The EPL Storytelling Festival brings inspired storytelling to the Library and other downtown locations for a weekend of compelling stories and community listening and sharing. The nation’s most vibrant storytellers are joined in this festival by favorites from the active Chicago scene, talented students from Northwestern University and Evanston schools, along with workshops, panel discussions, and open mic opportunities. From personal true stories to folktales, from ghost stories to the edgy fringe, this festival promises something for all. Bring the kids, bring your friends, and open yourself up to the art and heart of storytelling, October 6-8, 2017.
2017 Featured Storytellers:
MAMA EDIE MCLOUD ARMSTRONG
Mama Edie McLoud Armstrong’s warm, vibrant, and interactive style affirms for audiences that they are truly gifts to the world. In her more than twenty years in the profession, she has performed in various festivals and was recently showcased at the Annual Conference of the National Storytelling Network. She served for nine years as the National Membership Chair of the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc.; was Founding Co-Chair of Ase: the Chicago Association of Black Storytellers; and served on the transitional Board of Directors for Illinois Storytelling, Inc. She has published original stories and research articles in various publications. Through her bilingual performances, Mama Edie brings visibility and a greater sense of connection and joy among many cultures of the world.
Jessica Honor Carleton is a Chicago-based performer/writer who has been storytelling since she was 12 years old. She graduated cum laude from Northwestern University with degrees in Theatre and Creative Writing for the Media. Since then, she has worked as a storyteller and actor in the Chicago area, performing at schools, libraries and festivals, as well as theater companies like Piven and the Goodman. Jessica is the senior writer and original ensemble member on Green Screen Adventures, a children’s television show that adapts and performs the writing of elementary school students to encourage literacy. From 2007 to 2014 she wrote and performed in more than 400 episodes and is the winner of four National Daytime Emmys, seven nominations and a Clarion award.
Dan Keding, storyteller of international acclaim, is well known for his telling of traditional world folktales, personal narratives of his boyhood in Chicago, ghost stories and dark tales, and superbly crafted original pieces. As a child he learned the traditional stories that his grandmother brought from Croatia. A well-respected ballad singer, he accompanies himself on guitar, banjo, and spoons. This combination of dynamic storytelling and powerful ballad singing has made him a festival and concert favorite throughout the U.S., Great Britain, and Ireland. Dan has performed at festivals, schools, libraries, colleges, and concert halls. He tells the old stories from times long ago and people almost forgotten, and he tells the stories of his own journey and the people whom he will never forget.
Jay O’Callahan, author, storyteller and workshop leader, has performed his stories in New Zealand, Lincoln Center, The Abbey Theater in Dublin, Africa, the National Fine Arts Complex in London, and throughout the United States. He was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for performance excellence. His work has been heard on National Public Radio. Jay has been commissioned to write stories by various groups including NASA to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the Quebec Labrador Foundation, Lehigh University, and The Boston Symphony Orchestra. Jay’s newest story, Falling for Emily Dickinson, takes the listener into the poet’s mysterious and passionate world. Time Magazine has called his work “genius.”
Nationally acclaimed and multiple award-winning storyteller La’Ron Williams shares both original and traditional tales that appeal to a wide range of ages and social backgrounds. His energetic, music-spiced presentations are always fun, highly participatory, educational, and entertaining. Every program is specifically designed to promote diversity, foster community building, encourage peaceful conflict resolution, and teach a host of “pro-social” skills, including empathy, self-expression and attentive listening. Williams has received high praise for his skill at presenting diversity workshops for adults, helping participants understand the nature of “invisible” bias and moving beyond the emotional stumbling blocks that prevent us from taking collective responsibility for creating a just and equitable society.
Past Festival Images