2018, the Inaugural Flatwater Tales
On Sunday, June 3 the inaugural Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival, supported by a generous grant from the Oak Ridge Fund for Achieving Community Excellence (ORFace), presented the magic of live storytelling with two performances by three world-class tellers, Bil Lepp, Tim Lowry, and Minton Sparks with guitarist John Jackson. Held at the Oak Ridge Playhouse in Historic Jackson Square, it was an Oak Ridge 75th Birthday event that offered different stories at each show. Performances were from 2 to 5 p.m. and 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Our tellers have achieved national and international recognition and appear regularly at festivals, including the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN. Their mesmerizing performances will bring people together to share the magic of this increasingly popular art form.
Kiran Singh Sirah, President of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, TN, honored us by making opening remarks to help inaugurate Flatwater Tales, Oak Ridge’s first storytelling festival.
The Storytelling was the final event of the Flatwater Festival weekend, an annual all-volunteer effort led by the three Oak Ridge Rotary Clubs to entertain and to raise funds for local grants and projects. It kicked off on Friday, June 1 with a 3 hour interactive writing workshop, “Create Your Own Story,” with Minton Sparks.
On Saturday, June 2, the Flatwater Festival continueed on the waterfront from noon to 9 PM. It featureed live music, beer, wine, food trucks, activities for kids, a team-building regatta, cardboard boat races, and much more.
Flatwater Tales Storytelling concluded the weekend with shows from 2 to 5 and 6:30 to 9:30 PM.
“If you can’t go to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough be sure to come to the Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival in Oak Ridge.”
2019, the 2nd Annual Flatwater Tales
The 2019 Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, washeld from May 31 through June 1.
On Saturday, June 1, the 2nd Annual Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival presented three performances by three world-class tellers: Carmen Agra Deedy, Bil Lepp, and Bobby Norfolk. The event moved to the Historic Grove Theatre in Grove Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The tellers shared different stories at each show. The performances were held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Family Show), from 2 to 5 p.m., and from 7 to 10 p.m.
Our tellers have achieved international recognition and appear regularly at festivals, including the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Their mesmerizing performances bring people together to share the magic of this time-honored, increasingly popular art form.
The storytelling weekend kicked off on Friday, May 31, with a writing workshop. Minton Sparks returned to conduct a 3-hour interactive writing workshop, “My Crazy Kin—Transform Your Family Stories into a Compelling Personal Narrative.”
2020, the 3rd Annual Flatwater Tales
Storytelling Festival Posponed!
The 3rd Annual Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival planned live storytelling with 3 performances by 3 world-class tellers! The Covid19 pandemic forced the show to be rescheduled in 2021.
Set for Saturday, June 6, 2020, the 3rd Annual Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival had scheduled Andy Offutt Irwin, Bil Lepp, and Kim Weitkamp to conduct three performances at the Historic Grove Theater in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, with different stories at each show. The performances were to be from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Family Show), from 2 to 5 p.m., and 7 to 10 p.m.
Andy, Bil, and Kim agreed to join us all back in Oak Ridge in June 2021! And meanwhile we are continuing with a significant project to help our venue, the Historic Grove Theater become even better as a significant cultural landmark in our area.
2021, the 4th Annual Flatwater Tales
Storytelling Festival was Virtual!
Our featured storytellers were three acclaimed performers: Andy Offutt Irwin, Bil Lepp, and Kim Weitkamp, known to audiences nationwide for their wit, wisdom and abilities to make audiences laugh, cry and reminisce.
The three tellers recorded a live show before a small audience exclusively for Flatwater Tales. This performance included an unrehearsed improv segment, hosted by emcee Paula Gordon Lepp, a new feature in the storytelling world. Their stories are already unpredictable, and the improv portion built on their creativity and spontaneous story-making. A “blooper” roll and a live after-party will concluded the event. Earlier in the day, each of the tellers led a virtual workshop on aspects of their craft.
Technical aspects of our virtual event was professionally produced by veteran virtual technical artists Six Feet Apart Productions.
Flatwater Tales Created For Oak Ridge Residents and Visitors
This is an annual event offered by the three Rotary Clubs in Oak Ridge. The festival’s goals are to help bring our community together, introduce others to Oak Ridge, support local economic activity, and raise funds for the clubs’ community projects.
We expect to grow Flatwater Tales to include local and regional lore, music, and history, and to help share the Oak Ridge story – past, present, and future – with a wider audience. We want to expand our storytelling training to include helping children, seniors, and veterans find their voices using this age-old art form.
The Oak Ridge Fund for Achieving Community Excellence (ORFace) deemed this project an important addition to the culture of Oak Ridge, long known for outstanding achievement in science, education and the arts. ORFace’s first grant was significant in its support of the first presentation of Flatwater Tales.
ORFace is an affiliate fund of the East Tennessee Foundation, which has supported the 25 counties of East Tennessee through more that $336 million in grants made to worthy projects since 1986.