Workshop with Clare Muireann Murphy — Friday Afternoon

INTRO TO STORYTELLING; learning to play with words.
Friday, July 20 @ 1pm


Clare Muireann Murphy is an international performance storyteller who has performed in more than 20 countries since 2006. Clare has played the Globe, Barbican and National Theatres in London as well as many stages worldwide.

She is a trainer with TheatreWorks at the National Theatre, as well as the Young Vic Theatre London. Clare has trained Royal Shakespeare Company actors, staff and management of many companies, corporations and institutions such as The National Trust UK, the National Theatre London, Jaguar LandRover, Bank of America, Prince’s Trust, as well as smaller organisations including staff at homeless shelters, Jungian Analysts, university professors and refugee groups.


INTRO TO STORYTELLING; learning to play with words.

What is a good story?  How do we keep it alive?  How do we engage audiences? 

Why are stories the most effective way to deliver information?

Intro to storytelling invites the participants to learn the basics of good storytelling: memory techniques, overcoming nerves, learning story structure and beginning to understand one’s own unique voice and style.  Participants will get a glimpse of what makes storytelling so effective. They will be introduced to the mechanics of telling a story, what makes certain styles more compelling, and the basics of authentic speaking.

Wear comfortable clothing.  Bring a willingness to play.

All workshops are a combination of theatre techniques, storytelling games & techniques, discussion, practical application and partner work. 

Who is this for: Anyone with an interest in learning about storytelling


Local Teller Showcase – Saturday Morning


Caleb Dardick

Saturday, July 21st @ 9:30am – Local tellers showcase featuring a local hero & regional historian!

Caleb Dardick is a writer and community organizer. Caleb’s passion for community advocacy was inspired by his early life on the San Juan Ridge where neighbors united to build a new school or protect the river from dams. He is currently writing a memoir about his hippie childhood adventures traveling with his family from St. Louis to India in a red VW bus before moving to the Ridge as part of the back-to-the-land movement in the mid-1970s.





Sierra Story Slam: BON VOYAGE!- Saturday Afternoon

Saturday, July 21st @ 5:30pm

The Sierra Storytelling Festival will hold the hugely popular Story Slam once more this year. It’s your chance to regale the crowd and compete in the art of storytelling for a prize, by telling your own true story that’s in accord with our Slam Theme. It’s a contest of words by talent both known and undiscovered, and anyone over age 18 can tell.

This year‘s theme is BON VOYAGE!

You as a slammer will enter the competition by dropping your name in a hat. Twelve names will be drawn.

You’ll have five minutes to tell the tale. Time your tale well. Points are lost if you lapse past the five minutes or go far into the one-minute grace period in wrapping up the story.

There will be a small team of judges, some professional storytellers, some not, made up of audience members.

Judges will make decisions based on these criteria: how well the story is told; how well the story is structured; how well the story explores, connects with, and/or reveals some truth about the theme; and how well the time limit is honored.

True stories are the medium here; poetry is discouraged unless it fits the criteria and tells a story. Folktales, myths or fables are discouraged unless, again, they are worked into the teller’s true story and fit the criteria. Copyright laws apply: Don’t use someone else’s work. Audience and judges expect real life adventures.

Props—including notes—are not to be used.

The winner is the lucky recipient of an All-Festival Pass to next year’s Sierra Storytelling Festival.



Children’s Concert – Sunday Morning

Sunday, July 22 @ 10:30am

Charlotte Blake Alston will perform the Sunday Children’s Concert in the amphitheater .

Charlotte Blake Alston grew up in the segregated 1950’s in a family, neighborhood and church community that valued, maintained and celebrated their unique traditions and legacies. While her community was maligned from the outside, she was spoon-fed its cultural riches from the inside. She breathes life into traditional and contemporary stories from African and African American oral and cultural traditions.

Her solo performances are often enhanced with traditional instruments such as djembe, mbira, shekere or the 21-stringed kora. In 1999, Charlotte began studying the kora and the West African history-telling traditions of Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Guinea Bissau. Her teacher was the highly respected Senegalese griot (jali), the late Djimo Kouyate. She has recently resumed her studies with Malian Virtuoso Yacouba Sissoko.





The Stories We Tell – A Workshop with Laura Simms – Friday Afternoon

We live in a universe of stories, familiar, heard or hidden. Starting the workshop with a traditional tale as a scaffolding for reflection and learning about how a story functions in its dynamic engagement, we will use images from the tale to jump start a potent personal narrative. The stories of our lives influence how we engage with ourselves and the world. They support and nurture our lives, or become the source of conflict or obstacle. Through the guided process of creating the personal story we can harvest our stories to bring benefit to ourselves and others and turn memory into mythic memoir. Discussion and excavation will illumine the power of telling stories, whether true life or traditional, as a compassionate act that releases us from the burden of opinion or limiting ideas. Everyone is to bring a journal or note paper, and dress casually.

Suggested reading: OUR SECRET TERRITORY: The Essence of Storytelling (sentient books) by Laura Simms. There will be handouts with other readings, a suggested bibliography and worksheets so what we do can be repeated and deepened on one’s own.