Burn a Book at the Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival this Friday

Tickets are on sale now for the award-winning Eighth Annual Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival, “Fahrenheit 451,” this Friday at the Genesee Theatre in downtown Waukegan. Sponsored by the Waukegan Public Library, the festival features a 10:30 a.m. children’s matinee and an evening performance at 7:30 p.m. for listeners 12 and older.

This year’s theme highlights banned and burned books from history.  Acclaimed storytellers Megan Wells, Jim May, and Jay O’Callahan will perform selections from books that have been censored or targeted with removal from libraries and schools, such as “Don Quixote” and ”Arabian Nights”. In addition, selections from Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,” a banned book that is ironically about the banning and burning of books, will be interwoven through the evening.

The Festival will begin with a slideshow and commentary by Waukegan Public Library Director Richard Lee about his recent trip to Bradbury’s home in Los Angeles. Library officials traveled to California in June and October to assess, pack, and move 22,000 pounds of books, manuscripts, and personal belongings from Bradbury’s private collection to Waukegan. The Library was named as a beneficiary of Bradbury’s estate in January.

Starting at 6:30 p.m., pre-performance activities will include mock book burnings outside the Genesee Theatre and a police lineup photo opportunity with banned books. All guests are welcome to dress in costume or bring their favorite banned book. Information will also be available about the 30th Annual Ray Bradbury Creative Contest. Entries can include short stories, poems, photographs, and fine art created to express what society would look like without the written word. Deadline for entry is March 15, 2014.

Tickets are $17 for the evening show and $6 for the school matinee at the Genesee box office or www.ticketmaster.com. Library patrons can present any library card and receive $1 off at the box office.

For more information, call or visit the Waukegan Public Library at (847) 623-2041, http://www.waukeganpl.org/Storytelling-Festival.