Jack Tale Players of Jonesborough, Tennessee

Directed by Kathleen Buttolph
Artistic Director of Jonesborough Repertory Theatre

September-October 2006 and 2007

Performances of The Jack Tales by R. Rex Stephenson


2006 Photos

The young Jack Tale Players painted their set in the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre.

The cast posing after the Oct. 7  performance, with director (in white, center)


photos by Tina L. Hanlon, 10/7/06


"JRT Presents The Jack Tales." From Historic Jonesborough web site. Sept. 2006.

The 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.

The 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 for the past two months 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.

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.

JRT looks forward to taking you on an adventure with Jack.


The Jack Tales were performed at Jonesborough Repertory Theatre from Sept. 29 through October 7, with final performances during the National Storytelling Festival.

In October these Jack Tale Players formed a traveling performance troupe and received an Award of Excellence from the American Association of Community Theatre at the Tennessee Theatre Association’s Competition held at East Tennessee State University. See their web site at http://jonesboroughtheatre.com/jonesborough-repertory-theatre-jack-tales.htm.

2007 NEWS: More performances of Rex Stephenson's Jack Tales as well as Aesop's Fables and Doc Doc Goose. Click on the theatre's link above for details.

"JRT to Present 'The Jack Tales.'" Johnson City [TN] Press 21 Sept. 2006. Article with rehearsal photo.

"Drama Classes Offered at Jonesborough Repertory Theatre." A! Magazine for the Arts, vol. 14, no. 1 (Jan. 2007). Arts Alliance Mountain Empire. Includes account of Jonesborough Repertory Theater winning award of excellence for production of Stephenson's Jack Tales, with photo of cast and director.

A Celebration of Children’s Theatre. Plays written by Jonesborough Repertory Theatre students performed throughout the weekend of Dec. 7-9, 2006 at JRT. Titles include Everyman Jr., Red vs. Wolf, Poultry in Motion & Jack Tales Too.

Oakes, Jeffrey. "It's Important To Like What You're Doing." Arts for Youth Spotlight. A! Magazine for the Arts, vol. 14, no. 10 (Oct. 2007). Arts Alliance Mountain Empire. Article by a young performer who has appeared in The Jack Tales, with rehearsal photo.

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This page's last update: 10/02/2007