Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

October 11, 2012

Annual storytelling festival kicks off with Friday matinee


CROSSVILLE — The Performing Arts Alliance of Rural Tennessee (PAART) proudly presents the fourth annual Cumberland Mountain Storytelling Festival Friday and Saturday at the Palace Theatre at 72 S. Main Street in Crossville. This year’s theme is humor, and each storyteller will bring out their most humorous tales to keep you laughing.

The Friday Matinee at noon is hosted by well-known humorist Sam Venable of the Knoxville News-Sentinel and features the Edu-tellers (Betty and Mike Roe) of Crossville with stories of early Cumberland County that are even funnier because they are true. Pam Petty of Carthage will keep you laughing with her side-splitting true tales. The matinee will be topped off with stories by members of the Cumberland Mountain Storytelling Guild. 

On Friday evening, Suzie Randelman of the Art Circle Public Library and her duck Quackers will open the show at 7 p.m. Sam Venable will emcee this performance as well and has his own stories to keep you laughing. The Edu-tellers (Betty and Mike Roe) have more funny local tales to tell, and Pam Petty returns with more hilarious stories.  Sheila Kay Adams may pop in with a teaser for her performance on Saturday evening.

Saturday evening begins at 6 p.m. at the Palace when members of the Cumberland Mountain Storytelling Guild are showcased with their own personal stories.

As promised, at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening, Sheila Kay Adams will bring her five-string banjo and funniest tales to the Palace Theatre. Growing up in the small mountain community of Sodom, NC, where everyone was kin and everyone sang and played an instrument, she learned the old traditional ballads from her aunts and grandmothers.  She has released several CDs showcasing her award winning accomplishments on the five-string banjo. Her talent at storytelling led her to another career in writing novels based on her childhood and the community in which she grew up. 

In 1998, Sheila was chosen to receive the prestigious North Carolina Folklore Society’s Brown-Hudson Award in recognition of her valuable contributions to the study of North Carolina folklore. She served as vocal coach in the 2000 movie "Songcatcher," a fictional story about collecting the old ballads in the area in the early 1900s.  In 1975, Adams graduated from Mars Hill College.  In 2003, Adams was named Alumna of the Year, and later received a LifeWorks recognition in appreciation for her shared commitment to service and responsibility, presented at the college's LifeWorks 150 Alumni Celebration in April 2007.  After teaching in the North Carolina public schools for 17 years, Adams now devotes her attention full-time to music and storytelling.

On Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., Sheila Kay Adams will hold a free storytelling workshop for adults and teens at the 5th Street Marketplace Café at the corner of West Avenue and 5th Street. Coffee, tea and desserts will be available for purchase during the workshop. 

Tickets for Palace performances can be purchased by calling the Palace Theatre at 931-484-6133 or online at Just click on the event you want to attend to purchase your tickets. Tickets for the Friday Matinee are $7 for adults and $1 for students (teachers are admitted free with student groups). Tickets for both evening performance are $12 for adults and $7 for students.

The Cumberland Mountain Storytelling Festival is made possible by the support of sponsors, Cumberland Eye Care and Dr. Stewart Galloway, the 5th Street Marketplace Café, Cumberland County Bank, Bilbrey’s Funeral Home, Big Boys Barbeque, and Gwin Realty.  Support also comes from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.