A time for terrific tall tales and some Arizona history

Don Doyle

Photo by Andy Towle. |

Don Doyle


Once again fans of old-fashioned story telling will flock to Pine Community Center the Saturday before Thanksgiving for Tellabration.

Tellabration is a worldwide benefit evening of storytelling. Its originator J. G. Pinkerton envisioned this international event as a means of building community support for storytelling. In 1988 the event was launched by the Connecticut Storytelling Center in six locations across the state. A great success, Tellabration extended to several other states the following year, and then, in 1990, expanded nationwide under the umbrella of the National Storytelling Network.

In 1995, for the first time, there was a Tellabration in Japan. By 1997, there were Tellabration events on every continent but Antarctica.

The event in Pine includes a meet and greet and dinner with the guest storytellers, followed by an evening of lively Arizona tales commemorating the state centennial.

The seating for the dinner is limited and costs $25 per person. It starts at 5 p.m., with dinner served at 5:30 p.m. in the community center dining room, featuring a menu of pork tenderloin, German potato salad, Caesar salad, a side vegetable, roll and sorbet. To make a dinner reservation, call (928) 476-6427.

The evening of storytelling is at 7 p.m. in the Pine Community Center Cultural Hall and will showcase the talents of Don Doyle, Doug Bland, Victor McCraw, Liz Warren, Dee Strickland, Dustin Loehr and Dorothy Anderson.

Admission to the storytelling event alone is $5 per person.

Proceeds will benefit the Pine Strawberry School.

About the storytellers

Don Doyle

Don Doyle is once again the host for the evening. He is a retired as a professor of theatre from Arizona State University and is now a free-lance director of theatre and opera as well as a nationally recognized professional storyteller.

Doyle appears as a featured teller and workshop leader at storytelling festivals, educational institutions, and as a consultant on storytelling for corporations in the U.S. and abroad.

He has received several prestigious honors since his early retirement from ASU: the Medallion of Merit Award from the National Society of Arts and Letters for a lifetime contribution in theatre to the State of Arizona; the Campton Bell Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (artists and educators serving young people); and after serving three years on the board of directors of the National Storytelling Association, Doyle received their Leadership Award. 

He helped to organize and produce the first six years of Mesa Storytelling Festival, and his Tellabration event in Pine is having its 13th anniversary this year.


Dorothy Daniels Anderson researches, develops and writes true historical stories, some of which she will share at the Pine Tellabration for the Arizona Centennial

Dorothy Daniels Anderson

Author and storyteller Dorothy Daniels Anderson specializes in telling tales about Arizona in the olden days. She researches, develops and writes true historical stories many of which are in her book and tape, Arizona Legends and Lore: Tales of Southwestern Pioneers.  She also brings her training and experience as an ariZoni Theatre award nominated actress to this art form.

Ms. Daniels Anderson makes her home in Phoenix, Ariz. She has a master’s degree from Columbia University and has taught history in the Phoenix Union High School District. She has been affiliated with the Arizona Historical Society as one of their living history personalities and has done performing community residencies for the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Her commitment to sharing the treasures of Arizona’s past goes beyond storytelling. She is founder and past president of the East Valley Tellers of Tales, an affiliate of a statewide organization dedicated to promoting and developing excellence within the storytelling community. She is an active member of the National Storytelling Network Association. She was a regional presenter at the 2002 Convention in Denver, Colo. 

Ms. Daniels Anderson has developed three of her stories into plays that have been produced at the Herberger Lunch Time Theater in Phoenix: Never Say No to Johnny, Untamed Women -The Flapper and the Puritan and The Tall and The Crazed -Two Women from Arizona.  She is currently a board member of the Metro-Phoenix Branch of the Society of Southwestern Authors, a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, and a member of Western Writers of America

She has performed before the Arizona State Legislature as part of their Territorial Day Program and has entertained at the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame Banquet. She has also performed at conventions, museums, colleges and universities throughout Arizona.  Her artistic goal is to continue to develop a vital and exciting approach to recreating cultural history through the art and techniques of storytelling.


