Texas Storytelling Festival Starts Thursday, March 10 With "Witches Cauldron" Concert

Storytellers, rejoice! The Texas Storytelling Festival is a four-day event that takes place at the Civic Center in Downtown Denton and will be here for its 31st annual celebration this weekend. This storytelling festival is, in fact, longer than the music festival that will be taking over downtown during the same week and boasts just as many names you may not have heard of.

The festival kicks off tomorrow, Thursday, March 10 with a special concert titled "Witches Cauldron" that begins at 7:00 pm and is produced by local Ghosts of Denton storytelling legend, Shelly Tucker -- someone we are sure you have heard of. 

“When I was asked to produce this concert, I was excited and honored,” Tucker shares, “because (of course) ghost stories are my favorite.”

Tucker recruited some new voices who weren’t necessarily part of the storytelling organization, but who she believes have incredible skills as storytellers. “For me,” Tucker says, “it's going to be great fun to get to sit back and enjoy someone else telling the tales!”

Some of the storytellers for the “Witches Cauldron” concert are highlighted below:

Steve McCluer is a regular on the ghost tales stage because he is known for his creepy horror stories. McCluer has been telling stories since the 1980s.

Donna Ingham is another mainstay of the Tejas Storytelling Association. Ingham is a recipient of the John Henry Faulk Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Art of Storytelling. She has also been named "the Biggest Liar in Austin, Texas" seven different times and "the Biggest Liar in Texas" three times. Tucker promises us the story she will share is a real Texas ghost tale, though.

Professor Charles Porterfield is a writer, teacher, lecturer, and a root doctor! A founding member of the Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers, Porterfield is also a member of the Hoodoo Psychics.

Paula Schlegel is an author who teaches public speaking, gender communication, nonverbal communication, and other stimulating topics at West Texas A & M University in Canyon, Texas.  This former member of the Tejas Storytelling Association board hails originally from Slapout, Oklahoma where, with only two television stations, storytelling was a means of self-preservation.  The actual story she will tell gave Tucker the chills - so you know it’s going to be good!

Gayle Rossi is an internationally acclaimed storyteller, a prolific author, and a descendant of John Ross (the Cherokee chief whose people walked the Trail of Tears). Back when storytelling was having a "Renaissance," she was one of two women in Texas who broke the trail for the rest of us.

Catherine Whiteman will be accompanied on the drums by her husband, Len Barnett of Percussion Things. Whiteman is an actress, singer, storyteller, and historian, as well as an award-winning television producer and host. She produces, writes and hosts "About Town," Irving Community Television Network's award-winning weekly entertainment magazine. For years she was known for her portrayal of Sojourner Truth in schools across the U.S. When she and her husband collaborate on a performance, it is story magic.

Loren Niemi, from Minneapolis, is an innovative storyteller, poet, author and a teacher at Metro State University. Niemi believes there is a need for storytellers to tell a "different kind" of ghost story, "one with an appreciation for subtle menace and the unspoken, that scares by analogy and implication," he says. Niemi will be giving a workshop at the Festival on Friday (1:15 pm) titled "Is the Ghost Story Dead?"  We sure hope it isn’t!

In addition to Thursday night's concert, the storytelling festival has events lined up all day Friday and Saturday, and for half a day on Sunday, as well. The festival includes workshops, spoken word concerts, music, and activities for the kiddos, and tickets are still available.

The Talespinner Party and the silent auction are major parts of the Texas Storytelling Festival, with the silent auction taking place on Saturday evening with dinner and drinks being served to those in attendance.

This weekend should provide Dentonite’s - and folks from all over, for that matter - a taste of Texas history by way of fantastic storytellers. Don’t forget to share your photos from the Texas Storyteller Festival on Instagram and use #TheDentonite so we can keep up with you!


Sara Button