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Jonesborough: Deaf Storytelling Concert

April 1 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Deaf Storytelling Concert premier in Jonesborough

The McKinney Center and the Communication Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH) will host a Deaf Storytelling Concert for and with the Deaf community on SaturdayApril 1 at 7 p.m. at the McKinney Center, located at 103 Franklin Avenue. Nationally acclaimed deaf storyteller Peter Cook will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Cook is also a graduate of East Tennessee State University with a Master’s degree in Storytelling.

This concert will bring members from the deaf community who will share their stories, and will also be voice interpreted for audiences, in order for both deaf and hearing individuals attending the concert will be able to understand the stories.

This event is free and open to the public.

This project began a year ago, as the McKinney Center and the CCDHH collected and archived stories from the deaf community in the region. This project was coordinated by McKinney Center Outreach Programming Director Jules Corriere and the CCDHH’s Andrew Metcalf. Story collectors were paired with storytellers as well as an interpreter. The interviews were recorded on video and audio, so that a transcription of the interviews could be made. Nearly twenty hours of interviews were captured and over 600 pages of transcripts were archived.

“I’ve been collecting stories since moving to Jonesborough nearly ten years ago. I’ve always been intentional about getting stories from underserved groups, for instance, our veterans,” says Corriere. “I realized, in all these years, we have not gone into the deaf community to collect their stories.”

Metcalf was eager to be part of this project and served as one of its lead interpreters. “The Deaf community has a rich history of storytelling, and it is only fitting that their stories be given the spotlight,” says Metcalf. “The visual aspect of these stories only enhances the experience, even if you don’t know sign language.”

“This sort of flips the script for traditional performances,” says Corriere. “Usually, the one doing signing is off to the side. This time, the people signing will be in the spotlight, center stage and the vocal interpreter will be the one offset.”

This concert, which will run approximately an hour in duration, will be hosted and emceed by Cook. He is an internationally renowned Deaf performing artist whose works incorporate American Sign Language, pantomime, storytelling, acting and movement. Cook has traveled extensively around the country and abroad as a part of Flying Words Project. He has been featured nationally in festivals such as the Jonesborough National Storytelling Festival, Oklahoma City Winter Tales, Illinois Storytelling Festival, Indiana Hoosier Storytelling Festival, Eugene, Oregon Multi-Cultural Festival and Deaf Way II, as well as on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Cook was invited to the White House to join the National Book Festival in 2003. Internationally, he has worked with Deaf storytellers and poets in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Japan. Cook lives in Chicago and teaches in the ASL-English Interpretation Department at Columbia College, where he received the 1997 Excellence in Teaching award. Cook will work directly with the local deaf storytellers to help prepare them for this concert.

For more information, contact Corriere at 423.753.0562 or Metcalf through video phone at 423.218.1215. This event is sponsored by a grant from the Tennessee Disability Coalition.


About the McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington: The mission of the McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington is to provide a comprehensive program through Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts which teaches various art skills to all participants through a quality program of instruction open to all segments of Jonesborough’s population. In addition, a primary mission of the Center is to enhance minority participation in the planning and implementation in all activities in Jonesborough while specifically celebrating the contribution of the African-American community in the growth and development of the Town. The activities of the McKinney Center are designed to enhance the quality of life of all Jonesborough residents.

About the Town of Jonesborough: A unique 18th century town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Northeast Tennessee, Jonesborough’s natural beauty, charming architecture, and storytelling heritage have attracted visitors worldwide. Stay a day, a week or forever, and create your own stories in beautiful Historic Jonesborough. Visit www.jonesborough.com for more information.


April 1
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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McKinney Center
103 Franklin Ave
Jonesborough, TN 37659 United States
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(423) 753-0562

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