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International Storytelling Center welcomes Tim Lowry to Jonesborough for "Storytelling Live!"

Contributed • Jun 17, 2019 at 4:34 PM

Early in his training, Tim Lowry faced a serious professional dilemma: should he become a serious thespian or go to clown college?

Unable to settle on just one thing, it was natural that Lowry eventually gravitated to storytelling. Now a humorist and historian known for his love of Southern culture and period costumes, his distinctive style comes from his appreciation of the performing arts.

Lowry has always nurtured a keen interest in high drama.

“When I was a theater major, I always got in trouble for playing directly to the audience,” he says. “The director would say ‘stop playing directly to the front row. You’re supposed to pretend they’re not there.’ But they are there! I think that’s what I like most about storytelling: the direct connection to the audience.”

Building that rapport became more important to Lowry than stage theatrics or the attention that one inevitably receives for riding a unicycle.

The storyteller will soon appear in Jonesborough as a featured performer in the International Storytelling Center’s “Storytelling Live!” series, an artistic residency program that invites different performers to Jonesborough through the end of October.

Lowry’s weeklong residency (June 18-22) will include daily performances, Tuesday through Saturday, at 2 p.m. Tickets are just $12 for adults. Seating is first come, first served, and Lowry’s performances frequently sell out in advance.

In addition to stories about Southern culture and folk tales from around the globe, Lowry has a special affinity for vivid episodes from American history. He’s especially fond of the great frontier.

Over the years he has developed a wide collection of stories from the western United States, which he describes as “colorful, bright and big with American spirit.”

The 2019 “Storytelling Live!” season will feature a variety of special events, including children’s concerts and evening shows. Lowry will lead the year’s first workshop, “Using Story for Effective Communication,” on Thursday, June 20.

The interactive two-hour event (9:30-11:30 a.m.) will explore how stories work as a communications tool in life and business, including everything from PTA meetings to political campaigns. Advance registration is strongly recommended.

The workshop is designed for anyone who’s interested in using storytelling to communicate their purpose, vision, values, and goals in stories instead of soundbites. Lowry plans to cover ground such as work presentations, advertising campaigns, social media and even conversational stories.

Discounted $11 tickets for matinees are available for seniors, students, and anyone under 18, and heavily discounted season passes are still available. Exclusive local discounts are available to all ticket holders.

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 bring more than two dozen storytellers to Jonesborough through the summer and fall.

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 lineup, or to purchase tickets and season passes, visit www.storytellingcenter.net or call 800-952-8392.

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