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Hudson Valley to Present the Storycrafters on November 16

CONTACT: Steve Mullen (518) 629-8063
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Wednesday, November 6, 2002

The Storycrafters will host "Roots and Branches: A Storytelling Festival" on Saturday, November 16 in the Bulmer Telecommunications Center at Hudson Valley Community College. The festival is part of "Alive: A Celebration of the Arts and Humanities," and is sponsored by the cultural affairs program at Hudson Valley. Admission is $8 for adults, seniors and high school students, $5 for children up to 14 years old, and free for Hudson Valley students.

There will be several workshops from 2 to 5 p.m. in which attendees will be able to gain knowledge of the spoken word through participation and short performances. In the evening, the Storycrafters will finish off the festival with a special storytelling performance beginning at 7 p.m.

The Storycrafters, Barry Marshall & Jeri Burns, Ph.D., have been featured performers at storytelling and folk music festivals locally and internationally. They were awarded the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award in 1997 for their live performance videos, "Ladder to the Moon" and "Apples, Corn, & Pumpkin Seeds." They have been featured on "The Today Show" and the BBC.

Several world renowned storytellers with different backgrounds will be joining the Storycrafters at the festival including Brazilian storyteller Antonio Rocha, Jewish storyteller Peninnah Schram, and Peter Cook, who has been deaf since early childhood.

Despite his physical disability, Cook's work is much like performance art and his variety of stories and poetry is appealing to both hearing and deaf audiences. He uses visual vernacular, American Sign Language and gestures for storytelling.

Rocha uses his talents as a mime and storyteller to illustrate lessons from different aspects of life. Using the versatile yet simple nature of these art forms, Rocha gets the audience and workshop participants to activate their imagination through rich symbolism and imagery.

Schram, an associate professor of speech and drama at Stern College of Yeshiva University, tells traditional Jewish stories that are legends, parables and folktales from Biblical, Talmudic, Midrashic, Hasidic, Yiddish, Sephardic and Israeli sources.

Schram has authored several books and is the founding director of The Jewish Storytelling Center at the 92nd Street YMCA in New York City. She is the recipient of the 1995 Covenant Award for Outstanding Jewish Educators awarded by The Covenant Foundation. In 1999, she received The Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Network for "a body of work which is nationally recognized as a shining example of quality in the art form of storytelling performance."

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 11,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training.