Storyteller marries humor, history with royal results
By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Story time with Cathryn Fairlee at The Emerson Center in Vero Beach won’t be a time for picture books, friendly talking animals and sitting cross-legged on the floor.
Ms. Fairlee is a storyteller with more than 20 years of experience presenting spellbinding folk, historical and mythological tales to audiences around the globe. She will visit The Emerson Center on Jan. 4 at 5 p.m. to present “Queen Kateryn Parr Tells All.”
The one-woman show will take the audience back in time and across the Atlantic Ocean to the end of the Tudor dynasty in England. There, Ms. Fairlee will share history, royal gossip and songs from the perspective of King Henry VIII’s sixth and final queen.
Ms. Fairlee has been performing as a storyteller since 1982 and holds a master’s degree in history with a thesis in Chinese storytelling. She is currently the editor of “Storytelling” magazine and teaches storytelling workshops, among other things.
When performing as “Queen Kateryn,” Ms. Fairlee dresses in period clothing and incorporates accents to portray conversations with different characters, other than the queen.
Many hours of researching data available on the queen in history books and speaking with scholars went into preparing the presentation, including discovering how educated and clever she was, Ms. Fairlee said in an interview.
“She was kind, witty and educated. She was the first woman to have a book printed in England under her own name,” Ms. Fairlee said.
She was responsible for getting then-princesses Mary and Elizabeth reinstated into the royal line of succession, directed a war against Scotland, tutored Queen Elizabeth, survived the king’s anger and escaped beheading for heresy, Ms. Fairlee said.
Her presentation provides accurate history, but it’s woven with humor and gossip from the perspective of the queen.
“History isn’t about dates and places, it’s about lives and the people that lived them,” Ms. Fairlee said.
Queen Kateryn was the only queen of King Henry VIII to have known all of the queens, as she grew up in court, she said.
Telling stories is a passion of Ms. Fairlee and she is glad to be part of an age-old tradition of passing along a community’s culture, history and values, in an entertaining way.
Tickets to the presentation are $15 and can be purchased in advance online or by calling the box office. Tickets at the door are an additional $5.
For more information about Ms. Fairlee, visit www.sonic.net/~cfair
For more information about events at The Emerson Center, call (772) 778-5249 or visit www.theemersoncenter.org.