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2013 Featured Tellers

The 2013 OKC Storytelling Festival Featured Storytellers:


Judith Black

Judith Black brings to her storytelling a varied background in education, theater, and creative writing. Having studied early childhood education at Wheelock College, she taught for three years before moving to London where she studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Later she toured as an actress for two years with Little Flags Theater Company. Judith was a founder and ten year board member of The Three Apples Storytelling Festival. She helped to initiate and produce Storytellers in Concert , the first and longest running storytelling series for adults in the nation. Her award winning original stories have been commissioned by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Old South Church, National Public Radio, The Artist’s Foundation, The U.S.S. Constitution Museum, The U.S. Department of Forestry, North Shore Symphony and her dad’s birthday! She has created three television series’ for Massachusetts Cable Educational Television, worked with organizations who objectives are to prevent domestic violence, and is presently working with elderly housing organizations to introduce and support caretakers through their journey.


Patrick Ball

Patrick Ball is one of the premier Celtic harp players in the world and a captivating spoken word artist. He has recorded nine instrumental and three spoken word albums which have sold well over one-half million copies internationally and won national awards in both the music and spoken word categories.

Along with Celtic Harp and Story, his beguiling blend of music and spoken word concerts, Patrick has written and currently performs two acclaimed solo musical theater pieces: O’Carolan’s Farewell to Music, which brings to the stage the legendary life, the turbulent times and the glorious music of Ireland’s most celebrated and beloved musician, Turlough O’Carolan, and The Fine Beauty of the Island, a musical journey to Ireland’s legendary Blasket Islands in search of a deeply haunting tune and the vanished islanders who played it. Patrick also presents an ensemble performance, The Flame of Love, a spoken word and Early Music retelling of the greatest of medieval legends, The Romance of Tristan and Iseult.

Patrick Ball is “a rare artist.” For in playing the ancient, legendary brass-strung harp of Ireland with its crystalline, bell-like voice and performing marvelous tales of wit and enchantment, he not only brings new life to two cherished traditions, but blends them in concert to create “a richly theatrical and hauntingly beautiful performance.”


Barbara McBride-Smith

Barbara McBride-Smith grew up in Texas, was educated in Massachusetts, discovered the ways of the world on the Jersey shore, and finally settled down in Oklahoma. She has been a school librarian for 44 years and a seminary professor for more than 20 years. As a performing storyteller, she has entertained audiences across the U.S. and is frequently featured at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. She is a member of the National Storytelling Circle of Excellence and a recipient of the John Henry Faulk Award for Outstanding Contributions to Storytelling.

Though her ‘day-job’ is that of teacher/librarian in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Barbara McBride-Smith is a professional storyteller and has traveled the circuit since 1987. She has appeared at most of the major festivals and conferences around the country, including 10 times at the prestigious National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee. She has also been featured on National Public Radio and at the International Storytelling Festival in Washington D.C. In addition to her tale-spinning, McBride-Smith has written several books, including Greek Myths Western Style and Tell It Together, and served as co-author & editor of New Testament Women. Her strong interest in the literature of the Bible is consistent with her position as adjunct professor at Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, where she teaches future ministers how to tell Bible stories.


Alton Chung

Alton Chung grew up with the stories, superstitions, and magic of the Hawaiian Islands. This combined with his Japanese and Korean roots, gives him a unique perspective to tell cultural tales and personal stories with a deep sense of reverence and authenticity. Not only does he breathe life into traditional Asian folktales with sensitivity and deep connection, but he can also touch into the fire of ancient Hawaiian legends and tell them with passion and respect. Alton also enjoys telling true stories of the Japanese-Americans during WWII, but his true passion is telling ghost stories. In 2005, Alton was awarded the first J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award by the National Storytelling Network and participated in the first National Story Night in Jonesboro, TN.

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