2022 Ojai Storytelling Festival!

We are very excited to announce our 2022 lineup!

October 27-30, 2022

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October 27-30

OJAI, CALIFORNIA

The Tellers

SOME OF THE BEST TELLERS IN THE COUNTRY

2022

Master of Ceremonies

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Sheila Arnold

Master of Ceremonies, Storyteller

Sheila Arnold has been a full-time Storyteller for seventeen years, traveling through the United States and sharing a variety of stories - “whatever fits in her mouth”, as well as doing Historic Character Presentations and Christian Monologues. At her core, Ms. Sheila, as she is commonly called, is a Professional Imaginator with a passion, vision and ministry of healing hearts, unifying communities and reminding people to share their stories. Through her company History's Alive!, Sheila has provided storytelling, character interpretation and professional development programs at schools, churches, libraries, professional organizations, museums and churches in 41 states since 2003. Sheila resides in Virginia and travels the US and internationally bringing her joyous spirit, deep knowledge and ready laugh to audiences everywhere.

 
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Niall de Burca

Storyteller

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.

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Mara Menzies

Storyteller

Mara Menzies is an award winning performance storyteller whose dynamic, colorful style brings this ancient art form to life.

She has been invited to share stories in 27 countries with her latest production, ‘Blood and Gold’ exploring the legacy of colonialism and slavery through myth, legend and fantasy. It premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 as part of the Made in Scotland showcase and was nominated for the CATS award 2020 and was one of 5 shows nominated for the Filipa Braganca award for best emerging solo female performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019, receiving rave reviews from top theatre critics.

Mara draws on her rich cultural heritage to create stories that explore our deepest fears, joys, loves, jealousies, passions and mysteries. She finds the truths about humanity in stories. She creates bespoke stories informing, inspiring and entertaining.

She is the founder of the Kwale Sculpture Park and Heritage Trail in Mbegani Village at the Kenyan coast, creating a heritage trail that demonstrates the beauty and richness of the local culture and stories alongside Mbegani Rising, a unique community development organization.

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Adam Booth

Storyteller

Adam Booth's original stories blend traditional mountain folklore, music, and an awareness of contemporary Appalachia. As a nationally touring artist his professional telling appearances include premiere storytelling events across the United States, such as the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, the International Storytelling Center, the National Storytelling Festival, the Appalachian Studies Association Conference, the National Storytelling Conference, the National Academy of Medicine, and as a Spoken Word Resident at the Banff Centre (Alberta, Canada). He is a member of the Recording Academy and his recordings have received a Parents’ Choice Gold Award, two Parents’ Choice Silver Honors, and four Storytelling World Awards and Honors. He is a four-time champion of the West Virginia Liars' Contest. Adam is the inaugural Storyteller-In-Residence at Shepherd University.

Merry Wives of Windsor

Musical Guest

The Merry Wives of Windsor is a ten-piece all-female folk band based in Pasadena, California. Blending elements of folk music from the British Isles and the Americas, the foundation of the Merry Wives' sound is rich vocal harmonies, with support and ornamentation by traditional and contemporary folk instruments. Our repertoire includes traditional Irish pieces and original compositions, and our performance styles range from bawdy scripted shows, to amplified concerts, to casual atmospheric music.

With musical backgrounds in everything from Folk to Musical Theater, and even straying to Pop and Opera, the Merry Wives present a relevant musical perspective, while still staying true to the spirit of the music they perform. These lovely and talented ladies have graced the stages of the El Rey Theater, the Grove of Anaheim, and The Galaxy Theatre, as well as Renaissance Faires across the country.

The Wives were founded in 2001 by Director Heather Greene. Heather had worked at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire many years, and had seen several bawdy male singing groups, but never a female version. She wanted to create a group of singing women that would be charming, inspiring, and empowering. Since it's inception, the Merry Wives have grown to include a past and current cast of 23 uniquely talented ladies. They have recorded nine studio albums.

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The Chelsea Williams Trio

Musical Guest

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Musical Guest

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The Sheriffs of Schroedingham

Musical Guest

The Sheriffs of Schroedingham (LA-based duo Ross Garren and John Schroeder) are the real life Sheriffs of the fictional town of Schroedingham. They spend most of their days getting cats out of trees, directing traffic and wearing down the barstools at the local saloon. Truth be told, they’re not much for law enforcement at all. With a nod to the great masters of American Folk Music, they would rather spin you a musical yarn about the fantastical world of Schroedingham. With an armory of strange stringed instruments and sundry harmonicas, the Sheriffs have been maintaining law and order in the musical wild west since 2012.

“Resolute loneliness has never sounded this desirable.” hails Rolling Stone.

