The Jack Tales

Jonesborough Repertory Theatre (JRT) proudly presents THE JACK TALES by Rex Stephenson.

JRT’s production of THE JACK TALES, by R. Rex Stephenson competed at the Tennessee Theatre Association statewide competition on Oct. 28th in Johnson City. The cast was awarded “BEST ENSEMBLE” by the American Association of Community Theatre. JRT was the only children’s theatre production in the community theatre competition. We are very proud of our JACK PLAYERS!! If you are interested in having THE JACK TALES perform at your school or special event, please call 423-791-4440.

jonesborough repertory theatre jack talesThe Jack Tales have probably been made most popular by Folklorist Richard Chase (1904–1988), who has been called the man "most responsible for the renaissance of Appalachian storytelling." Chase was a collector of tales that have been handed down from generation to generation in the Appalachian regions of the United States.

"Many of us remember the stories of Jack from our childhood – told before bed or by our school librarian," says JRT Artistic Director, Kathleen Buttolph. "We may also remember coming to the Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough and hearing of Jack’s adventures spun by storytellers such as Jackie Torrence or Ray Hicks."

The Jack Tale players have been performing since 1975, when Rex Stephenson, a professor at Ferrum College in Virginia, received a grant to take traditional Jack Tales and put them in dramatic form for children. The first Jack Tale player production was performed in an elementary school hallway. Since that performance in 1975, Stephenson’s Jack Tales have been seen by more than half a million people - 2,500 performances in thirty-four states and in England.

jack tales perfomersThe Jonesborough Repertory Theatre Jack Tale Players include Isaac Bates, Charity Bond, Cassandra Brooks, Mikki Churchwell, Alonna Donovan, Diane Harmon, Hannah Hornsey, Logan Lockner, Jeffrey Oaks, Rachel Ponder, and Lexi Turner. These talented young people have been working  on five of the most well known tales. Tales include Jack Fear No Man, Wicked John and the Devil, Jack and the Robbers, Jack and the Witch’s Tale, and Jack and Ol’ Greasy Beard. Holley Housewright is the production’s lighting director.

The students play a wide range of character roles - Giants, a King, a Witch, Jack’s poor Ma and Pa, his brother’s Bill and Tom, the meanest man that ever was - Wicked John, and many more……like Saint Peter! "Each student in the production has three to five characters to play," says Buttolph. "It’s a challenge that everyone has embraced."

This JRT production is fun for people of all ages and from all regions. It is high energy, full of action and non-stop humorous fumbles and stumbles.