A journey to the land of the mind's eye
Each year The Ark revives the world's oldest art with our February Storytelling Festival, featuring talespinners from far and wide. Our Sunday afternoon show brings back Saturday night's tellers in a story session for families. This year's tellers:
Kevin Kling, a Minneapolis storyteller and playwright whose commentaries are heard on NPR's "All Things Considered." Kevin's autobiographical tales are as enchanting as they are true to life: they might deal with hopping freight trains, getting hit by lightning, performing his banned play in Czechoslovakia, growing up in Minnesota, and eating things before knowing what they are. Kevin describes his zodiac sign as “Minnesota with Iowa rising…” He grew up in Brooklyn Park and Maple Grove, Minneapolis suburbs, and graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater. His storytelling started when a friend from the now defunct Brass Tacks Theatre asked him to perform his stories. He was born with a congenital birth defect—his left arm is about three-quarters the size of his right arm, and his left hand has no wrist or thumb. More than five years ago, Kling was in a motorcycle accident. The brachial plexus nerves in his right arm were pulled completely out of their sockets. Currently, he has partial use of his left arm and cannot use his right arm at all. But he continues to write plays and stories in a rigorous fashion, and travels around the globe to numerous storytelling festivals, residencies, and has been invited to perform the acclaimed National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, for several years.
Bill Harley has been called "the Mark Twain of contemporary children's music," and he's equally adept at telling stories to adult audiences. Says Penguin Books: "Bill Harley has the uncanny ability to reaffirm life for listeners, be they five or fifty. Humor, empathy, intelligence and reality all radiate from his work and from him." A two-time Grammy winner and the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Bill uses song and story to paint a vibrant and hilarious picture of growing up, schooling and family life. His work spans the generation gap, reminds us of our common humanity and challenges us to be our very best selves. Bill began singing and storytelling in 1975 while still in college. His work has influenced a generation of children, parents, performing artists and educators. Bill's songs are joyous, direct and honest, his stories are filled with the details of daily life – all told and sung from his slightly off-center point of view.
A winner of the Top Irish Storyteller in the USA award, Michigan storyteller Yvonne Healy didn’t kiss the Blarney Stone; she swallowed it. This award-winning raconteur was born across the water. She grew up with Irish stories and language on an American Main Street. Rollicking kids’ tales, weird Celtic legends, outrageous family lore, or thought-provoking adult fare: whether it’s blarney or beyond, this American and Irish storyteller opens windows to life, as real and touching as it gets. Funny, too!