Flatwater Tales

2018 Flatwater Tales

The Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival brings world-class storytelling to Oak Ridge on June 3, 2018. It offers the art and magic of live storytelling, which has a long and rich history in Tennessee. Bil Lepp, Tim Lowry, and Minton Sparks with guitarist John Jackson will perform for our inaugural festival. The performances will bring people together to share laughter, tears, and create strong memories.

Our tellers have all achieved national and international recognition, appear regularly at many festivals including the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, and are among the top storytellers in the nation.

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 guitarist John Jackson, who, among his many accomplishments, played in Bob Dylan’s band for 6 years. They are a dynamic duo.

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

In addition to storytelling performances, in 2018 we will offer a 3 hour interactive writing workshop, “Create Your Own Story,” with Minton Sparks. No writing or performing experience is needed. The goal of the workshop is to help participants discover their own stories from their family history and experiences, structure their stories for effectiveness, and present their stories to share with others.

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 find their voices using this age-old art form.


2018 Events

Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival
Sunday  June 3:     2 – 5 & 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
     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 p.m.
$25 for one session, $40 for both sessions.

Tickets and more information coming soon.
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Minton Sparks Writing Workshop: “Create Your Own Story”
Friday Jun 1,     2 – 5 p.m.

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. Registration information coming soon!