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Bill Harley to share songs, tales

Bill Harley is coming to Jonesborough!


Storyteller Bill Harley, a humorist whose specialty is light stories and songs, has been invited by the International Storytelling Center (ISC) for a weeklong performance-based residency. 

As a headliner for the Storytelling Live! series, Harley will offer matinee concerts in ISC’s state-of-the art theater, located on Main Street. Each performance begins at 2 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, May 28 – June 1.

Reservations are highly recommended, with walk-in seating available only for shows that haven’t sold out.

“My shows are really funny,” Harley said. “But usually I’m trying to say something, too. Humor is like a weapon in that once you get people to laugh and their defenses drop, you’re free to say some other things about the way we are. I know I’ve done my work when I look around the room and I’m telling a story and I see people nodding their heads. You want to hear that laughter of recognition.”

In addition to his matinee performances, Harley will host a special children’s concert on Saturday, June 1, at 10:30 a.m. The show will be geared towards ages six through 10, but all ages are welcome. Tickets are just $5 for all ages, and ticket holders will receive coupons for 15 percent off at The Lollipop Shop, a popular Main Street store that sells old-fashioned sweets and toys.

Parenthood has been a major source of inspiration for Harley, who has two grown children. “The thing about parenting is we didn’t know what we signed up for when it happened,” he says. “People told you what it was but you didn’t really hear it until it happened. It’s a discovery that is bigger and much more complex than you ever thought. That in and of itself is funny if you can take a step away from it.”

Tickets for Harley’s matinees are $12 for adults, and $11 for seniors, students, and anyone under 18. Heavily discounted season passes are still available while supplies last.

Exclusive discounts for local businesses are available to ticketholders for all performances. Ticket stubs will earn a 10 percent discount on same-day dining at Main Street Café (lunch only), Olde Towne Pancake House, Texas Burritos & More, Krazy Krepes, Jonesborough Barrel House, the Icing on the Cake (lunch only), and the Corner Cup. Additionally, Boone Street Market is offering 10 percent off prepared meals and 5 percent off any other purchase.

The premier sponsor of Storytelling Live! is Ballad Health. Additional program funding comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Niswonger Foundation, Eastman Credit Union, the Mooneyhan Family Foundation, and Food City. Media sponsors include News 5-WCYB, FOX Tri-Cities, Tri-Cities CW, Johnson City Press, Kingsport Times-News, Herald & Tribune, and Cumulus Media.

The beloved program will bring a new entertainer to Jonesborough each week through the end of October.

The International Storytelling Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information about Storytelling Live!, including the full 2019 line-up, or to purchase tickets and season passes, visit or call (800) 952-8392.