2/5/2011 12:30:00 PM Telling stories that reflect heritage of southern Ohio, starting with the Welsh
Photo By Barbara Summers
“Stories Worth Tellin’” is a new initiative that seeks to capture the best of the region’s heritage through first person accounts translated into theatrical performances. The first emphasis is on the Welsh. Pictured at a January 31 meeting at the Markay Cultural Arts Center are: left to right: seated: Welsh exchange students currently at the University of Rio Grande, Dion Jones, Ceri Lewis, Elin-Wyn Jones, and Laura Thomas; back row: Madog Center Director Jeanne Jones Jindra, Rio Director of Cultural Advancement Dr. Greg Miller, and 2011 Davis Intern Lucy Hannah Thomas.
The University of Rio Grande and the Madog Center are heading up an ambitious new project designed to focus on the personal dignity that defines the heritage of those who live in these southern Ohio hills.
Termed "Stories Worth Tellin'," this initiative kicked off January 31 with a meeting at the Markay Cultural Arts Center, Jackson.
Dr. Greg Miller, Rio's Director of Cultural Advancement and Jackson County native, has joined forces with another Jackson Countian, Jeanne Jones Jindra, Director of the Madog Center, to launch this project that could last forever.
Working closely with Miller and Jones are Madog Intern Lucy Hannah Thomas from Wales and 4 exchange students from Trinity College in Carmarthen, Wales.
The strong Welsh influence certainly means the initial focus is on those who moved from their native Wales and established the strong presence that continues here to the current time.
In fact, the 4 exchange students are at Rio only through Spring semester and are well on their way to stitching together a series of personal stories, gathered locally, which they will perform before departing.
During the January 31 meeting, students were brimming over with excitement about the things they have learned to date. They are eager to learn more as they shape the Appalachian tales into a production.
"All of these stories are focused around the theme of personal dignity," Miller commented, "They are stories that tell a message and give a sense of the lessons that were learned."
Among those joining Miller and Jindra at the Markay were Clyde Evans, Ben Forshey, Pam Steele, and Thomas Barnett. Currently working on his Masters in Storytelling at University of Finley, Barnett has begun an "Appalachian Ohio Storytelling Project." He tours weekends with his own performances.
Miller, who has built a reputation for creating such theatrical pieces as "Out of the Red Brush," assures the public that "Stories Worth Tellin" may be starting with the Welsh, but will definitely branch out to all the national heritages that define the southern Ohio character.
Stories of every kind are wanted, Miller told the group. He hopes tales from the Underground Railroad will emerge as well as vignettes from the one room school houses that dotted the landscape, gritty details of the travails of early settlers, or some of the legendary political escapades. If you have stories, Miller and Jindra hope you will share them.
You can reach them through Rio at 1-800-282-7201 or better yet, come to the next meeting in the Jenkins Room at the Oak Hill Public Library, February 9 at 6:30 p.m.