Let the magic of storytelling transport you to another time and place

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Storyteller Barry McWilliams strikes a pose
on the stage setting he helped to construct
Text and Photos by Luanne Brown

Looking for a truly unique experience Saturday? Then, don’t miss the Seattle Storytellers Guild Epic Storytelling: 1001 Nights – Tales of the Middle East.

This event started Friday night and continues Saturday from 1pm through the evening at the Shoreline Unitarian Church, 14724 1st Ave. NE Shoreline 98155.

For this event 32 storytellers from California, Oregon, Washington, and Canada have gathered to weave their own versions of some of the tales told by Shahrazad, the bride of a Sultan in a faraway land, in a time long ago.

Allice Bernards from Penticton, B.C.
 tells the tale of Scheherazade

Shahrazad, as the story goes, knew her husband planned on killing her the morning after their marriage.

She contrived to keep herself alive by telling a story that so captured her husband’s attention, he postponed her execution so that she could tell him another. And she did this for 1001 nights.

Friday night, Afifi Durr, of the Seattle Storytellers Guild and the Briarcrest Neighborhood Association, opened the proceedings by giving the audience a short Arabic lesson.

“As-salamu alaykum”, roughly translated means, ‘The peace be upon you’ and is said to welcome someone.

The person being greeted replies, ‘Wa alaykumu s-salam’ which means, ‘and peace to you’.
Afifi Durr teaches the crowd
to great each other warmly
in Arabic

Durr, originally from Lebanon, is one of the event organizers. Her passion is to tell stories that bring people together.

 “Each one of us has a story in our heart. My story is to build bridges between East and West.”

Following Durr’s welcome was the mood-inducing Oud music by accomplished player Victor Samwel. His songs transported the audience to distant shores and opened their ears for the tantalizing tales that followed.

Saturday’s program includes a performance by the Shahrazad Dance Ensemble, which is celebrating their 40th anniversary.

Victor Samwel's beautiful oud music
sets the stage for the enchanting
stories to come
Several story tellers will perform throughout the day and evening. Delicious Middle-Eastern cuisine will also be available for lunch and dinner. 

According to Barry McWilliams, President of the Seattle Storytelling Guild, the guild was founded in 1982 to promote the art of storytelling for adults as well as children. 

“Storytelling is an age-old art that is still relevant today,” he said.

Sponsors for this event include the Seattle Storytellers Guild partnering with Briarcrest Neighborhood Association, with Arabfestival WAShoreline/Lake Forest Park Arts Council and 4Culture who also gave grants to support this event.

Suggested donations at the door are $15 per evening per person, $20 for afternoon events, and a $25 family rate for afternoons. No one will be turned away.

The event is being held at the Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church, 14724 1st Ave NE, Shoreline 98155.


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