Storytelling Festival Broadens Scope

Jamie Lyons

Creative Campus will present the second annual Black Warrior Storytelling Festival at the Park at Manderson Landing on Saturday. The event will run from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and is free for all to attend.

The festival was originally the idea of Mary Margaret Randall, a graduate of the University who planned the event last spring, said Whitney Davidson, a junior majoring in advertising. The success of last year’s event encouraged Creative Campus to host another festival. Davidson is a Creative Campus intern this year and is planning the event for Saturday.

Although this year’s event will focus on the same goal of sharing the art of storytelling, there will be a few differences the second time around.

Davidson said last year’s event was catered to a more mature audience, and this year there will be more interactive opportunities for children, including a children’s yoga class by Yoga Bliss and campfire stories and a how-to-build-a-tent story presented by UA Outdoor Recreation.

“There will be a children’s tent with arts and crafts and children’s stories, and then a main stage for the storytellers,” Davidson said.

There will also be a broader range of entertainment for the audience, including free form painting by two Creative Campus interns, and a journaling booth people who are inspired by the storytellers to write their own stories.

The storytellers are students and community members, many of whom are members of the Alabama Storytelling Association, Davidson said. The stories are original works by the presenters.

“One is coming to tell rock and roll stories … and another is coming to tell sports stories as a former player for Bear Bryant,” Davidson said, “And although not all stories may directly interest college students, there are some historical stories that might be interesting to hear.”

Blake Williams, a senior majoring in communication studies, is a storyteller for the event this year. He was contacted to be involved because of his role with the UA Forensics Team.

“Another member and I were invited to perform, and any opportunity to perform is a lot of fun,” Williams said, “And it’s an opportunity to raise awareness of the topics we speak on and just to raise awareness of forensics in general.”

Williams is still deciding on a piece to perform for Saturday, but he has been involved in forensics since his early high school years. He has competed nationally for many years and enjoyed great success as a performer.

Although the expected audience on Saturday, including children and families, is different than his usual audience of judges, Williams is looking forward to the event.

“As a performer, I would like to reach out to people.” Williams said. I hope that I bring them something that maybe at first they think is weird … but in the end makes them thing that maybe performance arts are worthwhile.”

Davidson said an informational tent will be set up right at the entrance of the park, which is located on Jack Warner Parkway and Hackberry Lane. The information tent will have brochures, flyers and schedules for the day. There will also be a tent hosted by McAllister’s Deli, selling food and beverages for attendees.

In case of rain, the backup location for the event will be the Riverside Community Center. More information about this event and many others can be found online at