Pamela Dewell –

DATE: April 29, 2023
Storytelling Workshop and Performance

STONINGTON – With the support of the Maine Humanities Council, Opera House Arts will be hosting storyteller Jo Radner for an evening of Yankee Ingenuity – Stories of Headstrong and Resourceful People and a free afternoon workshop, Family Stories: How and Why to Remember and Tell Them. The Saturday, May 13 program is part of the Humanities Council’s Maine Speaks series, developed to bring people together to share lived experiences in engaging ways.

In Yankee Ingenuity, Radner will share a selection of historical tales, both humorous and thought-provoking, about New Englanders who have used their wits in extraordinary ways to solve problems and create inventions. The stories are engaging and entertaining, but also raise some profound questions about our admiration of ingenuity and about the ethics of pursuing discoveries without taking their potential outcomes into account. The evening storytelling performance begins at 7 pm. Admission is $10 per person and free to Hancock County students.

The afternoon workshop will explore the secret to remembering family stories. “Telling personal and family stories is fun – and much more. Storytelling connects strangers, strengthens links between generations, and gives children the self-knowledge to carry them through hard times,“ says Radner. Knowledge of family history has even been linked to better teen behavior and mental health. In this active and interactive program, Radner will share foolproof ways to mine memories and interview relatives for meaningful stories. Participants will practice finding, developing, and telling their own tales. The afternoon workshop begins at 2 pm and is free to all participants.

About Jo Radner
Jo Radner is a storyteller for all moods. She delights in eccentrics, believes that humor and gravity are good bedfellows, and favors characters who shape admirable lives around unavoidable misfortunes. Jo has performed and taught from Maine to Hawaii to Finland. Although she tends to make stories about the people and history of northern New England, she also performs traditional folktales and her own modern tales and riffs on well-known classics. Her major stories include “Burnt into Memory,” a performance created from oral histories she gathered from survivors of the 1947 wildfire that destroyed the town of Brownfield, Maine, and “Braving the Middle Ground,” which juxtaposes Native American oral traditions and stories told by her own New England settler ancestors.

Jo teaches storytelling to teachers in Lesley University’s Creative Arts in Learning M.A. Program. She also conducts workshops for adults on creative storytelling, finding and telling personal and family stories, creating stories from history, and (especially for caregivers) on helping others tell and value their own stories.

The Maine Humanities Council, a statewide non-profit organization, uses books, poetry, and big ideas to bring people together to discuss issues of importance and create positive change in Maine communities. Their programs and grants encourage critical thinking and conversations across social, economic, and cultural boundaries. The MHC is a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and is the home of Maine’s Center for the Book through the Library of Congress.

Opera House Arts, a 501 [c] [3] nonprofit organization, was founded in 1999 to restore the 1912 Stonington Opera House, on the National Register of Historic Places, and its original purpose as a performance space and community cornerstone. Professional theater, movies, variety acts, music and dance, educational programs, and special events are offered yearround. Hancock County students are invited to attend live performances for free thanks to Opera House Arts supporters. For more information, tickets, and a schedule of upcoming performances and events, please visit

Jo Radner, woman with short grey hair, looks at camera.

Jo Radner (photo by Heather Kelley)

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