Many years ago, Alan Irvine worked as a camp counselor in the Louisiana pine woods. One night, after lights out, he needed to do something to pass the time until the kids in the cabin fell asleep. Thinking back, he remembered a ghost story he heard years ago. When he told the story, something clicked; the kids in the cabin liked it and clamored for more. From that point on, Alan continued to tell stories in the cabin after lights out, around bonfires, while out on camping trips.
For years, Alan's ghost stories and humorous tales kept everyone huddled close to the campfire. In time, his repertoire of stories grew to include folk tales and legends, as well as his own fantasy tales. He moved north to Pittsburgh in 1984, and continued to expand his repertoire and to hone his craft.
Alan tells his tales at many diverse venues. He is an Outreach performer for the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. He appears at elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the year, as well as at colleges and universities. For libraries he creates Summer Reading Club programs for kids, ghost stories for teens, and tales of Pennsylvania history and current events for adults. He performs at numerous festivals, including the Three Rivers Storytelling Festival, the Toronto Festival of Storytelling, and the Smoky Mountain Storytelling Festival. He performed Shakespearian stories for the Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival and western Pennsylvania historical stories for the National Pike Festival, the Ligonier Valley Historical Society and others. He has appeared at Renaissance Festivals, Irish Festivals, science fiction conferences, and on the Saturday Light Brigade radio show and web cast.
In addition to performing, Alan teaches workshops and classes on storytelling. In 1988, he help found the storytelling group StorySwap. He has produced numerous storytelling shows, and was the chair of the 2006 National Storytellers Conference, held in Pittsburgh. Alan has numerous recordings, several of which have won Storytelling World and NAPPA awards.
Alan also leads walking tours of Pittsburgh. He works with Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks, where he tells stories of Shakespeare's plays, as well as hosting the popular Bring Your Own Bard reading series. He directed PSIP's 2012 production of The Tempest.