Storytellers and Debbie Weil take a final bow at the end of Island Women Speak 2019. (Courtesy of Dan Rajter)

A new, reimagined take on a beloved Deer Isle storytelling event

DEER ISLE — ISLE Theater Company announces Downeast Speaks, a new community storytelling event, to be presented live at the Reach Performing Arts Center in Deer Isle on Friday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m.

Directed by Debbie Weil and Marvin Merritt IV, Downeast Speaks reimagines the popular Island Women Speak, originally conceived by Weil in 2017, to include storytellers of multiple gender identities and generations from both Deer Isle-Stonington and the Blue Hill Peninsula. Seven storytellers from seven towns will answer the question that many hesitate to ask but are ever-curious to know: “what is your biggest secret?”

“Downeast Maine has always had a strong storytelling culture,” said Merritt, the founding artistic & executive director of ISLE and generational islander. “Debbie and I are excited to provide a platform for these seven unique voices.”

This past August, Merritt directed the original medieval-period comedy Playing Mercury at Horsepower Farm in Penobscot. The production brought together nearly 700 people over eight evenings.

Weil, an author and writing coach with over 40 years of experience, has directed five iterations of the original all-women event, and she is thrilled to partner with Merritt and ISLE on Downeast Speaks. “We all know that living in a small community means keeping some things under wraps. To hear a diverse group of storytellers ‘bare it all’ will be so inspiring.”

The seven storytellers are: Torsten Magnus Peterson, 23, Sedgwick; Alexander Turanski, 27, Penobscot; Johnson Boyce, 31, Deer Isle; Carla Guenther, 47, Stonington; Sarah Pebworth, 57, Blue Hill; Sophie Spurr, 71, Brooksville; and Jon Wilson, 78, Brooklin.

“It’s our hope that, through this event, we’ll get to know our neighbors better and bring all of our communities closer together,” added Merritt.

Join us for this evening of surprising revelations, warmth, and humor. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased online at