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Current Events!

Second Sunday of every month, story swap, sam's place, Ojai

Next Story Swap:

 July th, 7pm at Sam's Place, Ojai

July Theme: Close Calls!

Be a part of the story...

2024 Ojai Storytelling Festival!

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Introducing next year's lineup!

October 24-27, 2024

SOME OF THE BEST TELLERS IN THE COUNTRY

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Motoko
Mo-Reynolds

OCTOBER

24-27

2024

OJAI, CALIFORNIA

LIBBEY BOWL

OJAI ART CENTER

Performances to Grow On & the Ojai Storytelling Festival are committed to fostering a vibrant and inclusive environment that celebrates diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our programming and operations.

At Performances to Grow On , we are dedicated to creating a space where people of all races, ethnicities, abilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds can experience the joy and transformative power of the performing arts.  We offer scholarships, sensory-friendly performances, and diverse programming to ensure that everyone feels welcome and included. 

The Tellers-Bios Coming Soon!

2024

Master of Ceremonies

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Andy Offut Irwin

Master of Ceremonies, Storyteller

With a silly putty voice, hilarious heart-filled stories, and amazing mouth noises (arguably, the greatest whistler in the world) one-person-showman, Andy Offutt Irwin, is equal parts mischievous schoolboy and the Marx Brothers, peppered with a touch of the Southern balladeer. 

October of 2023 marked Andy’s eleventh year as a Featured Teller at the National Storytelling Festival. He has appeared eighteen times as Teller in Residence at the International Storytelling Center. Among other gigs, Andy has been a Guest Artist at La Guardia High School of Art, Music, and Performing Arts in New York (The “FAME!” School); he has been a Keynote Speaker/Performer at the Library of Congress-Virburnum Foundation Conference on Family Literacy; a Guest Writer Performer with the Georgia Tech Glee Club; and a guest composer with the Amherst College Men’s Double Quartet.

Andy has held a few almost-real-jobs that include: Artist-In-Residence in Theatre at Emory University’s Oxford College from 1991 to 2007. (He continues serving at Oxford from time-to-time as Artist-in-Just-Passing-Through). A very long time ago Andy spent five years as a performer, writer, and director for SAK Theatre at Walt Disney World.

Andy is the recipient of many awards, but he is tickled to be recognized by his peers by being presented the Oracle Circle of Excellence from the National Storytelling Network.

He thinks he is funny.

Bil Lepp

Storyteller, Author

Bil Lepp is an award-winning storyteller, author, and recording artist. He’s the host of the History Channel’s Man Vs History series, the occasional host of NPR’s internationally syndicated Mountain Stage, and a contributing columnist to the West Virginia Gazette-Mail.​

Bil’s humorous, family-friendly tall-tales and stories have earned the appreciation of listeners of all ages and from all walks of life. Though a five-time champion of the WV Liars’s Contest, Lepp’s stories often contain morsels of truth which present universal themes in clever and witty ways. Audiences across the country, from grade schools to corporate execs to Comedy Central’s Hudson stage, have been delighted by Bil’s hilarious tales and delightful insights into everyday life. 

Bil’s 28 books and audio collections have won awards including the PEN Steven Kroll Award for Children’s Book Writing, Parents’ Choice Gold awards, and awards from the National Parenting Publications Assoc., and the Public Library Association.

He is also the recipient of the Vandalia Award, West Virginia’s highest folk honor.

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2024

Featured Teller

2024

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Featured Teller

Motoko

Storyteller

The recipient of the National Storytelling Network’s 2017 Circle of Excellence Award, Motoko enchants audiences of every age with Asian folktales, Rakugo and Zen tales, ghost stories, mime vignettes, as well as oral memoirs from her childhood in Osaka and her life as an immigrant in the U.S. Motoko has appeared on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and has been featured in festivals and theaters across the U.S. Storytelling has taken her to China, Japan, Senegal, and the U.A.E. Her story recordings won a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award, a Storytelling World Award, and a National Parenting Publications Award. This is Motoko’s 4th appearance at the Ojai Storytelling Festival, and she is honored and thrilled!

Don White

Storyteller-First time at OjaiStoryFest!

Don White is a multifaceted storyteller, musician, and comedian who has been entertaining audiences for decades. His work masterfully blends laughter and tears, drawing from a rich tapestry of personal experiences, keen observations, and a deep love of traditional storytelling. White's performances are a vibrant mix of music, comedy, and heartwarming tales. He has released multiple albums, DVDs, and even a book titled "Memoirs of a C Student," showcasing his versatility and talent.

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2024

Featured Teller

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2024

Featured Teller

Diane Ferlatte

Storyteller

As a youngster, Diane Ferlatte was steeped in the oral tradition. Her early childhood years in Louisiana were spent on her grandparent's porch with family and neighbors swapping stories, lies, and tales.  She fondly recalls fishing in the bayou, making hoecake bread, and listening to her raconteur father tell the family’s news, history, and all the old antebellum tales that had been passed down to him. It was there that she first heard the stories of Brer Rabbit, High John the Conqueror, and other tales of the African American slave era for which she is now so well known. 

Diane has received numerous honors including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award, the National Association of Black Storytellers' Zora Neale Hurston Award, The Friends of Negro Spirituals Heritage Keepers Award, as well as the California Arts Council’s highest ranking. In addition to receiving a 2008 Grammy nomination, all of her recordings have received other awards including multiple Parents’ Choice, American Library Association, National Parenting Publications, iParenting Media, Children's Music Web, and Storytelling World Awards.

