top of page

Be a part of the story...

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon
  • YouTube - White Circle

2023 Ojai Storytelling Festival!

Introducing this year's lineup!

October 26-29, 2023

Deedy 1
Niall de Burca1_edited_edited
B.jones small

October 26-29






The Tellers


Master of Ceremonies

tim lowery.jpg

Tim Lowry

Master of Ceremonies, Storyteller

During a circus performance, Tim was bitten by the show biz bug at six years of age. Waiting for his big break, he filled his childhood with performance opportunities. Cast as Ebenezer Scrooge in a second grade production of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” Tim later played Jed Clampett in “A Beverly Hillbillies Christmas.” Demonstrating that he could raise one eyebrow and thereby look “wicked” Tim’s Sunday school teacher cast him as King Herod in the annual Christmas pageant. As a young teenager Tim produced puppet shows for children’s birthday parties. His fee was $20 per show, but he offered a $5 discount if you could give him a ride because he was not yet old enough to drive. As an award-winning high school drama student Tim toured the East Coast in 1987 with a Broadway style musical. As a theatre major in college he studied Shakespeare and Romantic Opera, but when he took an elective class in storytelling, he found himself. After graduation, Tim taught English Language Arts for five years. Drawing on his love of show business his teaching methods were often considered “unorthodox and disruptive.” In 2000 Tim left the classroom to pursue a career as a professional storyteller. To date he has shared his “unorthodox and disruptive” teaching methods with more than a quarter million children! In 2012 Tim began touring the National Storytelling Circuit performing at over fifty different festivals. Occasionally, Tim provides workshops for corporate clients such as the North Carolina County Commissioners, Dollywood Dream More Resort, Ballad Health, and Daramic LLC.


Carmen Agra-Deedy

Storyteller, Author

Carmen Agra Deedy, is an award-winning author of fifteen books for young readers, including The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!, Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, Rita and Ralph’s Rotten Day, and 14 Cows for America, a New York Times Bestseller. Her latest book, Wombat Said Come In, was released in October 2022.

Her personal stories first appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered. Funny, insightful, and frequently irreverent, Deedy’s narratives are culled from her childhood as a Cuban refugee in Decatur, Georgia. She is host of the four-time Emmy-winning children’s program, Love That Book!

Deedy is also an accomplished lecturer, having been a guest speaker for the Library of Congress, Columbia University, both the TED and TEDx Conference, and the Kennedy Center, among other distinguished venues. An editor, and life-long advocate for libraries, she has served on the Advisory Board of Smithsonian Libraries and Archives, and will do so again, as of January 2023. 

Deedy 1.jpg


Featured Teller


Niall de Burca2_edited.jpg

Featured Teller

Niall de Búrca

Storyteller, Educator, World Traveler

Nor bhris focal maith fiacal riamh…..A good word never broke a tooth.

Niall de Búrca is one of Ireland’s finest traditional storytellers. He was raised in Galway and displayed a talent for narrative from a young age. At home he has featured in theatre, radio and at many festivals including Féile Earraai, the CS Lewis Festival, and The National Children’s Book Festival. Abroad he has performed and held workshops in countries as diverse as Poland, Argentina, Italy and The Netherlands.

Niall also spent many years living in New Zealand. His experiences as an emigrant there have had a major influence on his work and performance style. Recognised for the diversity of his stories and with an ability to  reach all ages; Niall is a familiar figure to many Irish children through his innovative school programmes. His “Storytelling As A Tool Of Education” workshops are highly recommended by educators. In May 2002 he received a Medal Of Excellence from the Heidleberg  school district in Germany for his work with young authors.

Noa Baum

Storyteller, Author, Activist

The Washington Post describes Noa Baum as someone who "spreads cultural truths that eclipse geopolitical boundaries...".  Noa is an internationally acclaimed storyteller, author, and coach. She uses mesmerizing voices, impeccable timing, and warm authenticity to captivate audiences of all ages with stories from diverse cultures and her own rich Jewish heritage. Noa offers a unique combination of performance art and practical workshops that focus on the power of narrative to heal across the divides of identity and promote compassion and peace. 

Born and raised in Jerusalem, Noa Baum trained in theatre at Tel-Aviv University, studied acting with Uta Hagen and received an MA in Educational Theater from NYU. Since 1982, she’s been presenting internationally. Highlights include: The World Bank; Kennedy Center; US Defense Department; AARP; US FDA; The Smithsonian Institute; Mayo Clinic for Humanities in Medicine; The National Storytelling Festival, Fabula Storytelling Festival, Sweden and other festivals, organizations, congregations, and schools.

Noa is the author of a memoir “A Land Twice Promised – an Israeli Woman’s Quest for Peace” - winner of the Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award, the LDS Publishing Professionals Association Award, and a Storytelling World Award - and a new picture book “How the Birds Became Friends”, on the power of kindness to bring peace. Her audio recordings won Parents’ Choice and Storytelling World awards. Noa is a member of the National Storytelling Network, she lives in the Washington DC metro area and was voted by The Washington Jewish Week as one of 10 most interesting local Jews.



