Contact Anne: (503) 830-2398  anne@annerutherford.com 

© 2018 ANNE RUTHERFORD

Juicier Bio

Anne grew up in a little Pennsylvania town along the Susquehanna River, in a house with a grave-yard on one side and a cow pasture on the other. She first took the stage in at age 7, as a singing cow in her school Christmas pageant. During that debut she tripped over the boy playing the donkey and toppled the Holy Family. A future on the stage seemed unlikely. But, a few years later, she cracked a joke that made her mother laugh when there wasn’t much else to laugh about— and her delight in entertaining people began to bloom.

 

After college, Anne moved to Oregon for a year-long service program with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps:NW. The year ended, but Anne’s love of the Pacific Northwest had just begun; she’s called Portland, Oregon home ever since: bikes, coffee, slugs, beer, active volcanoes, rain, rivers and all. To viewers of the show Portlandia, Anne says, "It is all true. In fact, the show is understated."

 

In the early 1990’s, while working as a fiscal manager, Anne stumbled across a job description for a traveling storyteller. “People do this for a LIVING?!!” she yelped.  She explored the Portland storytelling scene, took classes and developed an idea for a three-part storytelling program for adults. In January 1999 she rented a hall, sold tickets — and enough people came that parking was a problem. Over the next ten years, she produced a series of solo shows developing a repertoire of original material. 

 

Along with performing for adults,  Anne volunteered as a storyteller at a local school to figure out the craft of spinning a tale for kids. She learned to play the mandolin, took improv classes to spice up her performances, and volunteered as a storyteller at a senior center to develop programs for older audiences, including those dealing with memory-loss. 

 

She also became an award-winning liar, despite — or perhaps because of — her Catholic upbringing. She is four time 1st-place winner at the Northwest Folklife Festival Liar’s Contest in Seattle, and took the grand prize in the NW Tall Tale Challenge in 2016. "Ask me how big my trophies are, " Anne says.

 

To her delight, she was eventually able to quit her day job and become a full-time storyteller. She is forever grateful to her first husband Ron Geitgey (1943-2012) for his whole-hearted support of her storytelling endeavors. When she celebrated her 10th anniversary as a storyteller, Ron said, “Another ten years and you’ll be an overnight success.” He was right on the mark; in 2018 Anne was invited to perform as a New Voice at the 2018 National Storytelling Festival, sparking a flurry of invitations to perform in Festivals across the country in 2019.

 

Anne performs and leads workshops across the country as a solo performer and as a duo with her husband, storytellerNorm Brecke. Norm and Anne met through storytelling, married in 2016 and live in a bright blue house by the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. They are active members of their local storytelling community through the Portland Storytellers Guild,and produce a monthly themed open mic. They are also active with the the National Storytelling Network and colleagues across the country. 

Through Norm & her first husband Ron, Anne is step-mother to a set of children and grand-children that light up her world and give her hope for the future. When she is not storytelling or attending to the many facets of the business of storytelling, Anne enjoys running at a dignified pace befitting her years, sewing, reading (mysteries, thrillers, classic horror and goopy self-help books) and laughing with friends. Oftentimes, at herself. 

Anne is grateful to everyone who is part of the community of storytelling, especially those who form its audience, because, as she says “Without you — I’d be talking to myself."