Hydock to debut ‘Taking Sides: The story of Audrey Sheppard Williams’ tonight

Published 10:48 pm Thursday, February 14, 2019

The tickets have been sold, the stage is set and tonight the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge will present the premiere of “Taking Sides: A Story of Audrey Sheppard Williams” by nationally acclaimed story performer Dolores Hydock.

Audrey Sheppard walked away from the red clay fields of Pike County into the glaring spotlight of her husband, country music legend, Hank Williams.

The spotlight was not always kind to the young woman from rural Pike County. Harsh, at times.

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But even a piece of tissue paper has two sides. The sponsoring Brundidge Historical Society wanted to take a closer look at the life of Audrey Sheppard, at the other side.

And who better to do that than nationally acclaimed storyteller/story performer Dolores Hydock, said Mernette Bray, a member of the BHS storytelling committee.

“Dolores Hydock has performed at our theater several times and we have seen her perform at other events,” Bray said. “We’ve heard her tell the story of Sally Foster, a young girl during the Civil War, and just as intriguing was her story of ‘Dr. Ruth’ Westheimer. We are excited to have her tell a story of Audrey Sheppard.”

Lawrence Bowden, BHS president, said there is a stir of excitement about an opening night event at the We Piddle Around Theater.

“We are honored to bring this original story to the We Piddle Around Theater as part of Alabama’s Bicentennial Celebration,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest about a story of someone from our county who played an important role in Hank Williams rise to fame.”

But “Taking Sides” is not a story about Hank Williams. It is a story about Audrey Sheppard Williams.

Hydock’s preparations for telling the story include vast amount of research, personal interviews with family members and visits to the place Audrey Sheppard called home.

“When Audrey Sheppard Williams was suggested as a possible subject for a story, I never suspected that researching the story would introduce me, not just to Audrey, but to a fascinating family full of strong women, all of whom were incredibly generous in sharing their stories and memories about Audrey,” Hydock said. “Working on this story also led me to explore some unexpected questions: Who gets to tell your story? Whose memory of you will be considered the ‘true’ one? How much of a person can we ever really know?

“I am excited to be bringing this new program to Audrey’s home county and to the town where she worked. I hope that even people who think they knew her will discover another side to her compelling and complicated story.”

Dolores Hydock describes herself as “a storyteller from Birmingham.” However, she is originally from Reading, Pennsylvania, the home of Luden’s Cough Drops. She came to Alabama as a college student and realized she was “at home.”

Hydock has told stories at several events at the We Piddle Around Theater, including the Chili Country Christmas, June Buggin’ and the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival.  She has been a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee and other major story festivals.

The We Piddle Around Theater is proud to welcome Lenny Trawick, Gary Garrett and Danny Brown as the featured preshow entertainment.

The opening of the Audrey Sheppard Williams Story will be tonight and Saturday night at the We Piddle Around Theater.