SHEPHERDSTOWN — Storytelling is an activity that has become an event in Shepherdstown over the past decade thanks to the Speak Story Series.
Adam Booth is someone that has made a career out of storytelling, and the Speak Story Series is filled with events that he helps organize.
“Storytelling is one of those things that people know everything or nothing about,” Booth said. “Once you start looking, you realize it’s everywhere.”
The Speak Story Series has brought storytellers across the country and overseas to Shepherdstown. Events in recent years have made the series move online, but the quality of the stories have not lessons.
A recent visitor to the Speak Story Series is Carrie Sue Ayvar.
“Ayvar tells her stories in both English and Spanish,” Booth said. “She’s sought after as someone who can tell stories in both English and Spanish.”
Booth got into the history and process of storytelling after he wrote a report on the West Virginia Liar’s Contest for a class in university. The contest, held in Charleston each year, has participants tell a story that is made up or a lie. Booth participated in the event after he learned about it and won the contest four times.
“My favorite story I competed with was called the “Lower Wayne County Over 80 Beauty Pageant,” Booth said. “It was a made-up story about me judging a beauty pageant meant for beauties over 80 years old.”
Booth has visited almost half of the states as a storyteller, and in the coming months, he will visit California for the first time.
One of the events he is most looking forward to is the celebration of the Speak Story Series.
“We were planning a big celebration that has been halted a little bit, because we moved our events online with Zoom,” Booth said.
A concert is planned to celebrate the series’ 10th anniversary. Over 80 storytellers have participated in the Speak Story Series, and fans of the series were able to vote on who they wanted to come back for the 10th anniversary. They chose Elizabeth Ellis, who also served as a mentor for Booth.
“She is a storyteller that truly tells from the heart,” Booth said. “She understands the art of storytelling and knows how to work with an audience based on who’s there. You’re not going to hear a script.”
The concert is set to take place at 7:30 pm on Oct. 11 about Zoom. More information about the Speak Story Series can be found online at https://www.speakstoryseries.com.