Connie Regan-Blake will be giving two storytelling “concerts” in Shepherdstown, West Virginia as part of the Speak Stories Series.
In early 2013, a few friends sat around a red wooden table chatting about art in the community. “I wonder if we could get people to come to a storytelling event in Shepherdstown?”
Would anyone show up? Would tellers want to come to West Virginia? Would an anti-festival model work?
Calls were made to story artists, tickets were printed, fliers posted, and the community showed up to listen and to work. Over time, the series grew.
In the course of nine seasons, Speak has presented sixty-eight storytellers (sharing stories in sixteen languages) in over eighty concerts for adults, provided dozens of school and community-outreach shows, crowned two youth tellers as story champions, and worked together with over a dozen local organizations. During the fifth season, we moved from our loving original home in the Shepherdstown Community Club across the street to Reynolds Hall, a larger venue with sloped seating for better visibility. We became a program of Shepherd University under the Appalachian Studies Program, and a volunteer community committee began to steer Speak into its future. In our eighth season we faced new challenges relating to the coronavirus pandemic, but we rededicated ourselves to presenting quality storytelling programming to the world. We moved out of our home at the Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities and have become our own 501c3 nonprofit organization. Our ninth season was presented entirely online and our audience grew to include people from three continents around the world. Join us as we continue to grow!