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Storyteller to bring the humor

Andy Offutt Irwin will bring all of his talents and stories — including ones about food — to Jonesborough from Saturday, July 17 through Saturday, July 21.


Triple threat Andy Offutt Irwin — storyteller, humorist and musician — will be the next artist in line for Storytelling Live! in downtown Jonesborough. As a guest of the International Storytelling Center, the popular performer will offer a series of live concerts.

Throughout Irwin’s residency, Tuesday to Saturday, July 17 – 21, he’ll share an array of stories and songs, including fan favorites and new material.

“If I don’t tell Marguerite stories, there will be unrest,” he said, referring to his most beloved character, an 85-year-old physician named Marguerite Van Camp. Despite the ridiculous trappings of her life that mark her as a character, not a person, Marguerite is so beloved by Irwin’s fans that most of them think of her as real.

In addition to his afternoon performances, on Thursday, July 19, Irwin will offer a special evening concert, “A Football Made of Cheese,” which is in part a story about his sister’s strangely specific phobia of yellow cheese. The nighttime performance will begin at 7:30 p.m., with tickets priced at just $15. Tickets for all matinee shows are $12 for adults, and $11 for seniors, students, and anyone under 18.

Irwin’s Thursday-night concert is one of many special events scheduled throughout the Storytelling Live! season, including other after-dark shows, Saturday-morning story hours for children, and story-related workshops.

All matinee concerts begin at 2 p.m. in the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall. All ticketholders can present their ticket stubs for a 10 percent discount on same-day dining at Main Street Café (lunch only); Medley Vegan Vegetarian; Olde Towne Pancake House; and The Corner Cup. Boone Street Market is offering 10 percent off prepared meals and 5 percent off any other purchase.

Throughout the week, Irwin will intersperse stories from his own childhood into his sets of original stories about Marguerite. A relatively new area of interest for him is food, a subject about which he’s nostalgic, if not romantic. “A lot of storytellers talk about food and what they grew up eating,” Irwin said. “Kathryn Tucker Windham used to tell a story about not having sugar in the cornbread, but I grew up on Captain Crunch. I’ve got the dental work to prove it.”

Information about all performers, as well as a detailed schedule for the 2018 season, is available at 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, 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 International Storytelling Center is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information about Storytelling Live! or to make a group reservation, call (800) 952-8392 ext. 222 or (423) 913-1276.