Storytelling Festival

Eight nationally acclaimed storytellers bring their experiences that cross both cultural and geographical boundaries to Colonial Williamsburg’s fourth annual storytelling festival, “Spinning Stories/Spanning Time: A Weekend of Stories Old and New,” Sept. 19-21.

The Storytelling Festival will take place at Bassett Hall, the Williamsburg home of Colonial Williamsburg benefactor, John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his wife Abby. Storytellers can be heard in individual venues throughout the grounds.

Milbre Burch is known for the versatility of her repertoire: from family-oriented folktales to sophisticated fantasy and fairy tales for teens to one-woman shows aimed at adults. Donald Davis recounts tales learned from a family of traditional storytellers who have lived on the same western North Carolina land since 1781. Susan Klein’s substantial repertoire includes selections from the world body of folklore and myth, literary stories, rites of passage and love stories for adults of all ages. Syd Lieberman is one of the country’s leading tellers of Jewish stories.

Waddie Mitchell is known for his common-sense approach to life and the art of cowboy poetry has delighted and inspired audiences. Bobby Norfolk promotes cultural diversity, self-esteem and character education through his performances. Gayle Ross tells traditional tales that the Cherokee took with them when they were forced to move west from the southeastern mountains. Valerie Tutson’s repertoire includes myths, folktales, historical pieces, stories and songs she learned in her travels to South Africa and from experiences in West Africa as well as stories from African American history.

Guests also can enjoy four Colonial Williamsburg storytellers. Shel Browder, a journeyman blacksmith in Colonial Williamsburg’s Anderson’s Blacksmith Shop, grew up listening to tales of farmers, loggers and millworkers told around the coal stove in his family’s hardware store, family stories shared on the front porch of his grandmother’s house and his father’s stories told at the kitchen table. Art Kivel Johnson, a veteran African American interpreter with Colonial Williamsburg, is interested in historical construction of heroes and has presented sessions dramatizing history. Sharon S. Rogers believes that storytelling begins not with the teller but with a willing listener and delights children of all ages with her “critter tales.” Tracey Ellis Turner, a native of Gloucester, Va., has toured as a soprano soloist and a featured dancer, and has participated as an actress in numerous international Playwrights Retreats.

Individual event tickets are available for purchase. The best value for students is to attend the festival during Friday or Saturday evening for $20. A Wine-and-Cheese Storytelling event is planned 6-8 p.m. Saturday night for adults only. The program features adult stories and space is limited. Cost is $35 per person, including a souvenir Colonial Williamsburg Storytelling Festival wine glass.

For more information or to reserve your tickets, call 1-800-HISTORY or go to


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