Tellers

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 Bowl Ojai Storytelling Festival
Libbey Park Fountain Story Shop Boutique
Ojai Art Center Ojai Storytelling Festival Venue

Kim Weitkamp

Storyteller, Musician

Kim Weitkamp grew up in Amish Country as the middle child of exhausted parents. Labeled by teachers as high-spirited and too talkative, Kim took those comments and channeled them into a lifetime of high-energy, heartfelt and hilarious artistry and we are better for it. 
She is an award-winning storyteller, speaker, singer-songwriter and humorist. After using applied storytelling in her work with adjudicated and at-risk youth for 12 years, Kim took a turn onto a different avenue that led her down the path of full-time touring for the last 17 years where she gathered an armload of awards.
Kim performs regularly at festivals and theaters around the country, has written a well-received folk operetta and has been a guest editor and contributor for various publications.  Her material gets regular airplay on Sirius XM and NPR Affiliate Stations. Steve Perry of Highway 89, Sirius XM had this to say, “If we are talking rock and roll, Tina Turner was a national treasure; country has Dolly Parton and in the world of storytelling, we have Kim Weitkamp."

She has 9 award winning albums, has produced and/or designed 32 albums for other performers and has hosted a DOVE Award winning morning show a tri-state radio network. She has been honored with leadership and speaking awards for her coaching/speaking work with internationally known companies like Purina, Leibherr, Grifols, and Edward Jones as well as nationally recognized non-profits like, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity and Conflict Resolution Centers.  She is ranked as one of the top 20 business coaches in the Columbus, Ohio region by Influence Digest, teaching the power of story to help  grow organizations and build teams.  
There...now you know all of the hoopla. But what is it that really matters to Kim?  I asked her:
"Story is at the foundation of all I do. Whether I am making an audience laugh, writing a new song or presenting a keynote, story is the springboard for each and every step I take.  I share and teach the art of storytelling with great intention. Why? Because I have witnessed, firsthand, its incredible power."

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2024

Featured Teller

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2024

Featured Teller

Mo Reynolds

New Voice

Mo is a storyteller, speaker, reader, workshop leader, teacher, and wordsmith who uses storytelling to bring people together and create connections. She blends folk tales with family tales, helping audiences of all ages to see the common threads that unite humanity. Mo has performed and led workshops in schools and festivals around the country, sharing her stories in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee. In October 2022, she was invited to perform at the National Storytelling Festival on the Exchange Place stage. In 2023, she was invited back to the National Festival as a Featured Teller. She was also featured at the Women's Storytelling Festival in Fairfax, VA, and the Kansas Storytelling Festival in Downs, KS.

Mo's storytelling invites connection, inspires confidence, and encourages compassion. She believes that storytelling is a powerful tool that can be used to build empathy, understanding, and community. She offers coaching sessions to help people develop their storytelling skills, whether they are preparing for a performance, a business presentation, or simply want to connect with others more effectively.

Mo holds a B.A. and M.A. in English literature, and she is the mother of three children. She lives with her family in Rexburg, Idaho, and she is always looking for new opportunities to share her love of storytelling with others.

Oh, and she’ll bring the bandanas!
 

Musical Acts ~ More to Come!

Ojai Madrigali

Sunday, October 29th, 10:30am Ojai Art Center

Madrigali is a group of musical performers singing traditional Renaissance and medieval music — a cappella madrigals, folk songs, ballads, chants and carols, almost all of it written prior to 1650. Madrigali seeks to bring this once wildly popular music back to life, not in some stuffy academic setting, but full of spirit, color, drama, and emotion — romantic, fanciful, bawdy, joyous.

Madrigali performs throughout the year, generally in and around Southern California but they have also traveled to and performed in Spain, Italy, and The Czech Republic. The group sings at numerous outdoor fairs, including the huge Southern and Northern California Renaissance Faires. Madrigali also performs regularly at private functions such as fund raisers, weddings, and Yuletide parties.

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2024

Musical Guest

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2024

Musical Guest

The Salty Suites

Thursday, October 24th, 6pm Libbey Bowl

The Salty Suites played their first show together in a high security prison for the criminally insane.  Thirteen years, four independently released albums, & a global pandemic later, we are happy to report that we have managed to remain a close-knit dysfunctional family of misfits.  We have had the pleasure of performing countless shows at many incredible venues up and down the California coast, and we have built a loyal following of adoring fans that we are proud to call friends.  

Speaking of friends, our mamas always told us to make new friends and keep the old. We are pleased to report that Scott has been on tour with AJ Lee and Blue Summit. In his stead we have appointed a longtime friend of the band, Mark Cassidy, to gift us with his great talent on the banjo. Mark comes with a long list of accolades, including his leading role in the Hillbenders, whose recent engagements include opening for Keller Williams and touring the US performing their original act “Who Grass”, a chronological journal of The Who’s legendary catalog, highlighted by bluegrass instrumentation. We are very stoked to introduce you to Mark at our upcoming shows!

The Venue

Get in Touch

(805)272-0072

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SUPPORTING ONE OF OJAI'S
MOST BELOVED ANNUAL EVENTS 

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