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Storyteller Elizabeth Ellis transforms audiences

Elizabeth Ellis’ stories could transform a frog.

That being so, imagine the impact her stories could have on an audience of “real people.”

Ellis will be a featured teller at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival in Pike County this weekend. The Texan teller of tales is no stranger to this little corner of the world. She was a featured teller at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival in 2009 and transformed her audiences into lifelong storytelling patrons.

Ellis grew up in the Appalachian mountains of East Tennessee and was “lucky enough” to be born into a family of storytellers.

“My grandfather was a circuit-riding preacher and he collected stories everywhere he rode,” Ellis said. “After church, he would spend the night with a family and listen to all their stories. Then, he would ride the next 12 to 14 miles, which was a long way, to the next church and collect stories from the family where he spent the night. He was like a bumblebee, going here and there.”

Ellis’s grandfather would come home and tell her many of the stories he had heard while riding the circuit.

“I grew up thinking all children had grandfathers with hundreds of stories to tell,” she said. “And, my Aunt Ida was a keeper of old fairy tales.”

Ellis said she was born talking and has not shut up once.

And, she thought up a profession where she could use her God-given talent for talking.

Elizabeth Ellis has lived in Dallas for 50 years and she has been a professional storyteller since 1978.

“That’s 40 years on the road telling stories,” she said. “I love to tell traditional stories and stories about my own life and about history. My stories can make people laugh and cry and, on a good day, scare them.”

Ellis has appeared at storytelling festivals all across the country and is a return performer at the National Storytelling Festival and the International Storytelling Center.

“Why tell stories? Because life is so complicated now that it feels like we are just numbers,” she said. “Stories remind us that we are really human – and that we are not alone.”

Elizabeth Ellis will join fellow master storytellers, Donald Davis, Josh Goforth and Tim Lowry, as the featured tellers at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival this weekend. The festival will open to a sold-out audience on Friday night at the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge and continue with storytelling concerts at the Trojan Center Theater on the campus of Troy University at 10 a.m. ($10) and 2 p.m. ($15) and 6:30 p.m. ($10).

For tickets call 334-344-9427, 670-6302 or 685-5524. Tickets are available at The Messenger.