Storytelling: The original world wide web

Annual Story Seeds Conference and Concert features local and international storytellers

Posted 3/27/19

There are about 15 storytellers involved with the Rocky Mountain Storytelling’s 2019 Story Seeds Conference and Concert. Here is a spotlight of a few of them: Laura Deal Storytelling has been a …

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Storytelling: The original world wide web

Annual Story Seeds Conference and Concert features local and international storytellers

Posted

There are about 15 storytellers involved with the Rocky Mountain Storytelling’s 2019 Story Seeds Conference and Concert.

Here is a spotlight of a few of them:

Laura Deal

Storytelling has been a means of communication for thousands of years, said Laura Deal.

It was a way for traditions to be passed down from generation to generation and to share wisdom with one and other, Deal said. This was especially so before humans had a lot of literacy skills, she added.

“There’s something hardwired in our brains, because of our use of language, to enjoy stories,” Deal said.

Deal of Boulder is a storyteller, freelance writer and dream interpreter. She always had an interest in storytelling, but started storytelling for a public audience about two-and-a-half years ago after receiving training to volunteer with Spellbinders, an organization of volunteer storytellers that visit public schools.

This will be the third year that Deal has attended the Rocky Mountain Storytelling’s Story Seeds Conference and Concert. Like the prior two years, Deal is again looking forward to hearing other people’s stories and learning more about the craft, as well as telling her own story. Deal expects to tell an original story that’s in the style of a traditional folktale.

“I love the immediate connection with the audience,” Deal said of storytelling. “We’re all experiencing the story together.”

Liz Weir

When Liz Weir comes to America, her audience generally wants to hear Irish stories.

But the art of storytelling is not purely performing, she said.

“Part of it is to encourage people to tell their own stories and to value those stories,” Weir said. “There’s so many wonderful stories in the world.”

After all, as a means for people to share stories with each other, storytelling can be thought of as the original world wide web, Weir said.

Weir has been telling stories for 46 years. She began at age 22 when employed as a public children’s librarian. In 1990, she decided to start storytelling as a freelance professional.

Weir lives in Northern Ireland and travels internationally for storytelling. She has been coming to the U.S. for more than 20 years, and although this will be her first time performing at the Rocky Mountain Storytelling’s Story Seeds Conference and Concert, she’s been to Colorado many times for vacations and visits with friends.

“The scenery is fantastic and the people are great,” Weir said. “There’s a very strong community of storytellers.”

John Stansfield

During his days as an elementary school teacher, John Stansfield loved reading stories aloud to the children.

The school district he taught in was one of the first to do an outdoor education program and when that began, he discovered a knack for telling campfire stories.

Then, in 1979, Stansfield of Larkspur decided to pursue a making a living of storytelling.

“Narrative is a very special thing to humanity — we all love to share,” Stansfield said. “The storyteller guides you, but the audience gets to create the story in their individual imaginations.”

Stansfield has participated in the Rocky Mountain Storytelling’s Story Seeds Conference and Concert probably 25 times or more, he said.

This year, he will likely tell a story from Colorado history — something from the 19th Century when Colorado was young, Stansfield said. He may even perform it Chautauqua style, meaning a first-person account, in costume, of a character from the past.

“History is made of stories,” Stansfield said. “That’s what history is.”

And he developed a word for it.

“Historytelling,” Stansfield said, “brings the past alive for modern audiences.”

Carolina Quiroga-Stultz

Carolina Quiroga-Stultz will be visiting Colorado for the first time to participate in this year’s Rocky Mountain Storytelling’s Story Seeds Conference and Concert.

Quiroga-Stultz is originally from Colombia, South America, and started storytelling there about eight years ago. She came to the U.S. to earn a master’s degree in storytelling, and graduated in 2013 from East Tennessee State University. She currently resides in Texas.

“People are naturally born as listeners and storytellers,” Quiroga-Stultz said. “It’s worth it to listen to stories. It makes us better human beings.”

Storytelling is like a magical thread that weaves connections, experiences and memories among people, Quiroga-Stultz said.

“We all connect to stories in different ways,” she said, “but we’re all part of the whole quilt.”

Quiroga-Stultz is a bilingual storyteller who specializes in stories of Latin American cultures, and particularly the myths and legends of the indigenous peoples.

“There’s a need to hear other voices and learn about other cultures,” Quiroga-Stultz said, adding that the world is a beautiful place to explore, but too often, people tend to stick with what they are familiar with. Storytelling “can bring all the worlds together in one place.”

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