An interview with Sheila Starks Phillips

An interview with Sheila Starks Phillips

Sheila Stark Phillips, storyteller, author, musician, Texan and former zoo keeper has returned this year to help us celebrate our 30th Anniversary. Here she shares with us some of her memories of the festival, gives advice to new storytellers and shares her thoughts on the timelessness of storytelling.

“When I had the privilege of telling at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival a few years back, it was only my second visit to Utah. I had also been a participant at that year’s Timpanogos Conference. I was thrilled to be there and initially struck by the beauty of the area. The friendliness of everyone I encountered was beyond welcoming and I have many times praised the organizers and worker bees because never have I been better cared for. The facilities were outstanding, and everything progressed like clockwork. From start to finish it was first-class. I was particularly impressed that each teller had their own cubby where they could relax and even take a nap when not performing.

My one piece of advice to any young or new teller is to be yourself. Don’t try to imitate someone you admire. Develop your own style, practice and go for it.

Storytelling is timeless. Going back to the earliest man who came back to his cave from hunting and with grunts and drawing pictures with a piece of charcoal taken from the fire pit told others of his adventure. Our daily lives are filled with stories. And, most importantly, stories are meant to be shared.”

What are your memories of the festival? Share with us in the comments below and be sure to come and celebrate with us at the 30th annual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival September 5-7 at The Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi.

Donald Davis – Memories of the Festival

Donald Davis – Memories of the Festival

The Timpanogos Storytelling Festival is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year and we’ve asked some of our returning tellers to share some of their memories of the festival, give some advice to our up-and-coming tellers, and tell us about the timelessness of tales. One teller that has been with us from the beginning is Donald Davis and here he shares a bit of his unique perspective on the festival and how he was first introduced to it.

“My best memory is of being at the Jonesborough Festival and meeting these three ladies from Utah. Their “leader,” (Karen) told me they were going to have a festival the next year and asked me if I could come out there Labor Day weekend.

I checked my calendar and it was filled. Karen then asked if I could come the next year. We wrote it on the calendar and it was done.

Later I learned that no one back in Utah was aware that she had decided to start a festival, but she was already booking tellers for the first two years. This told me more about her determination and leadership than I could have learned any other way.

My advice to beginning tellers: tell stories anywhere you can. You don’t invite yourself to someone else’s party, but if you keep on and do a good job, you will get invited when the time is right.

Storytelling is timeless because it preserves our deepest identity. Who we are is revealed in and preserved by our stories.”

Thank you, Donald, for helping us to grow the festival from it’s humble beginnings, just a kernal of an idea really, into what it is today. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Antonio Rocha – On Timeless Tales

Antonio Rocha – On Timeless Tales

We recently interviewed Antonio Rocha (pronounced Haw-sha) and he gave us his thoughts on the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, advice for new storytellers and the timelessness of storytelling.

Q- As you well know, this is our 30th anniversary and we’re so happy you will be celebrating this milestone with us. As a veteran of the festival would you please share some of your memories of the festival?

A- I have many wonderful memories of being at Timpanogos: the setting, the people all creating an awesome Festival atmosphere. As one of the Nation’s top festivals with incredibly dedicated listeners and staff, Timpanogos delivers a setting where I can relax to do my work for I know I will be well taken care of. I have also a great memory of resting between sets in the green room and getting a revitalizing massage. Timpanogos is the only festival to offer massages in the green room. What a great treat! I understand it’s not offered anymore, but it was a great memory. With all these amazing qualities, it is hard not have have great memories.

Q- What is one piece of advice you could give our young tellers or anyone who would like to share their stories?

A- Storytelling is not about words, it is about the images the story creates in your imagination. So, the more immersed you are in the imagery world of your story, be it fictional or not, the better will be your telling. Dive deep into the imaginary and you will never be lost for words and enthusiasm to tell about it.

Q- Our theme this year is Timeless Tales. In what way do you think storytelling is timeless or timely?
Storytelling is timeless because we are the only species on Earth who use story. They have been our companions, teachers and care givers for millennia.

A- Storytelling is timely because we, as a species, tend to spend too much time forgetting what being human is all about. Stories remind us of our humanity. Storytelling is the new fire we sit around of in order to keep us warm.

Join us on September 5-7, 2019 at The Gardens at Thanksgiving Point for the 30th Anniversary of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Ticket prices increase August 1st, so get your today!

Tim Lowry – Timeless Tales and our 30th Anniversary

Tim Lowry – Timeless Tales and our 30th Anniversary

Our theme this year is Timeless Tales, a perfect theme for our 30th year don’t you think? For thirty years we have been celebrating the timeless tradition of storytelling and the timeless stories that transcend the generations. As part of this celebration we have asked our returning veteran tellers to give us some thoughts on the theme and on what the Festival means to them. We’ll begin our series with Tim Lowry.

Q- As you well know, this is our 30th anniversary and we’re so happy you will be celebrating this milestone with us. As a veteran of the Festival would you please share with us some of your memories of the Festival?

A- Of all the festivals in which I’ve been privileged to tell, Timpanogos best fulfills the promise of a “family event.” I love the wide mix of age groups that you see in the audience and on the stage. You have young children listening as older children tell; teenagers and college students telling. There’s juggling, and playing music, and presenting puppet plays; parents and grandparents cheering the young folks and also sharing stories. Everyone is involved in every way!

Q- What is one piece of advice you could give our young tellers or anyone who would like to share their stories?

A- I like to think of stories as wonderful treasures or marvelous discoveries that are best shared with others. Whether you sing, speak, or dance, generosity of spirit is essential to good storytelling. Love the story enough to treasure it, love your audience enough to share your treasure with them. Don’t worry about yourself—Will my voice shake? Will I mess up? Will they like me? Just love your story and love the people who have come to listen. Storytelling is an act of love!

Q- Our theme this year is Timeless Tales. In what way do you think storytelling is timeless or timely?

A- Timeless Tales! Oh, that makes me think of so many classics—Moses’s Pentateuch, the four New Testament Gospels, Arabian Nights, The Brothers Grimm, the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, Aesop’s Fables, Mother Goose, Robin Hood Legends, Stories from Dickens and Twain, the Greek myths, Norse legends, and Cinderella. We mustn’t forget Cinderella! So many stories! So many voices! And yet one message—See! Hear! Wonder! (I’ll try to come back down to earth in time for the 30th annual Festival!)

Join us September 5-7, 2019 for the 30th Anniversary of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival at The Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point.

Our own Daniel Morden, recently received a prestigious medal for literature

Our own Daniel Morden, recently received a prestigious medal for literature

Last year, our international teller DANIEL MORDEN was presented with the Hay Festival Medal by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall.

 Awarded every year since the 2012 Olympic Games, Hay Festival Medals are given for exceptional work in literature. 

It was a surreal day. I didn’t know this medal existed. I’d just finished telling stories to 1200 people when I was whisked off to a marquee and suddenly I was in the presence of royalty, being given this award. 15 minutes later they’d all moved on and I was alone.”  

Other recipients of this prestigious award have included Margaret Atwood for Prose, Alan Bennett for Drama, and John Le Carre for Fiction, among others.Congratulations Daniel!

To see Daniel’s mastery of language and storytelling, come to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival this weekend, September 6-8 at the Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, UT. Tickets are available at the gate or online at timpfest.org 

Timpanogos Storytelling Institute
957 East 70 South
Lindon, UT 84042

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