The Portland Storytellers Guild presents “From One Stage to Another,” an evening of stories by award-winning tellers Brianna Barrett, Julie Strozyk and Ken Iverson. Saturday, Sept. 2. Opening night reception 6:30 pm, show time 7:30.
Way back then… Ken Iverson looked around the room that day in 1985 and had a vision.
“We were eight storytellers,” Iverson remembers, ”wanting to band together, maybe form a club to help one another grow and share stories and provide a way for others to become tellers. I thought why not a guild? Haven’t guilds always provided opportunities for newcomers to learn a craft or ply a trade?” That’s how the Portland Storytellers Guild came to be.
And now, 32 years later, when the Guild moves into its new performance space at the Clinton Street Theater, Saturday evening, September 2, one of the three opening night headliners will be … Ken Iverson.
“From One Stage to Another” brings Iverson, the last of those first eight still active in Portland’s contemporary storytelling renaissance, with two Guild regulars who have benefitted from his vision — Brianna Barrett, named Portland Storyteller of the Year in both 2016 and 2017 in a newspaper poll, and Julie Strozyk, a medievalist who has been honored by the Society for Creative Anachronism —an all-star lineup.
Another hallmark of the Portland Storytellers Guild will be on display on opening night at the Clinton Street Theater — versatility. The three storytellers draw audiences in with different approaches, reflecting the Guild’s commitment to support and present all manner of stories from life experiences to folk tales and everything in between.
Strozyk traces her love of the spoke word to her days as a schoolgirl when she made up stories to delight her classmates. After a short stint teaching and working in telecommunications, she picked up her storytelling habit again as a bard in a medieval recreation group. She enjoys traditional, historical, and personal tales that touch the heart and “give it a little squeeze,” along with poetry, music and all things beautiful.
Barrett is a playwright, filmmaker, performer, cancer survivor, and punch-card-carrying regular at every locally owned teashop in Portland. A regular with Affable Gentlemen Storytelling, she has also appeared in The Yarn, and Imagine Live at the Pickathon Music Festival.
And then there is Iverson, an Oregon City resident who maintains a busy schedule appearing at story festivals, schools, libraries and bistros, drawing from his diverse repertoire. “I love performing with friends, having fun, moving people, and still hope my stories may inspire others to find their voice,” he says. “The Guild is doing that better now than at any time in the past. We constantly hear from new people that we provided a safe place for them to tell their first story in a public setting.”
Until now, that has happened in workshops throughout the year as well as at the Guild’s monthly “story swaps” at the Multnomah Arts Center, but in another new twist starting with the September 2 show at the Clinton Street Theater, one volunteer from the audience will be given a chance to tell a 5 minute story from the stage.