Thursday, April 3 - Saturday, April 5, 2003
The first annual Riverway Storytelling Festival was a success! The Festival
brought people from throughout the Capital Region together to share and
enjoy the artistic tradition of storytelling.
Listeners from two to eighty-two came to their local public libraries, the
Albany Public Library, or The Egg to hear stories that spoke to their
experiences. Performing storytellers also spanned a wide age range, several
as young as ten.
Eight Albany and Rensselaer Counties libraries hosted performances on
Thursday evening. People came out to enjoy an evening of stories close to
in these communities: Altamont, Castleton, Petersburgh, Ravena,
Rensselaerville, Stephentown, Troy, and Voorheesville.
As eight storytellers in eight different places were beginning to spin
their tales Thursday evening,
an early spring ice storm rumbled into the Capital Region. This storm
pelted the area with freezing rain, sleet and ice throughout the Festival
weekend. Driving was hazardous, and walking outside was a reminder of why
rubber-soled boots and umbrellas were invented.
The weather forced cancellation of area schools on Friday, which meant
cancellation of the storyteller performances at schools that were part of
the Riverway Festival lineup. As the day wore on and the weather worsened,
we reluctantly made the decision to cancel the family performance scheduled
for Friday evening at WAMC Linda Norris Auditorium.
Saturday morning’s activities at Albany Public Library
began promptly at 9:00 a.m. when excited student storytellers from four
schools met one another for the first time.
At 9:30, the storytelling technique workshops began. Students, teachers,
librarians, and storytellers took part,
learning how to improve their effectiveness in telling stories and also how
to work with funders and administration to bring storytelling into their
schools or libraries.
At 11:30, variously nervous or ebullient student tellers performed in four
locations around the library to genuine acclaim.
Following lunch, a free family performance by J.Gilliam Brown and Felix
filled the large auditorium with appreciative parents and kids, many of
whom came to the library just for this event.
The daytime activities ended with a master class by world-renowned
storyteller Laura Simms.
The Egg was the venue for Saturday evening’s performance for adults.
Storytellers Fran Yardley, Jim Bruchac, and Laura Simms
told stories of fathers and losses, Adirondack humor, war and peace, and
the search for love to an audience of ranging from teens to
Total attendance at Festival events exceeded 550, a heartening number for a
first-time festival on a weekend when the weather made leaving home a
chancy proposition. Had all scheduled events taken place and the weather
not precluded some registrants from coming, we expect attendance to have
A hearty round of applause to Riverway's audiences, storytellers,
volunteers and sponsors who joined together to create and enjoy
the first annual Riverway Storytelling Festival!
Riverway Storytelling Festival is a charter member of the Hudson Valley Storytelling Alliance.