Storytelling event to be held Friday at River Campus

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The first installment of three planned storytelling events this year, "An Evening with Donald Davis and Delores Hydock," will be presented Friday at the River Campus of Southeast Missouri State University.

"It's going to be a joy to have Donald and Delores as our storytellers for the occasion," said Dr. Joel Rhodes, history professor at Southeast and co-producer of the event. "The stories they're going to tell will be primarily funny and just wonderful to hear."

Davis, who lives in North Carolina, will be making his third appearance in Cape Girardeau.

"Donald Davis has been with us during our past storytelling festivals," Rhodes said. "He was one of our biggest draws and is a natural spellbinder. He's known as the 'King of Storytelling.'"

Hydock, who makes her home in Birmingham, Ala., will be coming to Cape Girardeau for the first time.

"She's a gifted storyteller," Rhodes said. "Along with Davis, she's in the upper-echelon of storytellers in America. It's fantastic that we're getting them both at the same time."

The event is co-sponsored by Southeast and the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, which, after five years of presenting the storytelling festival during three days in April, have decided to replace this year's festival with three events in Bedell Performance Hall.

"We realized people lead very busy lives," said Chuck Martin, executive director of the visitors bureau and a co-producer of the event. "Not everyone has the time or resources to attend a three-day festival. As proof, there's been a decline in attendance over the last few years."

About 350 people bought passes for last year's storytelling festival. In 2011, more than 630 people were in attendance, which was fewer than the 745 who attended in 2010.

Martin feels that having the storytelling events throughout the course of the year will be more practical for fans.

"This way they won't have to devote time and money for three days straight," he said. "It can be a relaxing evening for them."

Another potential reason for the decline in attendance may have been inclement weather in April.

"It can be a bit disconcerting trying to hear a story in a tent while it rains or when the wind blows. Although the tents presented a certain storytelling ambience at the festivals, we felt we needed a more climate-controlled setting."

According to Martin, the River Campus was instrumental in providing a venue for this year's storytelling series.

"They've been wonderful," he said. "It was an attitude of, 'What can we do to help?'"

Theresa Messmer, senior administrative assistant at the River Campus, said the staff was more than happy to invite the storytellers to campus.

"So much of what we do is community based," Messmer said. "We're happy to be hosting the storytelling events for this year. We're looking forward to it."

Other storytelling events are tentatively planned for May and September.

The performance is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in the Bedell Performance Hall. Tickets are on sale for $12, with tickets for children $5. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the River Campus box office at 651-2265 or online at rivercampusevents.com. The box office is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

klewis@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

518 S. Fountain St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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