Biography

“Hannah is a wonderful wordsmith, an energetic and articulate teller, with a remarkable insight into the souls of her characters.”  


Storytelling Festival of Carolina


“A deeply moving performance…humor as well as pathos”  


— Classical Voice of North Carolina


Five Stars ***** 


British Theatre Guide


“Very funny”


Theatre Guide London



“Her stories, like a family tree, draw webbed lines from the present deep into the past...with humor and gravity in the telling, Harvey strives to give voice to a contemporary Appalachian identity richer and more complex than any of the stereotypes about the region she loves.”


Blue Ridge Magazine

Dr. Hannah Harvey is an internationally-commended performer, a nationally-known professional storyteller, and a distinguished teacher.  She has performed as a featured teller at the National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee; received accolades for her performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland; and led intercultural workshops in Casablanca, Morocco.


Hannah grew up in mountainous northeast Tennessee.  Her grandfather inspired a lifelong passion in storytelling, and her graduate work in performance ethnography and oral histories brought her back to these family and regional tales. 


Hannah develops oral histories into theatrical and solo storytelling works that highlight the true stories of contemporary Appalachian people.  She tells folk and fairy stories from around the world, particularly those that have influenced southern Appalachian mountain culture and the region’s Scottish heritage.


Harvey earned her Ph.D. in Performance Studies / Communication Studies at The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (where she was also a teaching fellow), and her B.A. from Furman University.  Hannah’s students selected her as an “Honor’s Program Distinguished Teacher” and for the “Alumni Association Commendation for Teaching Impact” for her teaching at Kennesaw State University.  She has also taught classes for Veterans Administration healthcare providers nationwide on storytelling and rural healthcare; for lawyers on storytelling and representation; and for pastors and rabbis on storytelling in ministry.


As a scholar-artist, Harvey studies storytelling as a pervasive cultural force and an everyday artistic practice.  Her research and teaching specialty is performance ethnography, which unites theatre with anthropology: scholars investigate everyday storytelling as an embodied cultural practice. She is a past president of Storytelling in Higher Education, the professional organization for scholars of storytelling within the National Storytelling Network.  Her DVD/audio course The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals (2013) is available from The Great Courses.


Hannah’s ongoing fieldwork with disabled coal miners in southwest Virginia can be seen in her solo show based on their oral histories, “Out of the Dark,” which she has performed throughout southeastern Appalachia.  Her initial graduate research culminated in a live ethnographic performance of “Out of the Dark: The Oral Histories of Appalachian Coal Miners,” earning Harvey a directing award from adjudicators at the American College Theatre Festival in 2007 and three year-end regional awards (Top 10 Productions, Top 5 New Plays, Top 12 Lead Performers) from NC professional critics in 2005.


As a solo storyteller, her performances as a regional or featured teller at festivals include: the National Storytelling Festival (Featured “New Voice” Teller 2012, 2010 Exchange Place teller 2010); Teller-in-Residence at the International Storytelling Center (2011, 2017); Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival (2015); Fusion Storytelling Festival (PA, 2011); Tunes, Tales, and Tapestries (NC, 2011); the Storytelling Festival of Carolina (2009), the Roswell Magnolia Storytelling Festival (2007-08), the Atlanta Storytelling Festival (2007); and various school, corporate, and national conference events. 


Hannah’s international performances as a member of NC-based Wordshed Productions earned a 5-star review in the British Theatre Guide (London-Edinburgh-New York).  She has led workshops in storytelling at the National Storytelling Festival, in the adaptation and performance of literature at the International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland; and in cross-cultural storytelling at Hassan II University Ben M’Sik in Casablanca, Morocco.


Hannah served for four years as Managing Editor of Storytelling, Self, Society journal (Wayne State University Press).  She was awarded the Dan Crowley Memorial Research Award in Storytelling Studies from the American Folklore Association in 2005, and her written work has appeared in Storytelling, Self, Society among other publications.  Her research has been presented at the National Communication Association, the Oral History Association, the International Festival of University Theatre (Casablanca, Morocco), and the Canadian Psychological Association on Gerontology. 


Hannah and her family live in northeastern Tennessee. 

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