By Johnnie Grant
Philadelphian Becky Stone and her husband moved to the mountains of western North Carolina in 1983 to start their family.
Once here, she also started her real life’s work as a storyteller who for more than two decades has shared her calling at schools, libraries, universities, and festivals across the region.
Becky earned her B.A. in Drama from Vassar College in 1970, followed four years later by an M.A. from Villanova in Elementary Education and Counseling. She also studied piano, voice, mime, and movement and served as a counselor in the Philadelphia School System for seven years.
After relocating here and her first encounter with a professional story-teller in 1987, Stone was moved to work in the same vein. With her background in theater, reading stories to her four children came quite easily, and when a librarian heard her reading to her children and asked Becky to volunteer telling stories at Pack Library, a storyteller was born!
That theater training has served her well, both as a solo artist and with Thrice-Told storytellers (which comprised Janet Oliver and the late Rocky Fulp), who specialized in African American history and stories. As a soloist, Becky shares a wide variety of tales and often sprinkles a few songs and audience participation into her performances.
“I am always thinking of my audience,” she says. “I want us all to treasure the time we spend together. I hope to make it lively, touching, meaningful … and always entertaining.”
Among Stone’s storytelling credits are appearances at Bele Chere, Tell It in the Mountains, Mountain Echoes, the LEAF Festival, and at Spruce Pine, Toe River, and Flat Rock. She has developed programs for the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching, and, working with the Center for Diversity in Education at UNC Asheville, she has researched, written, and performed shows about Buncombe County and Western North Carolina history in area schools.
Stone has also worked as an actor with Asheville Community Theater, Southern Appalachian Repertory Theater, Asheville Contemporary Dance Theater, Haywood Arts Repertory Theater, Montford Park Players, and as far afield as Greenville, SC and Lexington, VA. Her storytelling skills come to the fore in her portrayals of such central historical woman as Pauli Murray, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks, whose lives she reenacts for Chautauqua presentations in Asheville and Greenville.
Becky Stone is now in her seventh year teaching drama at Veritas Christian Academy, and she works with her husband Pat on publishing GreenPrints, a garden quarterly. They also volunteer for the worship team at their church and work on The Lord’s Acre as a way of providing food for those in need.