Storytelling: ‘A Top 10 Event’

Published 10:56 pm Friday, January 22, 2010

The Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival has been distinguished as one of the Top 10 events for January by the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel. The annual storytelling event is set for Friday, Jan. 29 at the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge and Saturday, Jan. 30 at the Trojan Center Theater in Troy.

Back by popular demand, the “Dean of Storytelling” Donald Davis, will return to the stage of the Brundidge Historical Society’s 2010 Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival. Joining Davis will be nationally acclaimed tellers Kevin Kling, Barbara McBride-Smith and Elizabeth Ellis.

“We are excited to be able to bring four of the top storytellers in the country to Pike County,” said Lawrence Bowden, BHS president. “Each year, we bring master storytellers whose resumes include the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee and other major storytelling festivals across the country. We like to say, ‘If you can’t go to Jonesborough, come to the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival.’”

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In storytelling circles when folks talk about “the Donald,” they are talking about Donald Davis, who was born in a Southern Appalachian mountain world rich in stories and surrounded by a family of traditional storytellers. A New York Times reporter said of Davis, “I could have listened all morning to Donald Davis …his stories often left listeners limp with laughter at the same time they struggled with a lump in the throat.”

Kevin Kling’s autobiographical tales are as enchanting as they are true to life – hopping freight trains, getting hit by lightning, growing up in Minnesota and eating things before knowing what they are. According to the Denver Post, Kling’s stories fall somewhere between David Lynch’s perversity and Garrison Keillor’s homespun humor

Barbara McBride Smith is recognized internationally as a storyteller of time-honored tales mixed with comedic idioms. Her colorful voice, along with its native Texas twang, reminds listeners of a fire and brimstone preacher, carnival barker, used car salesman or Butterfly McQueen. Elizabeth Ellis grew up in the Appalachian Mountains in a family filled with stories. As a child, most of her best friends were imaginary. In some ways that’s still true. Her stories are both witty and wise and her personal stories are delivered in down-home Southern style.

The festival opens on Friday night at the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge and continues with three storytelling concerts at Troy University on Saturday.

The opening night concert at the We Piddle Around Theater and the afternoon concert at the Trojan Center Theater are sold out.

Tickets are available for the Saturday morning and night concerts.

Morning tickets are $10 and night tickets are $15. Pre-show music will begin about 30 minutes prior the morning concert and 45 minutes prior to the night concert.

Tickets are on sale at Rue’s Antiques in Brundidge from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday or by calling 334-735-3125 during store hours.

Tickets are available at The Messenger or by calling 334-670-6302 day and 735-3675 nights.

The Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival is sponsored in part by the Alabama State Council on the Arts, a partner with the National Endowment for the Arts with support from Troy University.