News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: December 2, 2002 (02-74)
Contact: Dave Willingham, 240-567-7970; Pager: 301-930-0972
               Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

Montgomery College Women’s Speaker Series
Features Storyteller Kathy McGregor
Well-Received Series Moves to Takoma Park Black Box Theater December 10

          Coming off two standing-room-only events, the Montgomery College Women’s Speaker Series for 2002-2003 presents Silver Spring storyteller Kathy McGregor at the Black Box Theater Tuesday, December 10 at 7 p.m.  The theater is located on the College’s Takoma Park Campus at 7600 Takoma Avenue.

           “Storytelling is an exciting medium because it gets people involved,” said Dr. Esther Schwartz-McKinzie, women’s studies coordinator for the Takoma Park Campus.  “Storytelling  encourages people to imagine, ‘what if?’  And, that, of course is the first step toward doing.”

            McGregor’s tales on December 10 will examine the resilience of young women in the face of war, racism, and isolation.  “She is spellbinding,” said Dr. Schwartz-McKinzie, who indicated she feels especially fortunate to host this free performance for the Takoma Park community.  “Our audience is in for a real treat.”

            Earlier audiences for the series gave rousing approval to feminist pioneer Sonia Pressman Fuentes and Hazel O’Leary, former Clinton Administration Energy Secretary.  Both attracted overflow crowds to the Takoma Park Campus.

            Storytelling is distinguished from other forms of theatre by two key elements.  First of all, storytelling breaks down what is known as the "fourth wall" in theatre. The fourth wall is the separation between actor and audience. Rather than distance themselves from the audience, storytellers fully engage the audience, bringing its members into the performance as active participants and in some ways, co-creators.

The other distinguishing feature of storytelling is the artists' ownership of their own work. Whether they adapt a story that was originally created by someone else or create an original piece, storytellers are the interpreters of their own work and have the autonomy to be writer, actor and director simultaneously.

Kathy McGregor personifies the genre and is known as one of its foremost performers.  “Generally, I tell folk tales,” says McGregor, “but I’ve had some success with my own real-life stories.”  For real life, Kathy slips into her professional identity as Kathy McGregor, RN and serves as the Parish Nurse at National City Christian Church in Northwest Washington.

At one time, McGregor, a former hospice nurse, combined her two talents and traveled around the country using her storytelling skills to teach other hospice nurses how to prevent stress and burnout.  That was yet another experience that has brought her into contact with an exceptionally wide variety of people and informed her storytelling.

For more information on the Kathy McGregor appearance, please call 240-567-1367 or visit www.montgomerycollege.edu and click on Calendar.

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