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Get week’s worth of Stories with Elizabeth Ellis

Elizabeth Ellis

From Staff Reports

Elizabeth Ellis, Jonesborough’s next performer in residence, will begin her weeklong storytelling residency with a nod to Independence Day. 

Her first concert at the International Storytelling Center — Tuesday, July 12, at 2 p.m. — will have a red, white, and blue theme. Ellis, whose father died in World War II and whose brother is a decorated Vietnam War veteran, plans to share a collection of tales on the theme of courage. “I hate to use the word ‘patriotic’ because it’s so overused,” she says. “But these are stories that are themed around love of country and what it means to be a citizen.”

The live concert will be filmed and streamed for virtual ticketholders later in the week.

On stage in Jonesborough, Ellis will offer daily matinees through Saturday, July 16. She plans to share a wide range of personal stories, historical pieces, and Appalachian folk tales. In addition to these 2 p.m. shows, Ellis will offer one evening concert on Thursday, July 14, at 7:30. It will be the first of several opportunities this season to spend an evening in ISC’s intimate theater, located on Main Street. 

That show, titled “Old Maps, New Journeys,” is about the comic tragedy of how we wrestle with our pasts and decide which parts to carry forward into the future.

“People often ask me how many stories I know,” she says. “And the answer to that is 400 or so. But no one ever asks me how many of them I would tell in a public place. I grew up in Eastern Tennessee and Kentucky in the late 1940s and early 1950s. There are a great many stories I know that you couldn’t pry out of my mouth with a crowbar. They don’t deserve to be remembered.” 

Over the course of the week, Ellis will share a number of old favorites from her large repertoire to complement the new stories she has developed over the last few years.

Tickets for all in-person matinees are just $14 for most adults. Any audience members who are new to Storytelling Live! can request a specially priced ticket for just $5. The discount can be used for any daytime performance in July, but it only applies once per ticketholder. 

Virtual tickets are also available, priced at just $15 per household, with the same $5 promotion available for newcomers. Ellis’s filmed performance will be available online starting Thursday, July 14, and remain accessible until the following Monday at midnight. 

The International Storytelling Center’s Storytelling Live! program is a seasonal concert series that brings storytellers and musicians to Jonesborough for daily performances from May through October. 

The premier sponsor of Storytelling Live! is bioPURE. Additional program funding comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Niswonger Foundation, ETSU, East Tennessee Foundation, Humanities Tennessee, Hillhouse Creative, Carol & Bobby Frist, the Norris Family Fund, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, and the Frist Foundation. Media sponsors include the Herald & Tribune, Kingsport Times-News, Johnson City Press, Cumulus Media, News Channel 11, WJHL 11, ABC Tri-Cities, and Daytime Tri-Cities.

The International Storytelling Center is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information about Storytelling Live!, including the full schedule, or to purchase tickets and season passes, visit or call (800) 952-8392.