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12th Annual Storytelling Festival: Art of the Story at Washington County Libraries

MEDIA RELEASE - For immediate release
Date: March 14, 2016

Contact: Jodi Nielsen, Senior Program Educator

12th Annual Storytelling Festival: Art of the Story at Washington County Libraries
April 2 – 9, 2016

Washington County, Oregon: The Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) hosts the 12th Annual Storytelling Festival — Art of the Story April 2 - 9. This year the festival will feature five professional storytellers: Kevin Kling (Minneapolis, MN), Patrick Ball (San Francisco, CA), Tom Swearingen (Tualatin, OR), Amy Theberge (Portland, OR) and Val Mallinson (Beaverton, OR) and four Story Slam contestants: Steve Taylor, Warren McPherson, Frances Hunter, Chuck McConnell.

Admission is free and all festival performances are designed for the enjoyment of adults. Several shows, where noted, will also welcome children ages 6 and up. The week-long storytelling extravaganza features twelve storytelling performances at the WCCLS member libraries, the Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center, Sherwood Center for the Arts and Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. 

On Saturday, April 2 the festival kicks-off with the 2nd annual festival Story Slam Contest hosted by the Beaverton City Library. Audience members will be invited to cast their vote to determine which Slam teller proceeds to tell at the Festival Finale showcase of storytellers.

The Finale, on the evening of Saturday, April 9th, will be hosted by the Garden Home Community Library in the THPRD Garden Home Recreation Center. The showcase will feature performances by Theberge, Swearingen, Ball, Kling, plus the winner of the Story Slam Contest. A reception precedes the showcase performance offering complimentary beverages and hors d’oeuvres. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The 12th annual Art of the Story Festival is supported in part by grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, each of the local Friends of the WCCLS member libraries hosting a festival event, Recology, the Law offices of R.B. Schneider, LLC and the Portland Storytellers’ Guild. Generous in-kind services have been provided by Pamplin MediaGroup, the Garden Home Community Library Association, Courtyard by Marriott, Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, the Glenn and Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center and Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District.

2016 Storytelling Festival Events (

Directions to the performance venues and additional festival details are available on the festival webpage or pick up a festival newsletter at a local WCCLS member library.

A high resolution picture and biography for each storyteller is available by request:  

Saturday, April 2

Beaverton Library: 7 – 8:30 p.m.       

Story Slam Contest: Festival Kick-off (Adult focus)

A Story Slam Contest is a competition within a set time limit placing emphasis on a storytellers content and performance. This contest features Steve Taylor, Warren McPherson, Frances Hunter, Chuck McConnell. Each story must be an original work. First person, real life adventures are expected. This Slam is judged by the audience. The winner receives a cash prize and the opportunity to tell a story at the Festival Finale.

Monday, April 4

West Slope Library: 6:30 pm 

It Happened Out West: Tom Swearingen (Adults & ages 6+)

(at Raleigh Park Elementary School, 3670 SW 78th Avenue, Portland 97225)

A cowboy poet’s reflections and observations (and maybe a fabrication or two) spurred by people, places, and ponies encountered in the American West.

Tuesday, April 5

Hillsboro Library: 7 pm

Horsin’ Around: Tom Swearingen (Adult focus)

(at Walters Cultural Arts Center, 527 East Main Street, Hillsboro 97123)

Things seen, heard, and experienced while in the saddle provides plenty of material for these stories told in the rhythm and rhyme of cowboy poetry.   

Wednesday, April 6

Forest Grove Library: 7 pm

The Fine Beauty of the Island: Patrick Ball (Adult focus)

A musical journey to the legendary Blasket Islands in County Kerry, Ireland in search of the origin and meaning of a mystical Irish melody.

Wednesday, April 6

Sherwood Library: 7 pm

Chicken Soup for the Chicken: Kevin Kling (Adult focus)

(at Sherwood Center for the Arts, 22689 SW Pine Street, 97140)

People have always used stories to cope with an unpredictable world. We give our lives meaning through our challenges and these experiences often make the most powerful stories.  When dealing with loss I also find that humor can be the best way to connect with each other.

