Our Storytellers

Bil Lepp

Bil’s humorous, family friendly tall-tales and stories have earned the appreciation of listeners of all ages and from all walks of life. Though a five time champion of the WV Liars’s Contest, Lepp’s stories often contain morsels of truth which present universal themes in clever and witty ways. Audiences all across the country, from grade schools to corporate execs to the Comedy Central’s Hudson stage, have been delighted by Bil’s mirthful tales and delightful insights into everyday life. Bil’s books and audio collections have won awards including the PEN Steven Kroll Award for Children’s Book Writing, Parents’ Choice Gold awards, and awards from the National Parenting Publications Assoc., and the Public Library Assoc.

Learn more about Bil Lepp

Carmen Agra Deedy

Carmen Agra Deedy is the author of twelve books for children, including The Library Dragon, The Cheshire Cheese Cat, Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, and 14 Cows for America, a New York Times Bestseller. The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! (Scholastic Press) was released in 2017 and Rita and Ralph's Rotten Day was published in March 2020. Her personal stories first appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered. Funny, insightful, and frequently irreverent, Deedy’s narratives are culled from her childhood as a Cuban refugee in Decatur, Georgia. She is host of the four-time Emmy-winning children’s program, Love That Book!
An award-winning author and storyteller, Deedy is also an accomplished lecturer, having been a guest speaker for both the TED and TEDx Conferences, the Library of Congress, Columbia University, the National Book Festival, and the Kennedy Center, among other distinguished venues. A life-long supporter of the institution, she opened the 2016 Art of the Book Lecture Series for the Smithsonian Libraries.



Learn more about Carmen Agra Deedy

Ed Stivender

Shakespearean Actor, Banjo Player, Theologian, Mummer, Dreamer, Juggler, and Raconteur
In reviews of his work, Ed Stivender has been called “the Robin Williams of storytelling” by the Miami Herald and “a Catholic Garrison Keillor” by Kirkus Review.
Since 1977, when he left his day job as a high school teacher in Connecticut and turned to storytelling full-time, Ed has fabulated his way around the globe --appearing in schools, churches, coffeehouses and theaters, as well as at major storytelling festivals. He has been a featured performer at the National Storytelling Festival, the Cape Clear Island International Storytelling Festival in Ireland, Graz Festival, Austria and our own Philadelphia Folk Festival. Ed enjoyed narrating: “Paddington Bears Special Day” with the Harrisburg Symphony, “Ferdinan the Bull” with a violinist for the Philadelphia Orchestra, and “Peter and the Wolf” with the LaGrange Symphony.
In the Spring of 2005 Ed worked with a group called Historic Philadelphia Inc., which has had colonial re-enactors in the historic district, that expanded to include a project called “Once Upon A Nation”.
Ed worked with them as a consultant/writer/trainer, helping them develop short historical stories to be presented throughout Independence National Historic Park on thirteen storytelling benches. He trained the tellers during their three week training, “Benstitute”, and did some paperwork summarizing and suggesting. Ed also wrote a theme song for them.
The National Storytelling Association inducted Ed into its Circle of Excellence in 1996.







Learn more about Ed Stivender

Josh Goforth

Josh Goforth must have been born musical—he was already playing piano in church at the age of four—but it was an experience he had in the sixth grade that really lit the fuse of his precocious musical career. A performance at Goforth’s middle school by Sheila Kay Adams caused him to start thinking about the musical heritage of his native Madison County. A couple of years later, he received his first guitar from one of his great-uncles, and began to learn the instrument under the tutelage of another great-uncle. The great-great-great-grandson of Madison County fiddler Asbury McDevitt was launched on a career in traditional music.
Over the next few years he learned to play at least ten different instruments by ear, learning from such local masters as Gordon and Arvil Freeman. Most famous for his fiddling, Goforth is a highly accomplished oldtime, bluegrass, and swing musician, but is remarkably versatile, able to pick up any of a wide variety of instruments and make a solid contribution in almost any kind of band.
After high school he went to East Tennessee State University to study music education, and to be a part of ETSU’s famous Bluegrass and Country Music Program. He has performed in forty-nine US states, all over Europe, and in Japan. In 2000, 2003, and 2005, he was named Fiddler of the Festival at Fiddler’s Grove and, after winning the third title, was designated “Master Fiddler” and retired from that competition. His first solo album is forthcoming.






Learn more about Josh Goforth
 

Andy Offutt Irwin

Emcee

With a silly putty voice, hilarious heart-filled stories, and amazing mouth noises (arguably, the greatest whistler in the world) one-person-showman, Andy Offutt Irwin, is equal parts mischievous schoolboy and the Marx Brothers, peppered with a touch of the Southern balladeer. One of the most sought after performing storytellers in the United States, we are glad to have Andy back as our Emcee and fearless leader.

Learn more about Andy Offutt Irwin

Storytelling Tickets

COMING SOON