Jill Johnson, local storyteller and performer, traveled to Knoxville, Tenn. recently to perform at the “Haunting in the Hills” Storytelling Festival at the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.
“Haunting in the Hills,” now in its 21st year, is one of the largest free outdoor storytelling festivals in the U.S., with audiences of 2,000 to 3,000 people.
In addition to the festival performances, Johnson and four other featured tellers traveled all over eastern Tennessee and Kentucky to tell stories to students. In three days, the five tellers gave 62 performances and presented to more than 1,200 students from pre-kindergarteners to high school seniors.
“We were exhausted, but it was a wonderful experience,” Johnson said.
After the festival, Johnson returned to Jonesborough, Tenn., her former home and site of the National Storytelling Festival. She performed an excerpt of her one-woman show, “Rebecca: the story of Rebecca Ebey” at the International Storytelling Center as a guest (and former member) of the Jonesborough Storytelling Guild.
Johnson won the Huebner Grant from the National Storytelling Network two years ago for research on her Rebecca story. The grant, funded by the Jonesborough Storytelling Guild, was named for Carole Ann Huebner, a Guild teller and Johnson’s close friend.
“I wanted to bring my story of Rebecca Ebey home,” said Johnson.