Ancram, New York
Local culture
16 June 2017 12:51PM


REAL PEOPLE REAL STORIES – An Evening of Homegrown Stories
Told by Local Residents

On June 24, 2017 at 8pm, the Ancram Opera House will present five local residents in an evening of storytelling about taking chances, quitting jobs, finding what you didn’t know you wanted, real estate deals, a near-death fishing accident, and more.

Ancram Opera House Director Paul Ricciardi created REAL PEOPLE REAL STORIES in 2016. It has quickly become a popular, and sold-out, local event and is now a twice-yearly series. This is the third time the Ancram Opera House has offered the program. Storytellers for the June 24th performance are Lisa Morris (Gallatin), Sherry Weaver (Livingston), Darlene White (Pittsfield), Joan Galler (Ancram), Mildred Aksen (Ancramdale), and Ellen Thurston (Hudson).

Ricciardi says, “Storytellers sharing personal experiences with their friends and neighbors is the perfect way to kick off our second season. Our performance hall was built for this kind of program.”

Tickets to REAL PEOPLE REAL STORIES are $20 and are available online at ancramoperahouse.org or at the door.

Ricciardi has created a unique approach to assisting volunteers in telling their stories: “I don’t think audiences want a story that seems like a polished monologue. We want each story to be deeply personal but authentic.” Lauren Letellier, a 2016 storyteller says, “Paul worked with me to find what he called “mile markers” in my story — moments he knew the audience wouldn’t want to miss.”

In addition to serving as a director at the Ancram Opera House, Ricciardi is on the theatre faculty at CUNY/Kingsborough Community College. He is also a voice, speech and dialect coach and has designed dialects for countless college theatre productions and professional theaters.

The Ancram Opera House was erected in 1927 as the Ancram Grange Hall and served as a resource and meeting place for the region’s farmers. In 1972, the grange was transformed into a performance venue and renamed the Ancram Opera House. Over the years, it has been home to a ceramist, woodworker, theater and music performances, film screenings and, most recently, a weekly yoga class. In September 2015, Ricciardi and Mousseau became the venue’s current directors.

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