International Storytelling Center

Contact Name: Marianne Huff


116 W Main St
Jonesborough, Tennessee 37659
United States
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Phone: (800) 952-8392

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The International Storytelling Center (ISC) is dedicated to improving the lives of people around the world through the power of storytelling. ISC produces The National Storytelling Festival which starts with a Friday school day and continues over the first weekend in October every year. ISC also produces a 26 week program known as Storytelling Live!—the International Storytelling Center’s renowned teller-in-residence (TIR) series which runs from May to October with daily concerts and workshops from world class master storytellers that explore themes of diversity, unity, American and world cultures.

The Festival and Storytelling Live! encompass a wealth of cultures, traditions and styles – a world of stories within one, historic town, known as the storytelling capital of the world.

Storytelling Live! takes place in a state of the art theatre located beside a storytelling park and central to historic downtown. Festival Friday School Day takes place in circus-like tents that seat 1500. Audience members, schools, community groups and visitors from across the world are treated to performances from over thirty nationally and internationally-known professional tellers.

The International Storytelling Center has become the flagship of a national movement that celebrates the rich history of American storytelling and the talebearers who share their stories. This picturesque place is where the storytelling revival continues to attract thousands year after year to share the time-honored tradition. They come for one purpose – to hear and tell stories! Listening to master storytellers and learning how to craft your own story, if used successfully, unlock the magic of difference, dialogue, and collaboration as we build new stories together. Stories empower and enrich us and help us realize the power of change.

You can learn more about us at our website:, and you can find education resources at our Learning Library:



Sample Programs Offered

Program Title: Children's Storytelling Concert with Leeny Del Seamonds

Program Type: Arts Appreciation

Program Description:

Saturday, May 20 • 10:30 a.m.
“Vive el cuento” (live the story) with Leeny’s uplifting blend of music and bilingual tales for little ones.
With a face and voice that launched a thousand characters, Leeny Del Seamonds is an internationally acclaimed performer, coach and multi award-winning recording artist. From a prized television show to a village in Gengcun, China to the Comix Club in NYC to the Cayman Islands International Storytelling Festival, Del Seamonds encourages listeners to rejoice in human and cultural diversity and invites them to share in her Cuban-American sense of humor and joy of performing.
She is the recipient of the NSN ORACLE Circle of Excellence award.
“Internationally acclaimed Leeny Del Seamonds is a natural entertainer whose multicultural stories and songs reflect her love of people.” – The Boston Globe

Lesson Plan Example: Download File

Program Title: Literacy and Storytelling Workshop with Donna Washington

Program Type: Arts Appreciation

Program Description:

Saturday, September 9 • 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
This workshop is provided free to teachers through the generosity of the Niswonger Foundation and the East Tennessee Foundation.

Literacy and Storytelling
This session is about boosting literacy and spoken language, which are inextricably linked. Donna will explain how the brain processes stories before modeling different stories, games, activities, and techniques that can be adapted in a variety of settings. An educator, author, and storyteller who has led this workshop around the world, Donna is also known as a children’s book author who has received several Parents’ Choice awards and more than two dozen national awards for storytelling.
This workshop is geared toward K-5 teachers.
For reservations or more information call (800) 952-8392 or (423) 913-1276.

Lesson Plan Example: Download File

Program Title: School Day at the 2017 National Storytelling Festival

Program Type: Arts Appreciation

Program Description:

Friday, October 6, 2017 is School Day at the 45th National Storytelling Festival! School Day tickets for grades 3–12 are valid for entry into any Festival venue for Friday from 10 am – 5 pm.

There will be 5 hours of storytelling in circus-like tents with many different tellers. A 30 minute break will be given between each 60 minute storytelling session.
Storytelling gives the student a live experience with many different professional storytellers from a variety of cultures who engage the student to participate in the stories.
A real performance of storytelling can make the story come alive for a student. It is a very different experience than watching a storyteller on video or just reading a story. It can help a student engage in the story, increase comprehension, and show a student different art forms and techniques such as mime, the use of sound effects to enhance the story, music used as part of storytelling, theatre, etc.
The educational goals for a day at the Festival will teach valuable life lessons, increase listening and communication skills, show how the written word can be used in speaking, help the student learn about different cultures and enhance the learning of language patterns and new vocabulary. Students should be able to compare and contrast different stories and different styles of storytelling.

Lesson Plan Example: Download File

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