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Send these 3 Submission Forms:

Historical Storyteller Writer Agreement

Story Script Submission Form

Story Script Title Sheet


During the 7th Annual Center of the World Festival, August 14-16, 2015, our tourist visitors and community members will see storytellers become the characters of our historical past.  For example, you may be able to hear the tales of traveling over the mountain top by stagecoach in which the passengers had to “haul” the stagecoach over the ridges.  You may hear a miner chat about his mountain experiences.  A settler who came with the establishment of Fort Tejon may tell you how the Native Americans were moved off their land to make room for the “civilizing” of the mountain.

With the help of writers from across the U.S., the “Coming of Asphalt: Told Through Rural Storytelling Performance Art” will tell the stories of how the roads development changed the nature of our ecological environment from Chumash Native Indian trails to the largest and busiest freeway in California.  The Interstate 5 Freeway connects Northern and Southern California and the coming of this road linkage is an important event which forever altered the transportation landscape of California commence. This linkage also had an impact on the surrounding area which is an untold story. Through a Cal Humanities grant, this story will now be told through the lens of Environmental Humanities, an approach which examines the impact of human activity (positive and negative) upon our ecological home. (More information here.) 

“We want you to find someone who you have infinity for, and for their spirit, to create your story” explains Shelia Clark, Director of the Center of the World Festival, a nonprofit arts and culture organization.  “We are reaching out to writers who want to explore the history of our area and who will write the character scripts which local actors will perform.” Why storytelling as a way to present history? “People learn in different ways, and for some people picking up a history book is not appealing to them,” says Clark. “Through a portrayal, you can really bring it to life for people.”  She compares the character story portrayal to the familiar cocktail party question: If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be?  “We’re kind of doing that through these portrayals,” says Clark. (Further information on the importance of storytelling, click here.)

Joe Ladin, a local storyteller actor, recalls digging into the life of Peter Lebeck, one of the early trappers and the first recorded white person’s death on the mountain, whose grave was discovered at Fort Tejon and after whom the mountain town of Lebec, California, is named.  Through the “historical fiction” approach, he was able to take a one line death statement etched into a tree and turn it into a living character story about beaver trapping in the mountains and the death by bear attack suffered by other early settlers.  As Ladin explains the enactment process: “I’m not impersonating someone. I don’t need to look like that person. But I do want to have a passion for them and an understanding of how they think.”  (See story presentation here.) 

To prepare for the roles of local historical figures, writers will utilize the book “A View from the Ridge Route, Vol. 5:  The Roadways” written by Historian Bonnie Ketterl Kane, Founder of the Ridge Route Communities Museum and Historical Society.  Storytelling writers can further their research with the help of other books available on the museum’s website (Click Here).

The writers will submit their stories to be read and judged by the local community actor/readers.  Chosen scripts will then go into a storytelling competition during the August festival.  The audience will vote for the winning performances, and award Grant prizes, which will be divided between the story writer and the storyteller.  The portrayals must be no more than 8-minutes in length, and at least 5 minutes, in presentations that outline who their characters were, why they made certain choices, and how they influenced the development of the region.

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