Schedule & Speakers

Twenty sessions and interactive workshops, ten musical performances, and three ‘open mics’ will mark the first Madison Storytellers Festival on Saturday, June 11th, in downtown Madison, a free, interactive celebration of storytelling in all its forms. The event is presented thanks to generous seed funding from the Madison Downtown Development Commission and brought to life through a special collaboration among its local arts and culture community.

You can download the schedule (PDF) here (subject to change):
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Map of stages
Speakers include:

Author Panel: Eat, Pray Love, Made Me Do It

Contributors to the book Eat, Pray Love, Made Me Do It — Cara Bradshaw, Tina Donvito, and Victoria Russell — will speak about how the book Eat, Pray, Love has changed their lives. The session will moderated by Aarti Virani.

Behind the Scenes at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

Bonnie Monte of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, will be interviewed by actor Alison Weller. They will discuss how they make stories come alive at the theatre.

Stage Combat Demonstration

Can combat tell a story? It can when it happens on the stage of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey! Presented by company members Doug West and Amaia Arana.

Author Rachel Kempster Barry

Join author Rachel Kempster Barry for an interactive workshop that will get kids and teens writing and crafting with a focus on happiness! All supplies will be provided, we just ask that everyone comes ready to be creative and have fun. Rachel is the co-author of The Happy Book, The You and Me Book, and The Big Me, Little You Book and the forthcoming The Book of Me (Sourcebooks, October 2016).  

Author Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

Author Miranda Beverly-Whittemore discusses the value of place in storytelling, and shares a behind the scenes look at her novels June and Bittersweet.

Author Sandra L. Richards

Author Sandra L. Richards shares her story Rice & Rocks, a picture book celebrating culture and diversity.

Intro to Oral Storytelling with Tim Manley

Everyone has important stories worth sharing, whether you realize it or not. In this workshop we’ll practice telling them aloud. Participants will be given the tools to find true stories in their lives, and quickly craft them for performance. We will conclude our time together with a mini-show of your stories! Tim Manley’s true stories have been featured on The Moth Radio Hour, HBO’s Girls, and in his sold-out solo show at the New York International Fringe Festival.

YA Summer Reads Panel

Young Adult Summer Reads Discussion with authors Kathryn Holmes and Caela Carter, hosted by MHS Junior and YA Blogger Kate O’Keeffe.

Mindfulness: The Benefits of Paying Attention on Purpose; A Session for Grown Ups & Kids

Do you want to slow down and stress less?  Do you long for a calmer life and a more patient self?  Mindfulness strengthens focus and concentration, boosts creativity and slows aging. It’s the “best practice” schools, corporations, medical centers and the military are adopting worldwide. Join Mindfulness Educator Mary Lea Crawley for a 45-minute experience of slowing down and practicing mindfulness. You’ll learn skills for lowering stress, navigating challenge, and boosting your health.

Author Aaron Even

Author and Associate Producer Aaron Even (National Geographic Television) plans to travel in from his residence in Falls Church, Va. Aaron is the author of the novel, Bloodroot, and the forthcoming Atticus Books novel, He Comes In Fire

Independent Press Panel

A panel of local independent presses talk about what it takes to craft and share stories. Moderated by Dan Cafaro of Atticus Books.

Children’s Yoga & Storytelling

Meeta Shah, former teacher and volunteer at Madison Montessori School, which teach two short classes on learning yoga through storytelling. Children ages 3-6 years old are welcome to participate in these interactive storytelling sessions.

ARTS by the People Open Mic

ARTS by the People will hold an open mic event, welcoming all poets and storytellers to share in the event.

Storytelling Through Dance, by Dance Innovations

Dance Innovations will perform a piece showcasing the re-telling of fairytales through dance.

Author Danielle R. Lindner

Children’s book author, and founder of the London Day School, Danielle R. Lindner, will read from her newest books, and do a talk for kids about writing, illustrating, and getting their work published.

Workshop on Oral History

Catherine Carr will lead a workshop on oral history, interviewing residents of Madison and showcasing how to capture the stories that fill our lives.

Spoken Word With Bella Dapilma

Drew University student Bella Dapilma will perform spoken word pieces about the power of words, and use call and response to bring the audience into the work.

Interactive Storytime with the Madison Public Library

Join Miss Margie from the Madison Public Library for an interactive storytime. Using various props, children will help tell the story as Miss Margie reads from children’s picture books. Recommended ages (4-8.)

Poetry Out Loud

John Pietrowski of the Writers Theatre of New Jersey speaks with one of the winners of Poetry Out Loud.

Storytime With Canines

St. Huberts brings its “Paws for People” program to the Festival, with Winston the Dog.

Behind the Scenes at Writers Theatre of New Jersey

John Pietrowski and Deb Margolin of the Writers Theatre of New Jersey take you behind the scenes of what makes a great story.

Demonstration of an 1840s Hand Press

The Museum of Early Trades and Crafts (METC) will offer free admission and fun activities, including a demonstration of its 1840s hand press by expert Leonard Sealstone.