Brick Church’s Storytelling Festival offers entertainment for both children and adults


 LOVELL — Lovell’s Brick Church for the Performing Arts will open its summer season with a two-night Storytelling Festival featuring professional performers from Maine and New Hampshire.

On Friday, May 28, BCPA will present a variety show for children and adults. The performance on Saturday, May 29, will offer stand-up storytelling for grown-ups.

For Friday’s family show four storytellers will share the stage: Michael Parent, Meg Gilman, David Neufeld and Jo Radner.

A native Mainer of French-Canadian descent, Parent is a member of the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence, has performed as a storyteller and singer since 1977 and has been featured from New England to New Zealand. Expect song and story with a lively French twist.

Gilman, who hails from Portsmouth, N.H, tells folk tales jampacked with humor and wisdom, and personal stories both funny and poignant. Expect tricksters and comeuppances.

Founder of the New England Modern Storytelling Festival, Neufeld has for 30 years surprised his audiences with a zany, lyrical, and physical delivery of original pieces. Expect short, comic stories (duck detectives? refrigerator aliens?).

Radner, past president of the American Folklore Society and the National Storytelling Network, favors characters whose lives defy simple explanations. Expect some unusual folk tales.

Pat Spalding and Katy Rydell, two storytellers with different styles, will take the stage for Saturday’s adult show.

Spalding turned to a career of telling original tales based on first-person experiences after 25 years of puppetry. Referring to herself as “a recovering puppeteer turned monologist,” she is now “traveling lighter on the outside and digging deeper on the inside.”

“Life can be so weirdly interesting. It’s just full of good stories,” said Spalding, whose show is titled “Letters Written in Shaving Cream.”

Rydell, who moved to Portland three years ago from Los Angeles, is a writer, musician and teacher as well as a storyteller who has performed at festivals throughout the West. Known for deadpan humor, keen insights and occasional silliness, her programs run the gamut from inspiring to outrageous.

For the Brick Church, Rydell will perform excerpts from her one-woman show, “My Life As A Popsicle,” about the difficulties of moving from southern California to Maine, and about the often startling differences between how we feel and how others see us.

The Storytelling Festival will begin at 7:30 p.m. both days at the Brick Church on Christian Hill Road, just off Route 5. Tickets are $10 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under (Friday only). Tickets will be available at the door. For more information, call 925-2792 or visit