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Deschutes Library Storytelling Festival

The ancient art of storytelling will come alive at the Tower Theatre during a FREE storytelling festival as part of the summer reading program, “One World, Many Stories.”

“Storytelling is not story reading,” explains Heather McNeil, Youth Services Manager, and one of the featured tellers. “It is the oral tradition of bringing stories to life through voice, unique talents, creativity and research. All of us will be inviting audience participation through chant, rhythm, and song.”

Margaret Read MacDonald, author of over 50 books for children and storytellers, will also be performing. MacDonald has traveled extensively around the world, collecting stories from other cultures. Known as “the grand dame of storytelling,” Margaret’s awards include the Talking Leaves Literary Award from the National Storytelling Network, and Parent’s Choice Awards and Storytelling World Awards for numerous picture books. She has a doctorate in folklore, has been a children’s librarian, and is now a full-time author and storyteller. MacDonald lives in Washington. (

Christopher Leebrick, the third of the storytellers, lives in Oregon. “We invited him because he is very popular in the Redmond schools, and they requested that we bring him back to central Oregon,” explained McNeil. Leebrick’s high energy storytelling includes harmonica, humor, and a flexible voice. Leebrick believes, “The need to hear and tell stories is inherent, and through the power of story we can grow in our understanding of what it means to be human.” Leebrick has performed around the United States and in Australia. (

McNeil specializes in stories that invite audience participation, and in using different dialects and voices to interpret the folktales. She has performed throughout the United States, and represented the U.S. at storytelling festivals in Scotland and New Zealand. She traveled throughout Kenya, collecting stories from many of the different ethnic groups, and will perform at least one from her book, Hyena and the Moon: Stories to Tell from Kenya.

The One World, Many Stories Storytelling Festival will be July 30 at 1:00 p.m. at the Tower Theatre in Bend. Admission is by free ticket, available at all Deschutes Public Libraries July 16. For more information contact McNeil at 541-617-7099.

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