Weber State University Storytelling Festival

Wednesday, Mar 17, 2021

Ogden, UT 84201

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Celebrating Stories Past, Present, and Future

Come one, come all!! Join us for the 25th annual Weber State University Storytelling Festival. This year, our award-winning festival commemorates its 25th anniversary with a virtual event presenting “Tales to Remember: 25 Stories in 25 Days”.  That right, the festival opens on 22 February, and we present new stories each day for 25 days!! We will feature performances by nationally and internationally acclaimed storytellers, plus many regional and youth tellers! Because of the move to a virtual format due to Covid-19 restrictions, more people will be able to participate from a wider geographic base. Throughout the state of Utah and anywhere people can access the internet, audiences will be treated to some of the finest entertainment imaginable. Each day during the festival, new links will come ‘live’, featuring youth, regional and/or national tellers!

Featured Storytellers

Ed Stivender

Ed Stivender has presented his One-Man-Show of stories, music, and humor at Schools, Festivals, and Theatres around the World. Author of two books of coming-of-age memories, he is best known for his family-friendly blend of wit, wisdom and whimsy. Jimmy Neil Smith, founder of the National Storytelling Festival, calls him the “Clown Prince of Storytelling”.


The recipient of the National Storytelling Network’s 2017 Circle of Excellence Award, Motoko has enchanted audiences of every age across the U.S., as well as in China, Japan, Senegal, and the U.A.E. Her repertoire includes Asian folktales, Rakugo and Zen tales, ghost stories, mime vignettes, oral memoirs from her childhood in Osaka, Japan and her life as an immigrant. Motoko has appeared on PBS’ Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and toured Miyazaki, Japan, as part of CarnegieKids sponsored by Carnegie Hall. She has been featured in festivals and theaters across the U.S., including the National Storytelling Festival and Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Her story recordings won a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award, a Storytelling World Award, and a National Parenting Publications Award (NAPPA). She is the author of A Year in Japan: Folktales, Songs and Art for the Classroom.

Simon Brooks

Award-winning British storyteller, Simon Brooks was raised on stories and taken to the places where these stories began. Ancient hills, standing stones, and castles were Simon's upbringing. He has been entrancing audiences for over 15 years with his award-winning craft. His tales, both live (in-person or virtual) and his award winning recordings, combine the intensity of solo performance with the intimacy of face-to-face conversations. He invites all to investigate & be fascinated with Story as he drops you into tales so vividly you would think you were somewhere else. Simon has performed at hundreds of schools, colleges, libraries, and festivals including the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, and the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in Utah. He has released five storytelling albums, a recording of his retelling of the Epic of Gilgamesh, and his book Under the Oaken Bough, published by Parkhurst Brothers, is popular with families, schools and libraries.

Treasured Storytellers

Anne L. Ellis

“Oh, I just have to tell you about the time when….” Ann Ellis’s WSU students would settle back to hear what classroom life was really like. Now that she has retired after 30 years as a faculty member of the teacher education department, her storytelling focus is in her family. As Grandma Ann, no family gathering is complete without her rendition of “The Little Wide-mouthed Frog” or the retelling of favorite ancestor stories. A long-time member of the WSU Storytelling Festival Committee, beginning with its inception, and, later, as its chair for eight years, Ann is dedicated to connecting teller, story and listener in those enchanted moments outside of time. She was awarded the Festival’s Karen J. Ashton Storytelling Award.

Virginia Rasmussen

Virginia Rasmussen sure knows how to capture an audience. She has been a presenter at our Festival each and every year. In 2009, she received the Karen J. Ashton Storytelling Award. She spins her tales at senior centers, schools, festivals and libraries. Virginia also holds workshops on the art and belongs to the Utah Storytelling Guild.

Phyllis Savage

Drawing from nearly 60 years of experience teaching children, Phyllis Savage combines music and story into performances that delight audiences of all ages. A devotee of the WSU Storytelling Festival, she has served faithfully for many years as an MC and storyteller, especially in the Stories for Little Ones series. Phyllis received the Karen J. Ashton Award in 2012.