Don Doyle

Doug Bland

Doug Bland is a teacher, writer, environmentalist and pastor at the Tempe Community Christian Church, a.k.a. “the Storytelling Church”. He has received awards for producing multi-cultural, interfaith storytelling concerts. He has initiated a worship experience called “Anam Cara: a story-based journey in search of holy ground”, wherein storytellers from a variety of spiritual traditions and ethnic backgrounds come together to tell the sacred stories they hold closest to their hearts.

Dustin Loehr

Dustin Loehr is excited to be back for his third Tellabration. Since his last appearance in Pine, Loehr has been busy directing, choreographing and teaching all over the Valley. In 2011, he graduated from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary arts and performance. While at ASU, he wrote and produced his first full-length solo show, “Unconditional, unconditional”, a mixture of myth and personal narrative told through percussive tap dancing. Since its creation, his show has been seen at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix and South Mountain Community College’s Storytelling Institute.

Loehr has also been busy as a dedicated father of two and loving partner to Caila. He is very grateful for the opportunity to participate in Tellabration once again.


Victor McCraw was not wearing a costume when he made the appearance at a past Pine Tellabration, McCraw has been with Arizona Department of Public Service for 27 years.

Victor McCraw

Victor McCraw is a resident of Peoria and a married father of two sons, 17 and 2, and a 4-year-old daughter. When he has time, McCraw enjoys hiking and outdoor activities and visiting family in Washington state and Alabama.

For the past 12 years, McCraw has been involved in storytelling through the South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute. He has been a featured teller at numerous events statewide, including the Mesa Storytelling Festival and the annual Pine-Strawberry Tellabration. 

He is a captain in the Arizona Department of Public Safety, where he has served for 27 years and the executive officer of the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy. He has served as a remote duty highway patrol officer and sergeant, an aviation paramedic sergeant, and a district commander and operational training commander.

McCraw is also a Franklin Covey facilitator and owner of Green Knight Consulting, LLC.


Dee Strickland is no stranger to the Rim Country. Part of her career in teaching was spent with Payson students. Fans know her as “Buckshot Dot”. Strickland is a native Arizonan and has taught history, drama, English, speech, art, and the gifted program. Strickland has been named an Arizona Culture Keeper and Academy of Western Artists’ Female Cowboy Poet of the Year. Her book, “Arizona Women Weird Wild and Wonderful”, won the Western Music Association’s award for Best Cowboy Poet of the year.

Dee Strickland

Dee Strickland “Buckshot Dot” is a native Arizonan and a retired secondary school teacher. She has taught history, drama, English, speech, art, and the gifted program.

Five of her dance folk operas have been successfully produced, three at Herberger Theater in Phoenix.

Strickland has been named an Arizona Culture Keeper and Academy of Western Artists’ Female Cowboy Poet of the Year. Her book, “Arizona Women Weird Wild and Wonderful”, won the Western Music Association’s award for Best Cowboy Poet of the year.


Contributed photo

Liz Warren is a fourth-generation Arizonan, a storyteller, teacher and writer.

Liz Warren

Liz Warren is a fourth-generation Arizonan, a storyteller, teacher and writer. She is the director of the South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute in Phoenix.

Her recorded version of The Story of the Grail received a Parents Choice Recommended Award and a Storytelling World Award. Her storytelling textbook, “The Oral Tradition Today: An Introduction to the Art of Storytelling”, was published in 2008.

She serves on the boards of the Phoenix Fringe Festival and the Celtic Harvest Festival Sedona. For the past two years, she and colleague Marilyn Torres have worked with the Arizona Republic to provide storytelling training for their Arizona Storytellers video series on in celebration of the state’s centennial. She and musician John Good perform Celtic stories, myths, and music as Mythic Crew.


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