The Brandywine Storytelling Festival, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation dedicated solely to the planning and running of the Brandywine Storytelling Festival, once per year, and related storytelling events (like the ‘Uncalled For Tour’) as fits the objectives of the organization.
The bigger, broader objective of the corporation is reflected in our positioning line: ‘A 501(c)3 That’s All About Literacy.’ The literacy of language, reading, writing, and communication...cultural literacy...artistic literacy: All of these are well-represented in the Storytelling Art. That’s why it is so incredibly important to promote these skill sets in our local community.
Proceeds from the Brandywine Storytelling Festival go to support local libraries and literacy organizations.
How It All Started
As you might suspect, it all started one Sunday.
But when the Lower Brandywine Presbyterian Church added a Storytelling event to its 2006 Community Outreach Program, its Congregation would never have guessed that seven years later, this event would have developed into the Festival it has become.
Incredibly, with no background or experience, we’ve managed to cobble together a passable little Festival. But it makes sense, if you think about it. At the time, the Church was looking for something ‘unique;’ something consistent with its values of and those of its families; something it could offer to the Communities it serves as a part of its Vision 2020 Outreach Program. (The Congregation at Lower Brandywine will be 300 years old in the year 2020.) What a perfect fit! Stories were it. They play such an important role in Biblical communication...including the ‘greatest Story ever told!’
But we never could have gotten to this place without the wonderful group of Storytellers we have grown to love, professionally and personally. Bil Lepp in particular was instrumental helping to get things off and running, like Buck-Dog fetching a bullet. Special thanks also go out to Willy Claflin and Maynard Moose, who were also ‘distremely suggestible’ to us in our early and late going. Bill Harley added a frenetic energy and Grammy-winning cachet. Then came Kim Weitkamp and Andy Offutt Irwin. Kim brought to us an incredible combination of depth and humor that can have you laughing and tearing at the same line. And Andy is Andy...and several other people besides! There’s also hometown hero Ed Stivender, who has meant everything to us. Finally, there’s Geraldine Buckley, who has not only brought her talent to the stage, but her organizational skills to the Festival framework.
But that’s not all! Then there’s all the rest! From Olivia Merryman to Slash Coleman to Baba Jamal Koram. From Tahira to Gerald Fierst to Charles Kiernan. From Charlotte Blake Alston to Ray Gray to the Reverend Robert Jones. From Doug Elliott to Motoko to Debra Pieri. From Robin Moore to Danaher & Cloud to Sangay Miller. From Milbre Burch to Michael Forestieri to ByHeart (Mary-beth Howard and Shelley Gnade). We love them all. So much that we’ve actually built a little history museum on this very site to pay homage to the time they’ve been gracious enough to spend with us. You can find it here.
And now, we are off to a new stage.
The Festival outgrew the venue. Talk about success! The limited grounds, and especially the older ‘facilities,’ of Lower Brandywine Presbyterian Church necessitated that we look elsewhere for a place to hold the event.
If you haven’t joined us for this Festival yet, we hope that you will. If you click here you’ll find the maps and directions you’ll need to drive right to Upland Country Day School.