By Nicole Collins, Co-Editor and Writer
Since the Stone Soup Storytelling Festival was cancelled because of the coronavirus, the board ventured to a new frontier to tell stories – the digital realm.
The annual festival, originally scheduled for April 17 – 19, is typically an intimate, in-person gathering held at various locations in downtown Woodruff.
“I was devasted at the loss for our tellers, our organization and our community,” said Karyn Page Davies, president of the Stone Soup Storytelling Institute.
Like many others, storytellers have lost their scheduled gigs due to the pandemic. Stone Soup itself lost its main fundraiser for the year.
In an attempt to figure out a way to support both the tellers and organization, the Stone Soup board met via Zoom in March to brainstorm possibilities.
The solution: COVID Chowder Tales, a real-time video storytelling event that was held on Friday, May 1 on Zoom.
The video event showcased storytellers Lona Bartlett, Cooper Braun, Yasu Ishida, Simon Brooks and Paul Strickland, all the featured tellers that were supposed to appear at this year’s festival. Each teller had the opportunity to tell one story during the virtual affair.
COVID Chowder Tales sold out and had participants join from across the globe. Yes. Globe. Storyteller Yasu Ishida is originally from Japan and his family that is still in the country logged in to listen.
While Page-Davies recognizes that the video format is not ideal way to present storytelling, she says that “we know that hearing these stories and sharing this time together will be palliative and good for the soul.”
Next year’s Stone Soup Storytelling Festival is scheduled for April 23 – 25, 2021. The Stone Soup Storytelling Institute is a nonprofit organization based at 134 S. Main St. in Woodruff.
If you would like to contribute to Stone Soup or the storytellers, donations can be made at paypal.me/stonesoupstories.
At press time, the nonprofit does not have any other virtual events planned but keep up with the group on the Stone Soup Storytelling Facebook page.