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Storyteller Irwin to perform 'Sister True' at Old Church

OXFORD — A one-man, storytelling show depicting the “New South” will debut in Oxford next week.

The Oxford Historical Society is hosting Andy Offutt Irwin who will share his new, storytelling album, “Sister True” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16 at Old Church.

“Sister True” presents the relations between black and white folks, domestic maids and the people who once hired them. The action of the story takes place in the present, as older women recall the past.

“I hope the audience walks away amused and with the deeper understanding of the New South. When I go to the far West they have these assumptions based on the what the South used to be, so playing at home will be a little bit harder since they already know the history,” Irwin said. “But I just want people walk away with that we’re all the same and have a common past.”

Oxford Historical Society President Erik Oliver said he first met Irwin when he was a camper at Camp Glisson about 35 years ago.

“His energy, antics, warmth, humor and downright supernatural whistling were enough to put a smile or get a guffaw from the most dour of curmudgeons even then,” Oliver said. “Andy’s artistic power to lift hearts has only grown stronger and more refined over the decades. I’m not sure if Newton County folks realize how much of a celebrity he has become. Hearing Andy tell ‘Sister True’ at Old Church will be a poignant, stirring experience.”

Irwin was awarded the 2013 National Storytelling Network Circle of Excellence Award and all five of his storytelling albums have won awards.

He has appeared five times at the National Storytelling Festival, and July of 2014 will mark his eighth year as a Teller in Residence at International Storytelling Center.

He has been a guest artist at La Guardia High School of Art, Music, and Performing Arts in New York and he has been a keynote speaker/performer at the Library of Congress-Virburnum Foundation Conference on Family Literacy.

The event at Old Church is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted for the artist in lieu of tickets.

If you go

What: Andy Irwin’s one-man performance of “Sister True”

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16

Where: Old Church, 1011 Wesley St., Oxford

Cost: Free admission, donations will be collected for artist