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WTAMU to Host Storytelling Festival

April 24, 2014

COPY BY: Dr. Trudy Hanson, 806-651-2800, thanson@wtamu.edu

WTAMU to Host Annual Storytelling Festival

CANYON, Texas—“Traveling through Tales” is the focus of the West Texas A&M University 2014 Panhandle Storytelling Guild’s annual festival featuring professional teller Laura Simms. The May 2 event includes two storytelling concerts for area school children, an afternoon workshop and an evening concert. 

Jackie Sorenson Llewellyn, a member of the guild, explained, “The theme was really important to us, and we put a lot of thought into it. We wanted to highlight the ability that narrative possesses to transport the audience to where the story takes place, even when that place may be completely fictitious.”

Featured teller Simms has traveled the globe, collecting stories and honing her craft. An award-winning performer and writer, Simms is a Research Fellow for the International Peace Institute at Rutgers University in Newark, a published author and a member of the Therapeutic Arts Alliance in Manhattan. Her one-woman show, Mercy into the World, premiered in 2008 at the Barbican Theater in London, University of Oslo and Frontier Theater in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has performed at venues worldwide, including the Khan Theater in Jerusalem, Royal Festival Hall in London, the Central Theater of Manila and Victory Theater and Town Hall in New York City.

Simms works with international organizations to train teachers and humanitarian workers. She received the Brimstone Award for Engaged Storytelling and is co-faculty with Terry Tempest Williams New Generation Environmental Project. Under a grant from Mercy Corps, Simms twice took her storytelling work to Louisiana for teachers and children in post-Katrina New Orleans. Recently she began a storytelling project with International Medical Corps in Haiti.

“We are excited to feature Laura at this year’s festival. She is an immensely gifted teller and we know that she will be an absolute hit with our audience,” Dr. Trudy Hanson, head of WTAMU’s Department of Communication, said.

Graduate students enrolled in the Art of Storytelling seminar produce the festival as well as perform during the evening concert. Those students include Alicia Johnson, graduate student in interdisciplinary studies from Garland, Izaak Chavez, graduate student in communication from Hereford, Maddisun Fowler, graduate student in communication from Amarillo, Jackie Sorenson Llewellyn, graduate student in communication from Amarillo, Christa Glasgow, graduate student in communication from Amarillo, Lee Anne Moore, graduate student in communication from Lewisville, Ark., Selden Hall, graduate student in history from Amarillo, Alejandra Carrasco, graduate student in history from Clovis, N.M., Blake Ryser Boone, graduate student in communication from Vernon, Justin Mize, graduate student in the Masters of Teaching program from Amarillo, Nathaniel Council, graduate student in communication from Dodge City, Kan., and Kellie Chandler, undergraduate communications studies major from Happy.

Festival events include Kids Concerts in the Branding Iron Theatre at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., an afternoon workshop facilitated by Simms at 1:30  p.m. in the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex, Room 176, and the evening concert at 7 p.m. in the Branding Iron Theatre. The festival is sponsored by the WTAMU Guest Artist Series and the Department of Communication. All events are free and open to the public. For reservations, please contact Dr. Trudy Hanson at 806-651-2800 or thanson@wtamu.edu.


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