Celebrating the Art of Storytelling

Janet Webb, October 4, 2016

Cisco Guevara, Taos's favorite local storyteller
Cisco Guevara, Taos’s favorite local storyteller. Photo by Steve Fox.

Taos and Farmington have made October the month for telling stories in New Mexico. While the behemoth of all storytelling festivals is the National Storytelling Festival in Jonosborough, Tennessee (44-years-old in 2016), these two northern New Mexico communities also make a big splash with mostly-free, community-wide storytelling festivals every October.

IN TAOS, SOMOS, the Literary Society of Taos, is preparing to host the 17th annual Taos Storytelling Festival on October 7 and 8. Youth workshops, ­­­StorySwaps, and StorySlams will be held in the new SOMOS Salon on Civic Plaza Drive, just north of the historic Taos Plaza. The grand Big Stage event will be held just down the block at Taos Community Auditorium on Saturday evening. SOMOS arranges for a teller to visit Taos public schools to bring the craft of storytelling to students.

IN FARMINGTON the following weekend, October 14 and 15, Farmington Public Library hosts a city-wide festival called Four Corners Storytelling Festival, now in its 16th year. Two venues will present four headliners and many youth storytellers:

Totah Theatre is a Pueblo Deco-style movie theater built in 1948, now a thriving music and live theater venue. The Totah will host the evening performances for the festival.

Farmington Public Library will host workshops led by pros for aspiring storytellers on Friday.

Here are more details on each festival with links to learn more and videos by the tellers.

Taos Storytelling Festival – October 7-8 2016

Laura Simms
Elaine Muray
Cisco Guevara
James Nave, festival director

Schedule (all events are free except where noted):
1:00-3:00 pm: Storyteller Elaine Muray visits Taos Middle School for storytelling programs
3:30-5:30 pm: SOMOS StorySWAP hosted by Bob Kanegis
7:00-9:30 pm: SOMOS Invitational StorySLAM hosted by James Navé, ticketed

10:00-12:00 pm: Youth Storytelling Show with master storyteller Elaine Muray
12:45-3:15 pm: Myth And Memoir, adult storytelling workshop with Laura Simms, ticketed
3:30-5:00 pm: SOMOS StorySWAP hosted by Bob Kanegis
7:00-10:00 pm: Big Stage Show Featuring Laura Simms, Cisco Guevara, plus three StorySLAM winners and Festival Director James Navé, ticketed

Visit festival website for tickets and more details.

Find Taos visitor resources at TAOS.org.

Four Corners Storytelling Festival – October 14-15

Nancy Donoval
Beth Horner (see video)
Eldrena Douma
Andy Offutt Irwin

Schedule (all events are free):
Friday, October 14
10:00 am – Imagineering: Creating Stories Quickly with Eldrena
1:00 pm – Energizing Your Stories with Beth Horner
5:30 pm – Bedtime stories, with Beth Horner and Eldrena Douma – wear your jammies!
6:30 pm – Ghost Stories, with Beth Horner, Eldrena Douma, Nancy Donoval, and Andy Offutt Irwin. Recommended for ages 13 and up

Saturday, October 15
10:00 am – Story Swap and Brunch – Trade your favorite stories over brunch!
1:00 pm – Nancy Donoval and Beth Horner
3:00 pm – Eldrena Douma and Andy Offutt Irwin
6:30 pm – Festival Finale with Andy Offutt Irwin, Nancy Donoval, Beth Horner, and Eldrena Douma

Events are free but reservations are required; see festival website.

Find Farmington visitor resources at FarmingtonNM.org

More about the art of storytelling

Storytellers of New Mexico – An organization that promotes, supports, and encourages the art, knowledge, and history of storytelling.

International Storytelling Center – An organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering people across the world to accomplish goals and make a difference by discovering, capturing, and sharing their stories. Host of the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough.

SOMOS, the Literary Society of Taos – Since 1983, supporting and nurturing the literary arts, both written and spoken, honoring cultural diversity in the Southwest.

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