Justin Reiter – Executive Director, The Historic Masonic Theatre
MyLinda Butterworth-Festival Director


Friday November 4

6:00 Doors Open – Story Store open

7:00 Friday Night Concert
Lona Bartlett • Kim Weitkamp
15 minute intermission
MyLinda Butterworth • Donna Washington

9:15 Meet the Tellers

Saturday – November 5

9:00am Workshops
Paul Armstrong: Storytelling 101
MyLinda Butterworth: Vocal Pyrotechnics or It’s Not What You Say But How You Say It!
Lona Bartlett: Same Story – Different Ages, Different Venues

10:00am Workshops
Via Goode: Engaging the Littlest Ones
Beth Ohlsson: You Don’t Have to Be Irish!
Jessica Robinson: Personal Story Arc

11:00 Lunch break

11:30 Doors open – Story Store open

Noon Family Concert
Tellers: Paul Armstrong • Donna Washington • Hettie Farley • Kim Weitkamp
15 minute break

2:00 Featured teller Donna Washington

3:00 Featured teller Kim Weitkamp

4:00 Open Mic 

5:00 Dinner Break

6:00 Doors open- Story Store open

7:00pm Evening Concert
Donna Washington • Beth Ohlsson
15 minute intermission
Jessica Robinson • Kim Weitkamp

9:15 Story Slam 


Purchase Tickets

Alleghany Highlands Storyfest


We’ve secured a discount at the Travelodge by Wyndham Low Moor near Covington – call 540-965-0090 and mention Masonic Theater speak when talking with Sue Wyford the manager.

Workshop Descriptions

Workshops presented by members of the Virginia Storytelling Alliance

Click here to Register for Workshops


PAUL ARMSTRONG: Storytelling 101 – This is an introduction to storytelling. We will examine the questions, what is storytelling? How does storytelling differ from other entertainment and educational mediums? Why is storytelling important? What makes a storyteller? (1 hour)

LONA BARTLETT: Same Story – Different Ages, Different Venues – Making a living as a storyteller means going into different venues; schools, festivals, preschools, libraries, adult concerts, children’s concerts, perhaps there are 400 in the audience or just 7, (GASP) and the differences go on. The same story may be told to all of these audiences with a few adjustments of vocabulary and presentation. What an adult audience understands is not what a 1st grader understand. Come learn to adjust, make some tweaks, and tell that story to multiple audiences.

MYLINDA BUTTERWORTH: Vocal Pyrotechnics – It’s Not What You Say But How You Say IT! – It is hard to sit and listen to a story when it is all spoken at the same level. Learn how to project, use inflection, and voices to bring your story to life. You will be involved in doing different kinds of vocal exercises to expand the use of your voice. Handout. (1 hour)

VIA GOODE: Engaging the littlest ones — How to keep your audience from running amok! Participants will receive (and practice!) tried and true tips and tricks to keeping the youngest audience members listening and participating during your storytelling performance. Bonus: How to get the teachers/adults on board, too! (90 minutes)

BETH OHLSSON: You don’t have to be Irish! Have you ever wanted to tell stories about your family, but didn’t know where to begin? Did you dismiss that notion because you weren’t Irish? Storyteller Beth Ohlsson invites you to explore the craft of storytelling in this 90-minute workshop, regardless of your family history and heritage. Using a prompt, participants will be invited to respond create a very short (2-3 minute) story. These brand-new stories will be shared with a partner or 2. Then there will be an opportunity for the braver souls to share their stories at the end of the session as Beth weaves them into “The Man Who Had No Story.”
Minimum of 4 participants. (90 minutes)

JESSICA ROBINSON: Personal Story Arc: How to turn a life event into a story. In this workshop, students will discuss how and why to pick key elements from their life to include in a personal story. There will be a short lesson, a writing exercise, and some sharing of newly crafted stories in a supportive environment. (90 minutes)

Meet the Tellers



Donna Washington is an award-winning internationally known master storyteller, artist-educator, and author who has been performing for audiences of all ages for over thirty-five years. She is renowned for her storytelling for both children & adults from poignant & funny fables about the human condition to racy relationships stories to spine-tingling tales of terror. She has been featured at numerous festivals, schools & libraries, theaters and other venues around the world including Canada, Peru, Argentina & Hong Kong. During the pandemic, she has presented over two hundred shows & workshops virtually online. In 2020, she co-founded the non-profit organization Artists Standing Strong Together with Master Storyteller Sheila Arnold for which they won a 2021 Oracle Award.

Donna’s eleven storytelling CDs have garnered thirty national awards. She has authored numerous articles about storytelling and education including her very popular blog Language, Literacy & Storytelling. She is also the author of five children’s books: Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa, A Pride of African Tales, The Story of Kwanzaa, A Big Spooky House, and award winning Boo Stew. Peachtree Press is scheduled to publish her next picture book, Prak Fills The House, in September 2023. She travels all over the world performing and giving workshops. She lives with her husband and two cats in Durham, NC.


