Portland Storytellers’ Guild Monthly Showcase
Stories are how we make meaning of our lives and our world. They make us laugh, think–and teach us how to be human. When the pace of change accelerates absurdly and our definition of “community” seems to change with every headline, stories can ground us and help us remember who we are.
The Portland Storytellers’ Guild preserves the ancient tradition of oral storytelling in the modern world by creating a space where teller and listener sit down and together, recreate the stories of our common humanity. Like all living things, stories come to life when they are nurtured by being told, heard and savored.
For 25 years, the Portland Storytellers’ Guild has been introducing people of the Pacific Northwest to the joy and power of stories in person, face to face. Old stories that may have been committed to print long ago breathe and move and sing again. New stories find their way from our lives into our tales. It is said that to be human is to have a story to tell. That is what the Portland Storytellers’ Guild is all about.
We invite you experience this magic at one of our monthly performances, now at the Historic Clinton Street Theater!
A trio of transplanted New Yorkers share stories about pivotal times in their lives in “Game Changers: Remembering Moments That Matter,” the monthly Portland Storytellers Guild show Saturday evening, December 7 at the Clinton Street Theater.
The three Big Apple expatriates, Maura Doherty, Edward Hershey and Pearl Steinberg, are happy to call Portland home now and accomplished storytellers with a range of recollections that span the continent.
Doors open at 7 and the stories start to flow at 7:30.
Maura Doherty told her first story when she was 5. “A man jumped out the window and broke his leg.” Her audience included her younger sister Jo Anne next to her on the floor of their father’s 1946 Plymouth sedan, four siblings in the back seat and baby Peter on Mom’s lap in the front seat. Jo Anne gasped and Dad called out from behind the steering wheel, “What man? Where did this happen?” From that moment Maura was hooked on storytelling. She has performed for The Moth PDX and BackFence PDX as well as the Guild. Her one-woman show, “The Pot Luck,” recalls three people important in her life. Her stories take us from the Bronx to inside the walls of a convent to Tennessee, California and Oregon.
Edward Hershey draws stories from his varied career as a sportswriter, news reporter, author, teacher, government official, college publicist and union activist that includes stints as an antiques columnist and Shakespearean theater president in Maine, city alderman and basketball announcer in Ithaca, N.Y., and, for 43 years, a mainstay of the prestigious George Polk Awards for investigative journalism. He has written books on baseball and police hostage negotiation. He and his wife Leah, a retired teacher education administrator and highly accomplished hand weaver, set out for the Left Coast in 2005 and have never looked back. His memoir, “The Scorekeeper,” was a finalist for the 2018 Oregon Book Award.
As a child, Pearl Steinberg loved telling stories. Her father was her first mentor — he was an outstanding teller of tales. His facial expressions and voice changes brought his stories †o life no matter what person or monster he depicted. When he was away from home it fell to Pearl to tell bedtime
Stories to her brothers – a job she relished. Her first professional teacher, nationally revered storytellers Elizabeth Ellis, gave her an awesome start to her own venture into the professional storytelling. Prior to that Pearl was an adjunct instructor at New York University and Hofstra University for over 50 years, twice receiving Hofstra’s Continuing Education Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Storytellers “Leap Into The New” Jan. 4 at Clinton St. Theater
Have you ever tried something new even if it meant risk a leap into the unknown? Or do you always look before you leap?
Mike Devenney, Kitty Kaping, Kriya Kaping and Anne Penfound count themselves among the risk-takers — and they are ready to tell you about some of their adventures Saturday evening, January 4 at the Clinton Street Theater in “Leap Into the New,” the first Portland Storytellers Guild show of the new year. They will share true tales of how a jump, a dive into the depths, a passport to a new world and a misstep led to life-altering experiences.
Doors open at 7 and the stories start at 7:30.
Mike Devenney was raised in an Irish Catholic family so by default he is a storyteller. He sees life as the ongoing creation of stories. He starts each New Year by first remembering the stories that have nurtured his heart with love and care. From there he strives to live a story that makes a positive difference in the lives of others.
Kitty Kaping comes from a family of storytellers. She learned about the power of personal stories from her father, who could captivate a room with stories from the heart, and nurtured her love of storytelling in travels and adventures abroad. She sets many of her stories to folk ballads she calls story songs and has written and produced two historical musicals. She’s excited to tell a story about leaping into a new world with her daughter Kriya.
Kriya Kaping has a passion for personal narrative and has performed from coast to coast. She uses her love of storytelling as a training and education specialist to support individuals and organizations in sharing the stories that strengthen community ties. Over the years, she might have taken her family motto – “If it doesn’t kill you it makes for a good story” — too much to heart, but luckily has enough adventures to keep her in a wealth of material for years to come.
Anne Penfound believes stories weave magic and bring joy to life. Twenty years ago she began a journey exploring and telling stories. Folktales came first and then, after a few years, personal narrative. Anne’s ability to exaggerate, surprise her audience and laugh at herself opened up a whole new story adventure. As years roll on, more memories have bubbled to the surface, imperfect snippets waiting to be crafted and told. www.annepenfound.com
Once in a blue moon, the expression goes, an event may send us careening off in unanticipated directions. And who better to chart such surprising courses than four of Portland’s best storytellers?
Join Barbara Fankhauser, Mike Goss, Anne-Louise Sterry and John Wylder for “Once in a Blue Moon,” Saturday evening, February 1, at the Clinton Street Theater as they explore the unexpected. How do they change gears? Reframe? Survive? How would you?
One thing we have come to expect from a Portland Storytellers Guild performance— an engrossing and entertaining evening — is surely in the offing.
Doors open at 7 and the show starts at 7:30.
One blue-moon moment for Barb Fankhauser was the day she connected with the Portland Storytellers Guild and found a world of people who shared her love of stories. While she embraces tales from all traditions, it is the great Norse epics of her ancestors, mid-life and elder tales, and personal stories that she loves best — tales that carry the wisdom to guide us through life with wit, grace and insight.
For Mike Goss the moment came when he realized storytelling could the world a better place. Such opportunities that have appeared many times in his life, including traffic court, where he convinced the judge to take $100 off a speeding ticket, and in leadership roles when Mike used stories to paint the big picture that his team embraced.
As a storyteller, songwriter and performing artist. Anne-Louise Sterry is always on the lookout for the excitement of totally unexpected events, especially when they provoke laughter and delight she can share through music and stories. Unfailingly positive and empowering, Anne-Louise never fails to bring energy and authenticity to her audiences worldwide.
While he enjoys a sense of order and certainty, John Wylder is always ready to take a leap into the unknown — like the day his instructor in a class on writing memoir said, “You should try storytelling instead of story writing.” The rest, as they say, is history. John tells personal stories of life, love and family with a sense of warmth and humor.