Regional Storytellers

Cassie Ashton

Cassie Ashton uses the power of story as wife, mother, grandmother, and relationship coach. As a storyteller, she is known for historical stories, myths, and legends. She loves sharing power life lessions and wisdom other have learned in a fun and entertaining way along with her own personal stories of transformation. She is a co-author of "Haunted Salt Lake City."

Karl Behling

Karl Behling is a seasoned, professional educator and experienced performing artist. He recently retired after 36 years of classroom teaching in public schools. Karl is an active member of the Utah Storytelling Guild, serves on the Executive Committee of the Weber State University Storytelling Festival, and is President of the Board of Directors of Utah Pioneer Heritage Arts. He produces storytelling events and programs for Weber State University, schools, communities, and library systems in Northern Utah. Karl also publishes a regular column called "Ask the Expert" in the USG quarterly magazine, the Taleswapper.

Annie & Dan Eastmond

Harvest Home (Annie & Dan Eastmond)  are Story Musicians. This delightful duo play a variety of instraments, often weaving music into their solo and tandem tales. Havest Home regularly performs at local and regional storytelling venues. They lead the Salt Lake Valley (Olympus Chapter) of the Utah Storytelling Guild.

Alan Griffin

Alan Griffin has been an educator in Utah for the past 43 years. He loves stories and uses them extensively in his teaching. He has produced many original versions of classic fairy tales and ofen uses puppets to enhance his presenations. He is a memeber of the Ben Lomond Chapter of the Utah Storytelling Guild and has performed in many school and community settings.

Rachel Hedman, M.A.

Rachel Hedman, M.A. received a national storytelling award for service and leadership as well as the Karen J. Ashton Award. She completed her Storytelling Masters and celebrated 24 years as a storyteller. As Story Crossroads Executive Director, she will help with the 4th Annual Story Crossroads Festival on May 15, 2019 in Murry/South Jordan, UT.

Karla Huntsman

Karla Huntsman’s  storytelling work includes school assemblies, libraries, festivals, and conferences. She frequently includes original songs, guitar, autoharp, djembe drum, washboard and/or puppetry with her programs.

She has been described as a gifted and passionate storyteller, entertaining, rewarding, thought- provoking and connected to the audience.

Janine Nishiguchi

Janine loves the connections between generations stories can bring. She is a diverse teller engaging audiences of all ages. She enjoys telling folktales and holiday stories that delight audiences. She also portrays Emmeline B. Wells in first person, a Utah pioneer suffragist, in costume. She teaches storytelling workshops and loves telling and reading stories to her grandkids. She is a past president of the Utah Storytelling Guild and currently a children’s librarian.

Ginger Parkinson

Ginger Parkinson tells stories that whisk the imagination where it can romp around like a loose puppy.  She spins curriculum-based stories at Freedom Academy Elementary School as their resident teller.  She lives in Springville with her husband and four children.

Jan C. Smith

Known for her humor and flair, Jan C. Smith is an exciting storyteller and an engaging workshop presenter. She has performed on the stages of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, the Weber State Storytelling Festival and presented workshop, as well as performance for Roots Technology Conference. She honed her storytelling skills as an Army wife moving from pace to place. She has been employed as a drama teacher and, more recently, as a literacy coach, using the power of story to inspire struggling reading. Jan’s belief—‘A story doesn’t preach or chide or correct—it connects’.s

Lynn Wing

For twenty-five years, Lynn Wing has been delighting and inspiring audiences of all ages from as close as her own backyard to as far away as Russia. Her wealth of stories include traditional folktales, tall tales, fairytales, stories of the scary and creepy, and “somewhat true” personal stories.

This event listing provided for the Ogden community events calendar. Community events are not associated with or sponsored by AARP, but may be of interest to you. If you have an event to share, let us know!

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