Anne Rutherford is another new featured teller at this year’s Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. We’ve asked her three questions to help us get to know her and her alter-ego, the wild-west adventurer Clementine Ryder.
Q- This is our 30th anniversary and we’re so happy you will be celebrating this milestone with us. As a first time teller at the festival, what would you like our audience to know about you?
A- “My mother grew up in Denver Colorado, met and married my father who was from a little town in the Susquehanna River Valley in Pennsylvania, where I grew up. My mother was determined to show my Dad there was a lot of country west of Ohio, so we went on looooong family driving trips…including one through Utah where I remember floating in the Great Salt Lake! I am so happy to be coming back to your part of the country as an adult, to participate in this wonderful festival. My husband Norm Brecke (also a storyteller) is coming with me and we are staying after the Festival to do some hiking and exploring.
I’ve been in the Pacific Northwest (Portland area specifically) since 1983. I came out for a ONE-YEAR volunteer service program, fell in love with the natural beauty of the Northwest and the congeniality of its people and never left. And, when people ask me “Is the TV Series “Portlandia” exaggerated? “ I say, “No, if anything it is understated!”
I love working as a main stage storyteller, and also as a teaching artist in the schools. I do a residency helping students feel more comfortable and confident with public speaking through storytelling — and also a writing residency where they create an original character using a process I’ve developed and write a story featuring that character. I use my own original character, Clementine Ryder (more about her next question!) and I love it. My “sweet spot” is 3rd-5th grade, but I’ve worked with K on up through High School. I’ve been a teaching artist with Young Audiences of Oregon/SW WA since 2001, it’s one of my favorite aspects of being a storyteller.”
Q- Our theme this year is Timeless Tales. Would you consider your stories to be more timeless (traditional stories) or timely (personal narrative)?
A- “I’ll do a mix — I’ve got some lively trickster tales and some tall tales —I’ll be telling some stories as my alter-ego, the wild-west adventurer Clementine Ryder; her stories are legendary — literally. I thought the experiences she described were legends (hidden treasure, frozen rattlesnakes) but turns out they really happened to Clementine. She is about as timeless as they come. As Anne, I’ve just won 1st place in the NW Folklife Festival’s Liar’s Contest for the 5th time, with a tale of childhood adventure that is mostly true; I’ll be bringing that as well as some of my other award-winning lies to tell! stretching the truth in an entertaining fashion is a timeless art!
I’ll also do some fun personal stories, lots from my childhood in a little town in the Susquehanna River Valley of Pennsylvania where I was born and raised, in a house with a graveyard on one side and a cow pasture on the other. In my personal stories I focus on the universal, the timeless experiences we have in common that my audience can relate to. Sometimes truth is indeed stranger (and as entertaining) as fiction!”
Q- How can a new fan hear more from you after the festival? Do you have any published work, a website or other social media sites?
A- “I’ve got six CDs including two hot off the press this summer just in time for the Festival.! Fans can connect with me and get a sample of my work in audio & video format on my website www.annerutherford.com. I also am active on Facebook and welcome new friend requests from people who’ve heard my stories, at annerutherfordstoryteller or anne.rutherford.37”
Welcome to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival family Anne! Be sure to get your tickets to the 30th annual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival on September 5-7 at the Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah. Get your tickets at timpfest.org.