Internationally recognized storyteller Connie Regan-Blake has lived in Asheville for over thirty years. A native of Alabama, Regan-Blake began telling stories professionally as a young woman living in Chattanooga. After honing her skills performing for local children, she teamed up with her cousin Barbara Freeman to form a storytelling duo in 1975. Calling themselves the Folktellers, they left their jobs and began touring the country in Freeman’s pickup truck. The two women became popular performers at many festivals and other venues across the country.
Also in the early 1970s, Regan-Blake made the acquaintance of Beech Mountain storyteller Ray Hicks. The Watauga County native was a storyteller of worldwide renown, who received the National Heritage Award. On her many visits to the home of Hicks and his wife Rosa, Regan-Blake absorbed the folklore of the Beech Mountain area, learning many tales and traditions. Their friendship would last for the rest of Hicks’ life.
In recent years, Regan-Blake has been a solo performer, traveling far and wide to tell stories and teach workshops. She has appeared at Lincoln Center, the Smithsonian, and the National Folk Festival, and has performed at every one of the National Storytelling Festival’s more than thirty years. She has made numerous recordings, both solo and with Barbara Freeman, of Appalachian and international folktales.
A founding member of the National Storytelling Association, Regan-Blake has received many awards and recognitions. Among these are a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Storytelling Network, a Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Association, and the 1985 Performer of the Year title at Asheville’s Mountain Dance and Folk Festival.
Connie Regan-Blake is available to tell stories in a variety of venues and to teach workshops on storytelling.
Connie Regan-Blake tells a Jack Tale she learned from master storyteller Ray Hicks.