Oldest Bay Area Storytelling Festival Returns to Orinda Community Center

(Courtesy of Bay Area Storytelling Festival)
The Bay Area Storytelling Festival returns to the Orinda Community Center, April 16 at 10 a.m.

    The multicultural and internationally renowned Bay Area Storytelling Festival brings storytelling back to the Bay Area at the Orinda Community Center, Saturday, April 16, starting at 9:30 a.m.
    Jointly sponsored by Bay Area-based arts organizations Storytelling Association of California (SAC) and Six Feet Apart Productions (SFAP), the festival will be in-person with a virtual component.
    It’s the West Coast’s oldest storytelling festival, with a history of over 30 years; the 2022 celebration features five award-winning, internationally celebrated professional storytellers to include historic character interpreter and imaginator, Sheila Arnold from Hampton, VA.
    Featured tellers also include Bay Area artists Grammy nominee Diane Ferlatte, (accompanied on guitar and banjo by recording artist, Erik Pearson), movement performance duo Eth-Noh-Tec (Nancy Wang and Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo), musician and spoken word artist Willy Claflin and improv expert and host of The Moth, Corey Rosen.
    The full day festival offers three storytelling concerts, an interactive panel with the featured storytellers, a workshop led by Sheila Arnold and Corey Rosen and an open mic story swap.
    Festival Committee Member and Chair of the festival for 30 years, Linda Yemoto, said she’s excited to be a part of the team to bring the Bay Area Storytelling Festival back to the Bay Area.
    “It was so popular and after two years of storytelling being mostly virtual, I feel people really miss the community and camaraderie of live storytelling,” said Yemoto.
    SAC is a non-profit and is actively looking to partner with story-minded organizations and community members to support this Bay Area tradition.
    Sara Armstrong, SAC chair, said there are many opportunities for event sponsors, starting at $75, with benefits to include advertising on publicity materials, complimentary tickets, swag, shout-outs and more.
    Those interested in joining the festival can email bayareastoryfest@gmail.com.
    Online storytelling production company, SFAP, who has produced over 50 virtual shows and festivals – will handle the online portion of the festival.
    SFAP Founder and Co-Producer, Regina Stoops, believe stories build community and connection.
    “Although the virtual world has opened many doors and widened our network of storytellers, there is nothing so wonderful as being in the same room with other people,” said Stoops.
    The festival’s youngest committee member, Velvella Weiss, is happy the festival is returning to the Bay Area.
    “We offer scholarships, plus special pricing to anyone 30 and under, to welcome both young artists and newcomers to the art of storytelling,” she said.
    The festival will follow the Contra Costa guidelines regarding COVID-19 safety and precautions.
    For more information, visit https://www.bayareastorytelling.org/. To partner or become a festival sponsor, visit https://bit.ly/3tekBWk and to purchase tickets, visit https://tinyurl.com/BASFReturns.

Claire Hennessy can be reached at bayareastoryfest@gmail.com.

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