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Storytellers Derek Burrows and Mike Bonifer to Headline Festival

By CheriRae Wright

It gives me great pleasure to announce that internationally accomplished storytellers Derek Burrows and Mike Bonifer will headline our Storyteller Showcase on Saturday evening, October  18, at the Teatro Santa Ana. Our Awards Ceremony will follow, recognizing the top storytellers of the Festival, during which our Grand Prize and Runner-Up winners will each repeat their winning stories.

Derek Burrows

Currently a resident of San Miguel, Derek was born in the Bahamas where storytelling is a vital part of the cultural tradition. He studied music at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and for the past 30 years has performed with the international music group Voice of the Turtle, specializing in music of the Sephardic Jews.

He was invited as only one of four storytellers to the first National Book Festival sponsored by the White House and First Lady Laura Bush. Burrows performs in many settings from schools, libraries, museums, corporate functions, and community settings. He regularly presents at Storytelling Festivals around the world, most recently translating his works and performing in Spanish in Argentina and Mexico.

Burrows likes to ask what is the value of storytelling in the modern world of texting, twittering, chatting? Why do we need to have storytelling in our lives? He concludes that storytelling reminds us that the other’s story is our story, that we are not alone.

Mike Bonifer

Mike was born in Jasper, Indiana, and grew up, as I did, as a Hoosier. He’s a founding producer for The Disney Channel, the first to shoot Betacam video underwater (Splash, 1984), produced Disney’s first websites for motion pictures beginning with Toy Story in 1994, and is the author of books on the making of the studio’s films TRON and Dick Tracy.

More recently, in 2006 and 2007, Bonifer served as Chief Storyteller for Live Earth—Concerts for a Climate in Crisis.

Also in 2006, Mike Bonifer co-founded the business education company, GameChangers, LLC, which offers a curriculum based on improvisation techniques described in his book, GameChangers —Improvisation for Business in the Networked World, published in January, 2008.

Come early and join the celebration

To help kick off our evening, beginning at 6pm in the Santa Ana Café, there will be a cash bar and The High Desert Rangers will perform acoustic music in the Americana genre, including songs by artists such as Woody Gutherie, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Eric Clapton, and the New Riders of the Purple Sage. So come early, listen to music and mingle with our storytellers.

Many thanks for all your support. As the director of the first-ever San Miguel International Storytelling Festival, I’m in awe. When we started planning the festival, we thought such an event might find an attractive home here. We had no idea of the deep wells of support we would tap.

I think Derek Burrows said it best; “In a time when fear, racial tensions and international conflicts prevail, listening and telling our story reminds us that we are connected to each other.”


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