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August 15, 2006

CW hosts nationally acclaimed storytellers for second annual Storytelling Festival

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation hosts eight nationally acclaimed storytellers September 15-17 during its second annual storytelling festival, “Spinning Stories/Spanning Time: A Weekend of Stories Old and New.”

When asked about her passion for storytelling, guest teller Diane Ferlatte said, “…I tell because this is what it's all about--the little moment that lasts forever in one’s memory; that time of intimate connection with the listener, even someone you hardly know. For some, the right story at the right time will enrich the day and even make the world a little better place.”

Ferlatte and seven other national storytellers will entertain and inspire with stories and songs from a variety of American traditions:

  • Diane Ferlatte offers tales of inspiration, struggle, humor and love. Often sharing personal stories in her programs, she engages her audience with singing, signing (American Sign Language) and musical percussion.
  • Bill Harley is a singer, songwriter, storyteller, author and playwright recognized as one of America's finest performers for families. With 20 recordings and four children's books to his credit, Bill's humorous yet meaningful work chronicles the lives of children at school and home.
  • Baba Jamal Koram brings alive the history, humor, people, music and lore of African and African-American cultures through Aesop’s fables, stories and songs. Blending contemporary and traditional storytelling, his stories enable youth to empower themselves through making intelligent choices and resolving conflict. Programs he has presented include: “When Lions Could Fly,” spellbinding stories from Jamal’s book; “Under the Griot’s Tree,” lighthearted children’s stories; “African Stories in the Americas,” tales from the African migration; and “Those Mali Kings,” epics and facts of West Africa in story, song, rhythm and rhyme.
  • Randel McGee is a versatile and multi-talented performer. Programs he has presented include: “Randel McGee and Groark,” the popular comedy and musical act with character education stories; “Hans Christian Andersen--The Man and His Tales,” a lively portrayal of the famous author; and “Randel McGee” with songs, folktales and other stories for the entire family.
  • Antonio Sacre has delighted audiences for 10 years with his touching and humorous bilingual stories, challenging solo theatrical performances and children’s books and tapes. Often they are the first understandable theater experience for Latino children and they are an exciting introduction to the Spanish language for English speaking audiences. Sacre’s repertoire includes stories of growing up biculturally in a Cuban and Irish-American household. Sacre draws from his background to create stories that motivate youngsters to learn English, but preserve their cultural heritage.
  • Ed Stivender, called the “Robin Williams of storytelling” in the Miami Herald, brings a mixture of humor, music, song, dance, story and sometimes…seriousness! He is famous for his unique “fractured” fairytales with comic twists and participatory improvisations, updated Bible stories and hilarious yet touching memories of his parochial school upbringing.
  • Dovie Thomason of the Lakota and Kiowa Apache Nations has traveled throughout North America and abroad for more than 20 years, sharing wisdom and humor of her heritage in a totally engaging celebration of life and culture. She’s been called “a natural storyteller” for her word weavings of traditional stories, untold histories and memories.
  • Kathryn Tucker Windham’s stories are as unmistakably southern as the voice that tells them. She appeared at the second National Storytelling Festival in 1974 and has become a favorite storyteller nationwide. Windham recently was named to the Communication Hall of Fame at the University of Alabama, and received the prestigious Alabama Humanities Award. She was a favorite in Colonial Williamsburg’s inaugural Storytelling Festival in 2005.

    Colonial Williamsburg’s Storytelling Festival weekend begins at 9:30 a.m. Friday, September 15 at Bassett Hall, the former Williamsburg residence of Abby and John D. Rockefeller Jr., with a storytelling sampler that offers a taste of what all eight storytellers will present during the weekend. The Friday evening olio begins at 7 p.m.

    On Saturday, September 16, storytellers perform throughout the day beginning at 9:30 a.m. Guests can enjoy special presentations of family stories from 6-7:30 p.m. and ghost stories under the cover of darkness from 8:30-10 p.m. A wine and cheese reception with adult stories will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. Cost for the wine and cheese reception is $25.

    On Sunday, September 17, the festival continues at 9:30 a.m. The closing olio will be held from 2-4 p.m. The Storytelling Festival concludes at 4 p.m.

    A variety of festival ticket options are available. A Weekend Pass features day programs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Friday evening olio, and either the family storytelling or ghost storytelling events on Saturday and the closing olio for $65 for adults and $33 for youth ages 6-17. A Single Day Pass is available for Friday, Saturday or Sunday and includes admission to all day programs for the selected day for $29 for adults and $15 for youth ages 6-17. An Evening Pass provides admission to one evening program for $15 for adults and youth ages 6-17 and $8 for children under age 6. Guests can choose from a Friday evening olio, and a family storytelling performance and ghost storytelling performance on Saturday.

    School groups are invited to attend day programs on Friday at a cost of only $10 for teachers and $5 for students. Guests staying at any Colonial Williamsburg hotel property can purchase any festival ticket at a discounted price of 50 percent off. Senior citizens, Good Neighbors and students who are not with a school group may purchase any festival ticket at a discount of 10 percent off.

    For a complete vacation getaway, combine tickets for the Storytelling Festival with one of Colonial Williamsburg's popular overnight packages, such as the Revolutionary City Adventure or Patriot Plan. The Revolutionary City Adventure puts guests just steps away from a dynamic daily, two-hour program in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area that details Williamsburg’s role in one of America’s defining periods. Starting prices for fall season are: Governor’s Inn, $44; Woodlands Hotel & Suites, $70; Williamsburg Lodge, $110; Colonial Houses-Historic Lodging, $140; Providence Hall, $177; and Williamsburg Inn, $232. A minimum two-night stay is required.

    The Patriot Plan allows guests to step back in time to experience the ideas and dreams of both great and everyday people on the eve of the American Revolution. Starting prices for the fall season are: Governor’s Inn, $96; Woodlands Hotel & Suites, $122; Williamsburg Lodge, $162; Colonial Houses-Historic Lodging, $237; Providence Hall, $274; and Williamsburg Inn, $329. A minimum two-night stay is required.

    To purchase tickets, call toll-free at 1-800-HISTORY.

    Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information or reservations, visit Colonial Williamsburg on the Internet at

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

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