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Performances to Grow On
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The Ojai Storytelling Festival

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September 7, 2017 • 9:45 am - September 10, 2017

(All times are in PDT)
$9 – $50
The 17th Annual Ojai Storytelling Festival Offers a Fresh and Vibrant Experience in the Oral Tradition
 
The Ojai Storytelling Festival was an eye-opening experience.  I had no idea that there were so many talented people who could thoroughly captivate an audience.  The festival had to be experienced to be believed.  A friend could rave to you about how entertaining the event was, but actually the experience can’t be conveyed.  It’s like trying to describe the smell of a flower. –Mike Millan, 2009
The Ojai Storytelling Festival, Sept. 7-10 will be celebrating its 17th year with a stellar lineup of acclaimed storytellers from around the world in the beautiful Libbey Bowl..  The line-up includes Bill Harley, Motoko, Samite, Kim Weitkamp, Antonio Rocha, Dovie Thomason, and Niall de Burca. Tickets for individual performances as well as weekend passes are available at www.ojaistoryfest.org.
 While storytelling is an ancient art form, the Ojai Storytelling Festival presents the oral tradition in a contemporary way. Festival organizer Brian Bemel says, “Listeners will definitely hear traditional tales, but many of this year’s tellers will offer a very modern take with stories firmly rooted in today’s culture.  Here’s a snapshot of what you’ll hear…
       Laughing Night featuring comedic tales from all the tellers
       Raw Tales features winners from the LA Moth.
From Japan to Brazil features Motoko and Antonio Rocha
High Energy Tales with Kim Weitkamp and Niall de Burca-
    Music and Stories with Bill Harley and Samite
    Naughty Tales with Niall de Burca, Motoko, and Kim Weitkamp
Bodies Unbound is a theater production with Cynthia Waring
Exciting workshops presented by the featured tellers.
 These are some of the sights and sounds of that will make this year’s festival moving, funny, and enthralling.
 
One of the most challenging obstacles faced in publicizing the festival each year is overcoming all the pre-conceptions people have about storytelling. The word itself conjures up an image of someone reading a book to a child, but attendees won’t hear any reading at the festival, the Ojai Storytelling Festival presents the oral tradition in a very lively fashion. Some of the stories will be based on folktales while others will be captivating personal narratives. Each tale will be dramatically told utilizing movement and gesture, and will contain all the elements that are part and parcel of an engaging play with the main difference being that there is a much stronger connection between the audience and the performer in storytelling. “Theater of the spoken word” better describes what happens at the festival.
The festival reaches a diverse audience and while there are some performances for children, the majority of programming is geared for adults, especially those scheduled in the evening. Audiences that enjoy riveting theatre will be quite at home listening to the real life tales of love, hope, courage and wisdom as told by the acclaimed spoken word artists at this year’s festival. An important side note, the festival celebrates stories, but there is plenty of music and movement to liven up the stage. 
 
 There truly is something for everyone at the Ojai Storytelling Festival.
Elizabeth Ellis, a past teller at the festival speaking on the importance of stories in our lives says,” It may be that many people have forgotten with their conscious minds the importance of storytelling.  But I do not believe that our subconscious minds have forgotten.  Any artist, in any field, be they film maker, writer, dancer, whatever, when we try to describe their work, when we run out of superlatives, we always call them “a storyteller”.  That is the highest compliment we can pay in our culture.  Why? Because subconsciously we still remember that the most important thing about being human is story.”  Tickets and information about the festival are available by phoning 310-890-1439 or online at www.ojaistoryfest.org