Shore’s first sto­ry­telling festival set for April 29-30

Event will take place at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege

Record Observer - - Arts & Entertainment - By JACK SHAUM jshaum@kibay­times.com

WYE MILLS — The first-ever sto­ry­telling festival on the East­ern Shore is com­ing to Queen Anne’s County at the end of April.

The Queen Anne’s County Sto­ry­telling Festival will take place on April 29 and 30 at three venues on the cam­pus of Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege. It will be the prod­uct of a partnership be­tween the col­lege and the Queen Anne’s County Arts Coun­cil.

Sto­ry­telling, ac­cord­ing to or­ga­niz­ers, is un­der­go­ing a re­vival in the 21st Cen­tury and Queen Anne’s County is the new­est com­mu­nity to sign on to that re­vival.

“We are thrilled to be able to of­fer such a wide va­ri­ety of per­form­ers, sure to ap­peal to ev­ery­one from kids to adults,” Belinda Cook, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Queen Anne’s County Arts Coun­cil, said in a state­ment.

A num­ber of na­tion­ally prom­i­nent sto­ry­tellers, in­clud­ing Andy Ir­win, Dolores Hy­dock, Michael Reno Har­rell, Ed Stiven­der and Kim Weitkamp will per­form. An em­pha­sis on lo­cal sto­ries will also be a high­light of the two-day event.

“We have ded­i­cated one the­ater to high­light the her­itage of the East­ern Shore. We will fea­ture lo­cal sto­ry­tellers and demon­stra­tions that fo­cus on the life and his­tory of water­men that make their liv­ing from the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay,” Cook said. “I am con­fi­dent you will be trans­ported to a place where mem­o­ries and magic are cap­tured and wo­ven into tales that will make you laugh and cry.”

That seg­ment will be known as “Legacy of the Ch­e­sa­peake” and one of the pre­sen­ters is Jay Flem­ing, au­thor of a book en­ti­tled Work­ing on the Wa­ter, due out this fall. It is a pho­tog­ra­phy book that will chron­i­cle water­men, crab and oys­ter houses, and boat build­ing on the Bay, in short, any­thing hav­ing to do with the seafood in­dus­try.

“I’ll be shar­ing my ex­pe­ri­ences out on the wa­ter,” he said. “I’ve cov­ered ev­ery fish­ery in the Bay in Vir­ginia and Mary­land and met many in­ter­est­ing peo­ple.”

Flem­ing is an An­napo­lis-based full-time pho­tog­ra­pher who has done work­shops in the past with the Queen Anne’s County Arts Coun­cil, and it was de­cided that his work would be a nat­u­ral for the festival.

Ir­win is an ac­tor and mu­si­cian as well as a sto­ry­teller who cre­ates char­ac­ters from a small Ge­or­gia town as part of his per­for­mances. He be­lieves sto­ry­telling brings him closer to an au­di­ence than mu­sic or com­edy.

“Sto­ry­telling has a broad ap­peal be­cause it’s an art form that con­nects with peo­ple in an in­ti­mate way,” he said. “It doesn’t mat­ter where you live or how old you are, the char­ac­ters in sto­ries re­ally speak to you. I love look­ing out into the au­di­ence and see­ing the re­ac­tions as these sto­ries un­fold.”

Por­tions of the festival will take place in the 900-seat Todd Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter and oth­ers will take place in the 120-seat Cadby Stu­dio Theatre. There will also be fam­ily-friendly out­door con­certs and ac­tiv­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to the or­ga­niz­ers. There will also be food ven­dors and park­ing will be free.

“Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege is an in­te­gral part of the arts and cul­tural com­mu­nity here on the Shore, and we’re ex­cited to be a part of this in­au­gu­ral festival,” said col­lege pres­i­dent Bar­bara Viniar.

Event spon­sors in­clude the Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sion­ers, Queen Anne’s County Li­brary, Fish­er­man’s Inn and Crab Deck, Queen­stown Bank, Kelly Dis­trib­u­tors and Price­less In­dus­tries.

In­for­ma­tion on tick­ets and the com­plete sched­ule of the event are avail­able by log­ging onto www. chesa­peakesto­ry­telling.com.

PHOTO BY BURL LEWIS

Ch­e­sa­peake pho­tog­ra­pher Jay Flem­ing, as seen in a net full of At­lantic Men­haden, while on a lo­ca­tion shoot off Hoop­ers Is­land in the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay.

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