Part One – The Script:

Every month for the StoryTown Radio Show, “We gather all your stories in a brand new play, Then retell it the Jonesborough way.” That’s what the StoryTown theme song by Heather McCluskey says anyway. But how do we do that? Right now, I’m hard at work on the script for “I Will Not be Moved: Stories of Perseverance.” This month’s show, which will take to the stage at the McKinney Center on March 25th at 7:00 pm, features stories about women’s history and stories about wild and wacky weather.

Halfway through every season, our StoryTown players, writers, and tech crew gather to plan the next season. This involves picking themes for each show. These themes inform the stories that go into the shows. But again, how do we do that? StoryTown has a group of writers that submit material. This group includes storytellers, published authors, and writers who are just getting their start. The stories must be based around the theme, and they need to run in the 5–8-minuteperformance range. The stories also need to be true, based on history. Many of the writers pull stories from their own lives. They dig into their genealogy to share what their ancestors lived through. Other writers come to our StoryTown archives here at the McKinney Center and select an oral history to focus on.

Then, the fun begins. I receive these histories back in unexpected ways, stories told from the perspective of the 1913 Washington County Courthouse, stories shared from the “branches” of Jonesborough’s oldest resident, stories that will fill a script that is performed by a multi-generational cast. There literally needs to be something for everyone. My job as director is to put all these stories together in a seamless, hour long (and some change) format, that includes commercials, any special guests, and our musical guest.

This month’s show includes a story from “Hidden Heroines,” an original play by local playwright Jo Carson and storyteller Linda Poland. It was funded by the Tennessee Arts Commission and based on oral histories collected from the hills and hollers of Appalachia. It premiered in Jonesborough in the 1990s, and we’re honored to have a story from the play in this month’s show. The March production will also feature Nancy Whittington Bell sharing a story from her book Clinch Mountain Girls as well as representatives from the League of Women Voters. And did I mention Momma Molasses will be on hand to share four musical numbers?

If that seems like a lot, you’re right. There’s never a dull moment at StoryTown. But how are all these stories going to come together in one show? That’s the magic of theatre and a live radio show. Get a ticket for March 25th, come on out, and see for yourself. Tickets are only $10 and are available at and by calling the Visitors Center at 423.753.1010.

Also, it must be pointed out that not all stories make the cut for the show. Sometimes there’s just too much material. That’s why StoryTown is launching a new podcast called the “Director’s Cut”podcast which will feature a story that didn’t make it to the stage but still needs to be shared. Keep up to date with StoryTown on Facebook, Instagram, X, and at to learn more about our podcasts.

The StoryTown Radio Show is sponsored by the Tennessee Arts Commission, Gary and Sandee Degner, Trivia with Budds, the Silver Raven, and Mountain Empire Cremation and Burial Services. The March production is sponsored by Allandale Mansion in Kingsport.

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