Featured Teller



Featured Teller

Peter Cook

Storyteller, Mime, Professor

Peter Cook is an Associate Professor, and Chair of  ASL Department, Columbia College Chicago and an internationally known Deaf performing artist whose work incorporates American Sign Language, pantomime, storytelling, acting, and movement.

Cook has an MA in Storytelling from East Tennessee State University (2011) and a BFA in Graphic Design from Rochester Institute of Technology (1986).

Since 1986, Cook has traveled extensively, both nationally and internationally with Kenny Lerner, to promote the Flying Words Project and ASL literature. He appeared in the Alive from Off Center episode “Words in Your Face” and in “The United States of Poetry” (PBS), both of which were produced by Emmy-award winner Bob Holman. He also was featured performer for the ITV’s Signed Stories.

Cook has been featured nationally in numerous festivals, including the National Storytelling Festival, Oklahoma City Winter Tales, Illinois Storytelling Festival, Indiana Hoosier Storytelling Festival, Tales of Gratz, Austria, International Poetry Festival, Rotterdam, Netherland, and the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy, D.C.

In 2003, he was invited to the White House to join the National Book Festival.

Internationally, Cook has worked with Deaf storytellers/poets in Northern Europe, Latvia Brazil, Israel, and Japan.

The Venue

Vijai Nathan

Storyteller, Comedian

Vijai Nathan is one of the leading Indian American female comedians making people laugh across America and internationally too. International comedy phenomenon Russell Peters calls her “One of the top two South Asian comics in the world to watch!”
She has performed in South Africa, England and Canada, and was featured at the Montreal International Comedy Festival (Just for Laughs) and the Smirnoff International Comedy Festival. Washington DC loves her too- she’s performed at the Smithsonian Museum, Kennedy Center, Constitution Hall, Library of Congress and won the award for Artistic Excellence from SpeakeasyDC.
She’s gained attention from critics from her solo-shows “Woman on Top: Tips from Mom, Dad & COSMO” & “Good Girls Don’t, But Indian Girls Do. ” Vijai grew up as a “foreigner” (or at least that's what everyone called her) in the suburbs of Washington D.C. where she was born. Her material comes from her experience as an Indian girl in America - raising two immigrant parents, dating boys with mothers who wished their sons could find a nice blonde girl named "Tiffany," and the universal quest for love, understanding and a good pair of undies.



Featured Teller

Featured Teller



Rev. Robert Jones

Storyteller, Pastor, Reverend, Musician

Rev. Robert Jones, Sr. is a native Detroiter and an inspirational storyteller and musician celebrating the history, humor and power of American Roots music. His deep love for traditional African American and American traditional music is shared in live performances that interweave timeless stories with original and traditional songs.

For more than thirty years Robert has entertained and educated audiences of all ages in schools, colleges, libraries, union halls, prisons, churches and civil rights organizations. At the heart of his message is the belief that our cultural diversity tells a story that should celebrate, not just tolerate

Acclaimed photographer James Fraher writes about Robert: “Perhaps the world’s most highly educated blues musician, an ordained minister, a longtime DJ, and a living encyclopedia of blues history, the Reverend Robert Jones is comfortable among juke joint loud talkers, fancy-hatted church ladies, and PhDs alike."   

Rev. Robert Jones makes his home in Detroit while performing throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. An award-winning multi-instrumentalist, he is accomplished at guitar, harmonica, mandolin, banjo and fiddle. He has recorded six albums of original and traditional songs. Robert is the former host of the award-winning radio programs “Blues from the Lowlands” and “Deep River” broadcast on Detroit Public Radio’s WDET-FM Detroit. And he has taught music history courses at Wayne State University in Detroit.As an ordained minister and a Baptist pastor, he has an unwavering faith the cultural importance of sacred and traditional American roots music. In addition to his solo performances, he often collaborates musically with his wife, Sister Bernice Jones, singer-songwriter Matt Watroba and poet-performer M.L. Liebler. 

In 2017 Robert and Matt Watroba co-founded “Common Chords”, 501.c3 educational organization designed to create community, cultural and historical connections through music and the arts.   In 2018 Robert received a Kresge Arts Fellowship for Music Composition and Performance.





The Venues

Libbey Bowl - 210 S. Signal Street

Ojai Art Center - 113 S. Montgomery Street

Libbey Fountain - Ojai Avenue - Story Shop Boutique

Libbey Gazebo -  Ojai Avenue

Nestled near the rear of a beautiful grove in Libbey Park, Libbey Bowl has been described by artists and audience members alike as being an almost enchanted venue.

The mission of the Ojai Art Center since it opened in 1939, has been to support and advance the interest of the arts within the community. 

Libbey Park Fountain is the home of our Story Shop Boutique.

Youth Outreach Libbey.webp
Libbey fountain photo.jpeg
art center patio.webp


Sothebys logo.jpeg
CAC Logo-Black_RGB.jpeg
CAC school logo.jpeg
Smith-Hobson Logo.jpeg
Ojaiact logo.jpeg
CA solar elec logo.jpeg
CAC logo license plate.png
city of ojai.jpeg
Contact Us
bottom of page