Critically acclaimed independent musician Chelsea Williams released her latest record Beautiful and Strange in May of 2020. Rolling Stone wrote, “Her dreamy, glinting tunes anchored by introspective, heart-worn lyrics are a combination of Americana, indie-folk, and lush pop. They create a transcendent listening experience that will place the young singer-songwriter front and center among the preeminent performers of the day.” 

Whether Williams is the music industry’s best or worst kept secret is open to debate. Sure, she’s performed on The Today Show and has opened for big names such as the Avett Brothers Dwight Yoakam and Marc Cohn, and she’s even had a high-profile guest spot on a Maroon 5 video, dueting with Adam Levine on the group’s No. 1 smash “Daylight (Playing For Change).” You can catch her on the radio as well. She was recently featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered as well as on Chris Doritas’ NPR music show Eclectic 24. 

But the truly incredible part of the golden-voiced chanteuse’s story has taken place at Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, where she’s performed acoustically for the past few years. During her time busking on Third Street Williams managed to sell thousands of copies of her first three indie records. You definitely won’t want to miss Chelsea Williams.  

Chelsea is joined for this performance by harmonicist Ross Garren and guitarist/foot percussionist John Schroeder. John and Ross are in-demand instrumentalists and producers working with all sorts of artists from Ben Folds to Bon Iver to Frankie Valli.  They also moonlight as the crime-fighting, storytelling and music making duo the Sheriffs of Schroedingham.

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DAYS
TELLERS
ATTENDEES

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Deborah Newbold

Storyteller

Debs Newbold is an award winning theatre artist based in London and West Yorkshire. She is an actor, director, writer and performance storyteller working across a range of theatre forms, with a love of work that playfully explores performer-audience relationships. Debs creates powerful one woman shows, sometimes directs them, and tours them internationally. She frequently collaborates on other projects with artists and companies as a storyteller, actor, deviser, writer, or director. Winner of the Summerhall 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Award for Acting, twice voted one of the top five acts at the Towersey Festival (the only Spoken Word Artist in its fifty year history ever to achieve this), FUSE Playwright at  Leeds Playhouse, Associate Artist at Square Chapel and Storyteller and Education Consultant for Shakespeare’s Globe, Debs also makes a bloody good cup of tea.

Kevin Kling

Storyteller

Kevin Kling, best known for his popular commentaries on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and his storytelling stage shows like Tales from the Charred Underbelly of the Yule Log, delivers hilarious, often tender stories.  Kling’s autobiographical tales are as enchanting as they are true to life: 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 Kling 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. Since then, he has been awarded numerous arts grants and fellowships. The National Endowment for the Arts, The McKnight Foundation, The Minnesota State Arts Board, The Bush Foundation, The Jerome Foundation and others have recognized Kling’s artistry.  In 2014 Mayor RT Rybak named Kevin “Minneapolis Story Laureate”.

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Josh Goforth

Storyteller

Josh Goforth must have been born musical—he was already playing piano in church at the age of four—but it was a performance at Goforth's middle school by Sheila Kay Adams that caused him to start thinking about the musical heritage and stories of his native Madison County, NC lighting the fuse of his precocious musical career. Josh learned from local masters like Gordon and Arvil Freeman and Jerry Adams. Goforth is a highly accomplished storyteller and acoustic musician playing close to 20 different instruments. He attended East Tennessee State University to study music education with a Euphonium concentration, and to be a part of ETSU's famous Bluegrass and Country Music Program. In 2000, he played fiddle for the movie Songcatcher, both onscreen and on the soundtrack. He has toured with ETSU Bluegrass band,  David HoltLaura Boosinger, and several bluegrass bands like Appalachian Trail, the Josh Goforth Trio, the Steep Canyon Rangers, and Open Road.  He has performed in all 50 US states, and all over Europe, Asia, and Australia. In 2000, 2003, and 2005, he was named Fiddler of the Festival at Fiddler's Grove and, after winning the third title, was designated "Master Fiddler" and retired from that competition. He has performed at the Grand Ole Opry, the Lincoln Center, as well as Carnegie Hall.  In 2009 he was nominated for a Grammy for his album with David Holt entitled "Cutting Loose".  He currently is on faculty at the Academy for the Arts in Asheville.

The Venues

Libbey Bowl - 210 S. Signal Street

Ojai Art Center -113 S. Montgomery Street

Ojai House - 304 N Montgomery Street

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. One block North of Main Street is Ojai House, a true Ojai gem featuring an intimate venue and treasures from around the world. 

Our Sponsors

SUPPORTING ONE OF OJAI'S
MOST BELOVED ANNUAL EVENTS 

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