Timpanogos Storytelling Festival is lucky enough to welcome back Clare Murphy, a self-described storyteller, performer, writer, dramaturg, curiosist, teacher, consultant, wanderer, wonderer and maker who has performed around the world. Her lilting Irish accent will remind you that her roots are from a country with one of the richest folktale traditions in the world. I was enchanted by Clare when she came to our festival a few years back and I’ve been excited to see her again ever since. We asked Clare to share some of her insights on her pathway to story.

Our theme this year is “Pathways to Story.”How would you describe your pathway to becoming a storyteller? Was it a road, a back alley, a fast track, or a meandering trail?

It was something between a back alley, a fast track and straying from the mainpath of life.

Could you tell us about someone who has influenced you on this journey as a storyteller?

My father was an actor, on the side.  He didn’t do acting fulltime as it was the 70s and he had four kids.  But I saw many of his performances, and got to go backstage and meet the actors.  We would help him rehearse his lines and discuss the plays afterwards.  My mother is a poet.  Our house was filled with books of poetry and stories.  She taught me much about how to appreciate language.

I was introduced to storytelling as a world by Liz Weir.  She generously invited me to her home and allowed me to shadow her for three days.  She went on to encourage me throughout the years to keep going and tell me about a lot of opportunities.

I was also influenced by John Moriarty, an Irish writer and storyteller.  His deep connection to myth had a profound affect on me.

What are you passionate about outside of storytelling?

The planet and our responsibility as a part of Nature.  

Kindness to each other and other species.  I am passionate about art as a means of rehumanising us.  I love dancing.  and also chocolate, especially dark chocolate (70% + cocoa). 

I love the joy of improvisation, the kindness of creativity.

Where does storytelling go from here? How do you see its influence on society?

Storytelling is exactly where it needs to be. It is in every pocket of the world.  It has become a buzzword and its’ popularity is only growing.  It influences society in every sphere: politics, art, climate change, education, love.  People use story to support their ideologies.  The hope is that the stories of love, tolerance, compassion, inclusion, kindness that bring together all human beings regardless of gender, politics or religion are the stories that will help us move forward.

What fictional place would you most like to visit?

Ursula K LeGuin’s EarthSea.

Don’t miss Clare at the 2018 Timpanogos Storytelling Festival September 6-8 at the Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah. For tickets and volunteer opportunities visit timpfest.org.