Kim Weitkamp grew up in Amish Country as the middle child of exhausted parents. Labeled by teachers as high-spirited, uncooperative and too talkative, Kim took those comments and channeled them into a lifetime of high-energy, heartfelt and hilarious artistry. We are better for it.

She is an award winning storyteller, author, singer-songwriter and humorist. After using applied storytelling in her work with adjudicated and at risk youth for 12 years, Kim took a turn onto a different avenue of story and song which led her down the path of full time touring for the last 15 years where she gathered an armload of awards.

She performs regularly at festivals and theaters around the country, has written a well received folk operetta and has been a guest editor and contributor for various publications.  Kim’s material gets regular airplay on Sirius XM and NPR Affiliate Stations.

She has 8 award winning albums, has produced and/or designed  32 albums for other performers and has  hosted a morning show for a DOVE Award winning radio network. She has been honored with leadership and speaking awards for her coaching/speaking work with internationally known companies like  Purina, Leibherr, Grifols, and Edward Jones as well as nationally recognized non-profits like, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity and Conflict Resolution Centers.  She is ranked as one of the top 20 business coaches in the Columbus, Ohio region by Influence Digest,  teaching the power of story to help  grow organizations and build teams.


MyLinda Butterworth is Totally Stories or that is what she claims as she brings stories to life as an award-winning author of nine soon to be ten books, small-publisher, performing artist, self-proclaimed queen of alliterations as she nears 1000 recorded alliterations & tongue twisters on her YouTube channel Totally Stories. Whether she is telling stories at festivals, schools, classrooms, conferences as herself or her alter ego the Lady Scholastica Joycors (a medieval bard) her stories capture the hearts and imaginations of her audiences young and old alike. She encourages her listeners to enjoy the journey as she stokes the fires of imagination and shares a plethora of stories from coast to coast, campfires to festivals for uncountable years. She has organized multiple storytelling festivals, as well as being the Dean of Performing Arts at Pennsic Wars for seven years where she organizes classes and performances for a ten-days each year for between 10-13,000 people in a Medieval Reenactment setting in NW Pennsylvania. When she is not telling or organizing storytelling events or telling herself she manages her small publishing company and produces her own learning video series on everything from candy making to storytelling. She is also the recipient of the Oracle Award for
service from the National Storytelling Network.
Website: http://totallystories.com


Lona Bartlett is a professional storyteller, puppeteer and educator who has delighted audiences throughout the U.S. and internationally for over 30 years. Degrees in education and a small-town upbringing in the Catskill Mountains provide inspiration for a long list of programs and presentations. No matter the genre, whether folktales, fairytales, puppets, or personal stories, Lona loves bringing excitement and insight to audiences at schools, libraries, conferences, festivals, corporate gatherings and special events.
Website: https://www.lonabartlett.com/ 


Paul is a natural storyteller. Utilizing an active imagination and original spirit he translates, creates and relates verbal imagery that is captivating and transcendent. He can entertain, teach and inspire. His original stories include Mara (a story of healing), And the Angels Sang (Christ’s incarnation), Mom’s Cherry Pie, 7 th Inning Stretch and Eight Shetland Ponies. Paul’s childhood in rural Michigan, his experience as a dairy farmer, a pastor, and leadership consultant provide a fertile background from which he styles, creates and adapts stories that can meet the needs of your specific audience. Paul has been active with the Mid Michigan Storytellers (MAST) and has participated in the Michigan Story Festival. He currently is part of Let Me Tell Ya’ and serves on VASA’s board of directors. He and his wife, Barbara, reside in Chatham, VA


Hettie Farley is an Appalachian American, who weaves her stories both traditional and“otherwise”, from the mountains, the sea and the world. She comes from a long line of storytellers; teachers, preachers, lawyers and insurance agents – all making their living with their passion for a good “yarn”. Over 25 years Ago, Hettie began storytelling in schools, churches, professional groups and festivals with focus on entertaining and igniting passion for those listening to tell their own stories. Hettie shares a contagious energetic enthusiasm that transfers to the audience.
Website: http://www.hettiestories.com  


Beth Ohlsson, is a storyteller who has created and transformed stories for 25+ years at festivals, libraries, private events, correctional facilities, and with individual clients. From tales of whimsy for children and families to historical narration of women through time, Beth brings to life the stories from which our vast heritages are founded connecting our past with our present. She is also an award-winning author of “Distilling Hope” and has a couple of storytelling CDs as well.
Website: https://www.bethohlsson.com/   


Jessica Robinson is the founder of Better Said Than Done, Northern Virginia’s premiere storytelling troupe. Jessica has performed stories for Story District, Tales in the Village, The Grapevine, Stories in the Round, Perfect Liars Club, and at such venues as Jammin’ Java, Epicure Café, The Auld Shebeen, Town DanceBoutique, and Dance Place. In 2018, she will be performing at Exchange Place at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN. Her short stories have been published in the anthology Roar: True Tales of Women Warriors, as well as The Northern Virginia Review. She is the author of the urban fantasy novel Caged, published in 2016.
Website: http://www.bettersaidthandone.com