Flatwater Tales

2018 Flatwater Tales

On Sunday, June 3 the inaugural Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival, supported by a generous grant from the Oak Ridge Fund for Achieving Community Excellence (ORFace), presents the magic of live storytelling with two performances by three world-class tellers, Bil LeppTim Lowry, and Minton Sparks with guitarist John Jackson. Held at the Oak Ridge Playhouse in Historic Jackson Square, it is an Oak Ridge 75th Birthday event that offers different stories at each show. Performances are from 2 to 5 p.m. and 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Our tellers have achieved national and international recognition and appear regularly at festivals, including the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN. Their mesmerizing performances will bring people together to share the magic of this increasingly popular art form.

Kiran Singh Sirah, President of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, TN, will honor us by making opening remarks to help inaugurate Flatwater Tales, Oak Ridge’s first storytelling festival.

The Storytelling is the final event of the Flatwater Festival weekend, an annual all-volunteer effort led by the three Oak Ridge Rotary Clubs to entertain and to raise funds for local grants and projects. It kicks off on Friday, June 1 with a 3 hour interactive writing workshop, “Create Your Own Story,” with Minton Sparks.

On Saturday, June 2, the Flatwater Festival continues on the waterfront from noon to 9 PM. It features live music, beer, wine, food trucks, activities for kids, a team-building regatta, cardboard boat races, and much more.

Flatwater Tales Storytelling concludes the weekend with shows from 2 to 5 and 6:30 to 9:30 PM.

“If you can’t go to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough be sure to come to the Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival in Oak Ridge.”

Meet our 2018 Tellers

Bil Lepp, an acclaimed teller from Charleston, WV, and 5-time winner of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest, takes listeners on a winding, incredulous path before tying up all the loose ends in a neat, fantastical package . He tells humorous, imaginative tales, and says that while all the details may not be accurate, the feelings are always honest.

Tim Lowry, from Summerville, SC, by way of Eastern Kentucky, casts his spellbinding net to audiences of all ages, sometimes in a seersucker suit or Revolutionary War costume. He brings us stories ranging from folk tales to Southern culture, history, and personal narratives. He will tickle your funny bone along the way.

Minton Sparks, from Nashville, TN, dives deep into her family history in Arkansas and West Tennessee to captivate her audience with poetry, music, and dance that reveal the often hidden truths all families have. She is accompanied by noted guitarist John Jackson. They are a dynamic duo.

About Flatwater Tales

This will be an annual event offered by the three Rotary Clubs in Oak Ridge as part of the Flatwater Festival weekend. The festivals’ goals are to help bring our community together, introduce others to Oak Ridge, support local economic activity, and raise funds for the clubs’ community projects.

We expect to grow Flatwater Tales to include local and regional lore, music, and history, and to help share the Oak Ridge story – past, present, and future – with a wider audience. We want to expand our storytelling training to include helping children, seniors, and veterans find their voices using this age-old art form.

The Oak Ridge Fund for Achieving Community Excellence deemed this project an important addition to the culture of Oak Ridge, long known for outstanding achievement in science, education and the arts. ORFace’s first grant was significant in its support of the first presentation of Flatwater Tales.

ORFace is an affiliate fund of the East Tennessee Foundation, which has supported the 25 counties of East Tennessee through more that $237 million in grants made to worthy projects since 1986.




2018 Events

Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival
Sunday  June 3:     2 – 5 & 6:30 – 9:30 PM
     different performances at each session

Oak Ridge Playhouse
Historic Jackson Square
227 Broadway Av
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

Three nationally recognized storytellers will share stories, music, and maybe even a few secrets at the First Annual Flatwater Tales. Bil Lepp, Tim Lowry, and Minton Sparks with guitarist John Jackson will make you laugh, inspire you, and enrich your life with the power of their tales.

Two sessions with different stories at each:
Afternoon 2-5 and Evening 6:30-9:30 PM
$25 per session,  and an Early Bird Special of $40 for both (Ending Midnight Sunday, May 13)

Tickets available online (click Buy Tix buttons at the bottom of this page) or buy at the Ferrell Shop here in Historic Jackson Square in Oak Ridge.

Minton Sparks Writing Workshop: “Create Your Own Story”
Friday Jun 1,     2 – 5 PM

Auditorium at the UT Arboretum
901 S Illinois Av
Oak Ridge, TN  37830

Minton Sparks, acclaimed storyteller, writer, poet, and performer will guide participants on a 3-hour interactive writing and performing experience. You will focus on the questions “Where are you from?” and “How does where you are from inform the definition of who you are?” while writing your own stories, exploring your family tree, studying storytelling techniques and learning from Minton’s own work and experience. Minton will then guide you through using your stories to create various poems, pictures, and performances. The workshop’s contemplative woodland setting, in the Auditorium at the UT Arboretum in Oak Ridge, will help inspire you.

No writing or performance experience necessary.

Cost for the workshop is $75, and is limited to 30 participants.