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Iconic storyteller Donald Davis to perform at ISC this week

Contributed • Sep 30, 2019 at 12:00 AM

The coming week will hold a wealth of opportunities to catch a live performance from Donald Davis, whose run as Jonesborough’s storyteller-in-residence is scheduled just before his tenure as a featured performer at the National Storytelling Festival.

The bow-tied teller will soon kick off a special series of intimate theater performances in the week leading up to his Festival shows under the big tents scattered across downtown Jonesborough.

A mainstay on the Festival scene, Davis is one of a handful of people who shaped the modern storytelling movement, including the proliferation of personal storytelling. Where some tellers focus on folk tales and faraway lands, Davis has always found his best material in tales from his own childhood.

Professional storytelling has seen a large uptick in personal stories in recent decades, and a similar movement has been gaining momentum with amateur tellers via organizations like the Moth. With his slow drawl and idyllic memories, Davis has always attracted a lot of attention—and inspired many emulators.

In the first stretch of his Jonesborough residency, Davis will offer a handful of quiet solo concerts in the International Storytelling Center’s theater, which seats about 100 people at a time.

These performances, which tend to sell out quickly, will be Sept. 30 - Oct. 3, Monday through Thursday. All daytime concerts will take place in the International Storytelling Center’s intimate state-of-the-art theater, located on Main Street.

The schedule for Davis’s morning and afternoon concerts is Monday at 2, Tuesday and Wednesday at 11 and 2, and Thursday at 11, 2, and 4.

Davis will also offer an exclusive nighttime concert, “Women Who Raised Me, Chapter One” on the grounds of the National Storytelling Festival, in the Library Tent. In these brand new tales, Davis will share memories of maternal figures from his boyhood.

Scheduled for Wednesday, October 2, at 7:30 p.m., the concert is the first of two special events leading up to the 47th annual National Storytelling Festival. The second, a concert featuring the popular humorist Jeanne Robertson, is scheduled for Thursday night.

Tickets are just $20 for all ages for both Davis’s and Robertson’s shows, and will be available at the entrance while seats last. Reservations are recommended for all performances.

Immediately following his residency, Davis will perform for much larger audiences Oct. 4 - 6, as a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival. Each year, the event draws more than 10,000 attendees from around the world.

Storytelling Live! tickets, like all events sponsored by the International Storytelling Center, can be purchased in advance on ISC’s website, in person, or over the phone. Walk-in seating is available the day of the show, while supplies last. 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% 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% off prepared meals and 5% 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.

“Storytelling Live!” will conclude its 2019 season in October. A few encore performances, including several holiday shows, will be held at ISC through the year’s end. For more information about “Storytelling Live!”, including the full 2019 line-up, or to purchase tickets, visit www.storytellingcenter.net or call (800) 952-8392.

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