2018 featured and regional storytellers

Featured storytellers

Peter Cook is an internationally renowned Deaf performing artist whose works incorporate American Sign Language, pantomime, storytelling, acting and movement. He has appeared in “Live from Off Center's Words on Mouth” and “United States of Poetry” (both PBS), produced by Emmy winner Bob Holman. In 1998, Cook set up PC Production, a video production company based in Chicago. Cook has been featured in such national festivals as the Jonesboro National Storytelling Festival, Oklahoma City Winter Tales, Illinois Storytelling Festival, Indiana Hoosier Storytelling Festival, Eugene, Oregon Multi-Cultural Festival and Deaf Way II. He has also appeared on the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and was invited to the White House to join the National Book Festival in 2003. Cook has worked with Deaf storytellers and poets in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Japan. He lives in Chicago and teaches in the ASL-English Interpretation Department at Columbia College, where he received the 1997 Excellence in Teaching award. pscookprod@aol.com.

Regi Carpenter has been bringing songs and stories to audiences of all ages throughout the world in school, theaters, libraries, festivals, conferences and in people’s backyards for more than 20 years. An award winning performer, Regi has presented solo shows and workshops in national and international theaters, festivals and schools. She is the youngest daughter of a family that pulsates with contradictions: religious and raucous, tender but terrible, unfortunate yet irrepressible. Her tales of family celebrate the glorious and gut-wrenching lives of four generations of Carpenters raised on the Saint Lawrence River in Clayton, N. Y. Tales of underwater tea parties, drowning lessons and drives to the dump give voice to multi-generations of family life in a small river town with an undercurrent. 607-280-1013, regi@regicarpenter.com.

Bobby Norfolk is a master storyteller. His extensive experience includes professional theater and television, an accumulation of 23 years in the performing arts. His distinctive voice immediately captures the listener’s attention, and his imaginative stories produce visual images in the minds of his audience. “I didn’t seek storytelling, it sought me,” he says. He is like an adventure story come to life. Norfolk was a featured storyteller at the St. Louis Storytelling Festival in 1989 and 1999. In October 2009, he received the National Circle of Excellence Oracle Award presented by the National Storytelling Network. 314-968-2606, jdolan9928@aol.com.

Gayle Ross is a descendent of John Ross, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation during and after the infamous Trail of Tears of the late 1830s. Her grandmother told stories, and Gayle’s storytelling springs from this rich heritage. During the past 20 years, she has become one of the most respected storytellers to emerge from the current surge of interest in this timeless art form. She has appeared at most major storytelling and folk festivals in the United States and Canada and in concert halls and theaters throughout the U.S. and Europe, often with some of today’s finest Native American musicians and dancers. The National Council for the Traditional Arts has included Gayle in two touring shows, “Master Storytellers” and the all-Indian “From the Plains to the Pueblos.” She was invited by Vice President Al Gore to perform “A Taste of Tennessee” at a gala at his residence, and was the only Native American speaker chosen by the White House to appear in America’s Millennium on the Mall celebration in Washington, D.C. gayleross81@hotmail.com.

Alton Chung performs at storytelling festivals internationally, sharing stories and legends from Hawaii and spreading aloha. He also tells stories from the Hawaiian Monarchy and Plantation Days as well as Asian folk tales from around the Pacific Rim. He is also passionate about sharing stories of the Japanese American experience in WWII. In 2005, Alton was awarded the first J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award by the National Storytelling Network. He has performed at the Congress of Asian Storytellers in Singapore, the International Gimme Story Storytelling Festival in the Cayman Islands as well as venues in India, China and Okinawa. He has also performed at the Talk Story Festival, the Bay Area Storytelling Festival, the Four Corners Storytelling Festival and the Oklahoma City Storytelling Festival; and has been a New Voice Teller at the National Storytelling Festival. 360-882-3581, Alton@altonchung.com.

Donald Davis was born into a southern Appalachian mountain world rich in stories. While he heard traditional stories about Jack and other heroic characters, he was most attracted to the stories of his own family and places of origin. Davis began retelling these stories, adding his own stories until he was repeatedly asked to "tell it again, on purpose!" During his 25 year career as a United Methodist minister, Davis used stories more and more. He was also asked to perform at festivals and in other settings until retiring from the church to tell stories full time. The author of 18 books and more than 40 original recordings, Davis is the recipient of both the Circle of Excellence and Lifetime Achievement awards from the National Storytelling Network. 252-995-2603, donald@ddavisstoryteller.com.

David Gonzalez is a professional storyteller, poet, playwright, musician and public speaker. He is a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department and the proud recipient of the International Performing Arts for Youth Lifetime Achievement Award for Sustained Excellence. Gonzalez was named a Fellow of the Joseph Campbell Foundation and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience for “The Frog Bride.” Gonzalez has created numerous productions, including the critically acclaimed “¡Sofrito!” with The Latin Legends Band and “MytholoJazz,” both of which enjoyed sold-out runs at The New Victory Theater, New York. “Sleeping Beauty” was co-commissioned by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Brooklyn College and McCallum Theater. Gonzalez was a featured performer at the National Storytelling Festival, and appeared for three seasons at the Royal National Theatre in London. “The Man of the House” was commissioned by and premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2013. (607) 435-2045, sandra.peevers@gmail.com.