Stivender to offer tall tales June 26-30To look at Ed Stivender, or to hear him in conversation, you might not guess he’s such an energetic performer and an award-winning Philadelphia mummer. But the low-key Catholic is known around the world for his quick wit and his hilarious improv.
He’s also one of the most beloved performers at the National Storytelling Festival, where he has been featured regularly since 1980.
Stivender is bringing his act to Jonesborough this summer, where he’ll offer a week’s worth of performances to devout fans and first-time attendees alike.
He’ll share his famous fractured fairy tales, some lively literary material, and a range of his personal stories about growing up Catholic as the next teller-in-residence at the International Stoyrtelling Center.
He’ll also have his banjo and a harmonica on hand for a sing-along at every performance.
Stivender is such a master of the art of storytelling that he can build a fully realized story based on random suggestions from the audience — a sort of mad lib exercise for fairytales.
Some of the most popular pieces in his repertoire have their roots in the whims and shouts of a crowd that playfully tried to trip him up.
For many years, Stivender has been performing daily for a very demanding audience of school kids.
As a teacher, he has imparted knowledge, broken up fights and, yes, told some stories. Now he’s ready to return to storytelling full time.
“Perhaps the best thing is I won’t have to fly back from Cape Clear, Ireland on Labor Day Monday to be at work the next day,” he says.
While he’s excited to have more freedom to tour and perform, Stivender is most looking forward to having more time for writing.
From having an idea, to developing it, to learning the piece for the stage, crafting a tale takes time. “One of the problems is that after a day of working as a teacher, there’s not much mental space left for writing,” he explains. “Hopefully, this will give me a chance to get back to writing more.”
Stivender’s daily matinees will run from June 26-30 in the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall. Tickets are $12 for adults and $11 for seniors, students and children. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 913-1276.