Posting Date: July 5, 2011

KSU theatre chair awarded service and leadership award
John Gentile receives 2011 ORACLE award for Southeast region

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John Gentile on the isle of Innisfree, Co. Sligo, Ireland.
Photo courtesy of John Gentile.

KENNESAW, Ga.—Kennesaw State University Professor John Gentile, chair of the Department of Theatre, Performance Studies & Dance, was awarded the 2011 ORACLE Award for Service and Leadership for the Southeast region by the National Storytelling Network. Gentile was presented this award during the Texas Storytelling Conference in San Antonio on July 9. “I am very grateful and honored to be recognized for my work in storytelling,” Gentile says.

The NSN presents this award to individuals or organizations that have made a significant contribution to their storytelling community and/or have used storytelling to make a significant contribution to the larger community. Gentile has done both.

Gentile introduced the first storytelling class to KSU in 1990. “Storytelling has been a very important part of my life and I strongly believe in the potential of storytelling as an art form that has transformational and healing power both for the teller and the listener,” he says. Since then, the theatre and performance studies curriculum has grown to include a sequence of storytelling courses. KSU also hosts regular public storytelling concerts and features its own student storytelling troupe, the KSU Tellers.

Gentile teaches classes in solo performance, text analysis, storytelling, myth, performance art, and adapting literary texts for the stage. His directing credits include his original adaptations of major works of folk and literary narrative. Gentile’s work in adapting literary prose fiction for the stage explores the techniques of narrative theater. Examples of these works include his upcoming production of “Dark Forest,” an adaptation of the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and his adaptation of Herman Melville's “Moby-Dick,” which was presented at the 21st Annual Festival International de Theatre Universitaire de Casablanca and won “Best Performance.”

As the founding co-editor of “Storytelling, Self, Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Storytelling Studies,” the first academic journal devoted to oral storytelling, Gentile serves as the journal’s book reviews editor. Recently, he was the guest editor of the storytelling and myth special issue. In 1999, the city of Roswell presented Gentile with the President's Award for his work with the Roswell Visitors and Convention Center to establish the Roswell Magnolia Storytelling Festival.

Carroll Myers, former president of the Southern Order of Storytellers, nominated Gentile for this award. Myers cites a long list of contributions Gentile has made to the storytelling community, including his founding of the KSU Tellers, his recognition by the community as a great storyteller and his genuine care about his students and furthering their love of storytelling. “He deserves recognition beyond our local community,” Myers explains.

For the past two summers, Gentile has studied with leading Yeats scholars at the Yeats International Summer School in Sligo, Ireland. Projects for future seasons include a performance Gentile calls “Two by Yeats,” which will include his adaptation of the short story "Red Hanrahan" and the one-act play "At the Hawk's Well."


Gentile has a doctorate and Master of Arts in performance studies from Northwestern University, a Master of Arts in mythological studies from Pacifica Graduate Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in dramatic arts and English from the State University of New York at Geneseo.


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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 70 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including new doctorates in education, business and nursing. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of more than 22,500 from 142 countries.

The KSU College of the Arts is one of only four Georgia institutions to have achieved full national accreditation for all of its arts departments.


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