Thursday, April 7

Banks Library: 7 pm

Holiday Inn: Kevin Kling (Adults & ages 6+)

(at Banks City Hall, 13690 NW Main Street, Banks 97106)

Humorous and heartfelt stories from holidays, including Halloween, Christmas, Mother's Day and Fourth of July. Stir in a few Uncles and aunts, a pesky brother, nuns and a squirrel monkey and you've got the perfect recipe for disaster and redemption.

Thursday, April 7

Tualatin Library: 7 pm

Amy Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Amy Theberge (Adult focus)

My 15-minutes of Fame: Val Mallinson (Adult focus)

Theberge: Curious tales about how I survived childhood, summer camp, college and everything in between with a large cheerleading section of lunatics.

Mallinson: True tales of wonder and woe from my glamorous, fast-paced life as an advertising copywriter.

Friday, April 8

Cedar Mill Library: 6:30 pm

The Wit and Wonder of Irish Storytelling: Patrick Ball (Adults & ages 6+)

With his legendary, brass strung Celtic harp Patrick tells the tales that made the Irish oral tradition celebrated throughout the ages. 

Friday, April 8

North Plains Library: 7 pm

Walkin’ Shoes: Kevin Kling (Adult focus)

(at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, 12930 NW Old Pumpkin Ridge Rd, 97133)

Buses, cars, boxcars, planes, boats, and feet are a few of the ways we traverse this amazing planet. Hit the road for adventure, daring escapes and a love affair with landscape. 'There's the trip you plan and then there's the trip you take'. These stories from the road are why "I’ve learned to kindly rely on the strangeness of others."

Saturday, April 9 (Adult focus)

Aloha Library: 11 am

Amy Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Amy Theberge (Adult focus)

Daring Dachshund Adventure Tales!: Val Mallinson (Adult focus)

(at Aloha Library Annex, 17455 SW Farmington Rd., Suite 26A, 97078)

Theberge: Curious tales about how I survived childhood, summer camp, college and everything in between with a large cheerleading section of lunatics.

Mallinson: Val tells totally true stories about living and traveling with her silly little ‘hot dog’ dogs. Happy Tails and Happy Trails!

Saturday, April 9

Garden Home Library: 6:30 – 9 p.m.

Festival Reception & Finale (Adult focus)

(at THPRD Garden Home Recreation Center, 7475 SW Oleson Rd, Portland 97223)

6:30 – 7 pm     Storytelling Reception

7 – 9 pm          Showcase of Festival Storytellers (Adult focus): 

Opening Story: Story Slam Winner

Oops I Did it Again: Amy Theberge: A cautionary tale about how it's hard to keep friends if you cut off their fingers, or your own.

Rhyme ‘Em Cowboy! Tom Swearingen: Tales from a Poet Lariat.

The Auld Tales of Ireland: Patrick Ball: "When little birds made their nests in old men's beards."

Lost and Found: Kevin Kling: - Born with a congenital disability with his left arm and losing the use of his right arm in a motorcycle accident, Kevin has found humor and healing through stories. Using humor, myth and personal tales he explores how we find ourselves through our losses. Oh yeah, and it’s really funny.

Call 503-846-3222 no less than 3 business days prior to a festival event to schedule assistive listening devices or sign language interpreters.


The Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) includes: Banks Public Library, Beaverton City Library, Beaverton City Library @ Murray Scholls, Cedar Mill Community Library, Cedar Mill Community Library @ Bethany, Cornelius Public Library, Forest Grove City Library, Garden Home Community Library, Hillsboro Public Libraries (Main and Shute Park), North Plains Public Library, Sherwood Public Library, Tigard Public Library, Tualatin Public Library, and West Slope Community Library. Two specialty libraries are also a part of the Cooperatives library card service — the Oregon College of Art & Craft and the Tuality Health Education Resource Center.