Creation tales to be spun at Story Swap

PORT ANGELES — Creation stories are all around us — and now, Cherie Trebon believes, is the time to tell them.

Trebon, one of this region’s best-known storytellers, is the featured performer at the next Story Swap at the Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St., at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The nonprofit Story People of Clallam County will host this event and will ask for no admission fee.

The evening includes the featured teller’s presentation plus an opportunity to participate in the open mic section.

“Because it’s springtime and life is returning, I’m doing creation myths and stories,” said Trebon, adding that she’ll visit a variety of cultures from Judeo-Christian to Greek and Roman and from African to Northwest native.

Trebon will team with Dennis Duncan, another storyteller well-known in Port Angeles, to do one of these.

“He’s been after me for quite some time to do a tandem tale,” she said, adding that it’s been many years since she was the featured teller at the Story Swap.

“Newcomers are always, always welcome” at the swap, Trebon emphasized, and when it comes to the open mic, “there’s never any pressure for anyone to tell a story.

“As storytellers, we really need story listeners. If you have just even an inkling to find what we’re all about, the monthly event is a good way. You get to hear a variety of styles. For people who like theater or any kind of art form, this is a golden opportunity.”

The swap starts out at 7 p.m. with the featured teller. At about 7:45 p.m., there is a refreshment break, and then comes the open mic portion for anyone to step up and recite a short tale.

Along with the swaps at the Port Angeles Library, the Story People of Clallam County will host its first International Story Slam next month: On May 18, the slam will debut at Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave. in Sequim. Information about such events awaits at ClallamStoryPeople.org.

“It feels good to get back,” Trebon said of her gig Tuesday.

She’ll be fresh from the Fanning the Embers storytelling retreat near Hoodsport, an annual gathering she attends with a small group of tellers.

Trebon, who has performed at such major events as Seattle’s Northwest Folklife Festival, won the National Storytelling Network’s Oracle Award for the Pacific region in 2015.

She also served as director of the Forest Storytelling Festival, a gathering of tellers from around the world every October in Port Angeles, from 2005 through 2014.

She got her start at a story swap some 30 years ago — where, as she presented her tale, she nervously backed farther and farther away from her audience.

“I actually hit the wall, I was so scared,” she recalled.

Since then, Trebon has only fallen deeper in love with the act of story sharing.

“I want to entertain and educate. That’s a powerful mix,” she said.

“Stories are fun. But they also are, in most cases, trying to say something that’s important.”