no avatar

Storyteller and harper to offer music, stories in Jonesborough

Contributed • Sep 2, 2019 at 4:44 PM

Diane Edgecomb, a storyteller who specializes in traditional lore from the British Isles and original tales about the natural world, will join the Celtic harper Margot Chamberlain for a weeklong performance series at the International Storytelling Center.

Known for their delicate harmonies, the duo is celebrating 30 years together as a team. “I’ve always been intrigued by the combination of storytelling and the Celtic harp,” says Edgecomb. “It’s an instrument that really lends itself to the spoken word because it’s very spare.”

Edgecomb has appeared in Jonesborough several times as a solo storyteller, but this is the first time that Chamberlain has made the trip with her.

“I’m very excited about the stories that we’re bringing,” Edgecomb says. “We really complement each other as talents.” All of the programs weave together stories, songs and composed background music.

The traditional pieces, inspired in part by Edgecomb’s English/Irish/Scotch/Welsh heritage, will include a modern retelling of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Deidre of the Sorrows, a dark romance from Ireland.

Edgecomb will also share a number of special immersion stories about the natural world, including programs on trees and flowers.

“They’re very dramatic stories, actually,” says Edgecomb, who compares the stories to Greek myths. “There’s a lot of drama, but there’s also comedy.”

The duo’s “Language of Flowers” collection is based partly on the Victorian tradition of sending bouquets as coded love messages.

“Depending on which flower you received, you could tell what message the person was sending you,” Edgecomb says. “You just had to hope that the person receiving your bouquet had the same chapbook because the meanings weren’t always the same.”

Edgecomb is delighted to bring this side of her storytelling to Jonesborough, where she loves to perform.

“What a beautiful setting for stories,” she says. “The theater, and the intimacy of it all, is incredible. I feel lucky to focus on the stories in such a beautiful environment. It’s an honor, and a challenge, too.”

During their week-long residency in downtown Jonesborough, Edgecomb and Chamberlain will perform several traditional tales and two natural collections. Matinee performances will be offered for five days, Tuesday to Saturday, September 3-7. All concerts are in the International Storytelling Center’s intimate state-of-the-art theater, located on Main Street.

Daily matinees begin at 2 p.m. sharp. Tickets can be purchased in advance on ISC’s website, in person or over the phone. Additionally, walk-in seating may be available the day of the show on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tickets for all afternoon matinees are $12 for adults, and $11 for seniors, students and anyone under 18. Exclusive discounts are available to ticketholders for the evening concert and matinee shows. 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.

ISC’s Storytelling Live! season extends through late October, with several encore performances scattered throughout the rest of the year.

The International Storytelling Center is open 10 a.m-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 www.storytellingcenter.net or call 800-952-8392.

Johnson City Press Videos