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Tellabration! brings back storytelling for everyone

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Tellebration!

Storytelling is not just reading from a book. It’s a performance that helps everyone capture what the book wants to convey.

“People didn’t understand that storytelling is for everyone, not just for kids,” said Ann Shapiro, the executive director of Tellabration!

The international program, Tellabration!, has collaborated with 32 sites across Connecticut this month to bring storytelling to adults. “We go to community centers and put on shows. It has grown from that to all sorts of organizations partnering with the storytelling center. We will help you find the right storyteller for your audience,” Shapiro said.

It used to be an annual event on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. But this year, the program started in October and will continue throughout November. Shapiro said she hopes to celebrate stories in historical societies, libraries, churches, books stores, and community centers.

Children that want to enjoy storytelling can experience folk tales. “Some of our storytellers use music, and puppets, but all of us involve the kids in telling the stories,” Shapiro said.

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Tellebration!

One of the tellers, Glenn Harper, will be storytelling for kids on the morning of Nov. 12 at the Milford Public Library.

“They’re doing storytelling and games. He shares folk tales and stories that have been passed down the oral tradition in the United States and throughout the world,” said Suzanne Thomas, the assistant director at the Milford Public Library. “We figured it would be great for the kids and their families and also something that is appealing to the adults as well. So we decided to make a day of it.”

In the afternoon, adults will be invited to tell stories about historical sites and Connecticut history, Shapiro said. For example, one of the tellers, Denise Page, grew up in Milford. “She’s going to tell one of her stories, and then encourage and facilitate the audience to tell their own stories,” she said.

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Tellebration!

“Denise hopes to make it an interactive sharing event. I think that it’s very good that we are booking it before Thanksgiving because that’s really a time when people start to think about family and their memories of childhood,” said Diana Preece, the reference librarian at the Milford Public Library. “So it’s very interesting to hear what people want to share.”

The organizers of local Tellabration! events said they hope that storytelling can bring a connection to the community. “I love when people hear their stories. It’s an important way for people to connect and learn about each other. It builds empathy, community, and connection. It’s something we can provide,” Thomas said.

Janet is a news intern at WSHU for the fall of 2022.