STS! Gets Curious at the Tucson Festival of Books

by Sharon O’Brien – Stories that Soar! Artistic Director

Another wildly successful Tucson Festival of Books has passed! I feel so blessed to have this amazing show of support for literacy celebrated in our community each year. Since the Festival’s beginning nine years ago it has supported our work here at Literacy Connects with thousands of books and dollars donated. I never cease to be inspired by the Festival and all that it has to offer, and I’d like to share some reflections (and images) from our small corner of the Festival world.

As many of you know, we put a spin our standard Stories that Soar! fare by creating a circus-esque show based on kids’ questions rather than using actual stories. This allowed the ensemble members to stretch their creativity by identifying and playing with the possibilities embedded in the questions. Not since working with Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind had we spent so much time conversing over, analyzing, and yes, questioning our work. To the audience it looks like all fun and games, but believe it or not, caring for our mission is serious work.

A few audience members from the education world came up to talk to me afterwards and commented on the impact STS! has on the kids. Another person, not associated with education, said he loved watching all the different dimensions of the project unfold. He saw the fun, over-the-top performances and how there were as many things for adults to enjoy as there were for the kids. He saw a group of very talented people who obviously possessed great passion and respect for their work. He saw deeper messages as truths were revealed (or perhaps challenged). Oh, and he said he laughed a lot!

I want to thank the Tucson Festival of Books for providing these types of opportunities for us to bring our work to the community. And I’m so grateful for the the hard work and strong reputation of Literacy Connects that makes so many things possible.

And of course, I thank my STS! family for braving the uncharted waters and the hot sun to not only ‘imagine what is not and what could be,’ but to make it a reality!!

Big thanks to Brendan Murphy for the following photos:
(please check out the STS! Facebook page for the complete slideshow)

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