admired storytellers of her generation

She has received the Parent’s Choice Gold Star and the American Library Association’s Editor’s Choice award for her audio recordings. She is a recipient of the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence award and the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers Traditional Storyteller Award.

The National Endowment for the Arts, the New England Foundation for the Arts, and the Smithsonian have recognized her as a master traditional artist. https://doviethomason.com/

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Denise Valentine

Denise ValentineDenise Valentine’s storytelling programs combine historical narrative with African and African-American folklore and oral history.

Her programs engage, inspire, and encourage conversations between generations. As an historical performer, Denise has portrayed Sojourner Truth and Phillis Wheatley. She has performed for audiences in the United States, South Africa, and Jamaica.

She is on the roster of The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Arts in Education Directory for Southeast Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s Commonwealth Speakers Bureau. Denise currently serves as Editor and Core Collaborator for Philadelphia Assembled, a project of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Program Facilitator for the Museum of American Revolution.

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Frank Schwartz and Teresa Whitaker

Frank Schwartz and Teresa WhitakerTeresa Whitaker and Frank Schwartz perform folk and fairy tales from around the world in a variety of settings.

Accomplished instrumentalists and singers, they weave music and song throughout, encouraging audience participation and inviting listeners along for the richness of the story’s emotional journey.

Teresa is from Kentucky, where she grew up with a love of nature and an ear for plaintive melodies and story in song. She plays Celtic harp and udu.

Frank grew up in Baltimore and from an early age played in many musical groups celebrating the diversity of musical styles. He plays guitar, banjo, and bass.

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CT Commission on Culture and Tourism Connecticut College League for the Advancement of New England Storytelling The National Storytelling Network The Graduate Institute The New Jersey Storytelling Network