At the ripe age of 5, Dolores Hydock was already fascinated by the power of words and the 26 letters comprising them.
Growing up surrounded by books and stories, it was no surprise when the 5-year-old won her first storytelling contest in Reading, Penn., by reciting the Grimm Brother’s fairytale “Clever Gretel” or when her second-grade teachers escorted her from classroom to classroom to perform for her peers.
“All through grade school I was always writing little puppet shows or telling little stories,” Hydock said with a laugh. “It was always a part of my life.”
From debate club to the theatre, Hydock always found outlets to pursue her passion, but it wasn’t until she found herself living in Irondale, Ala., that she discovered a completely different kind of story—the sitting-on-a-porch-rocking kind of story.
They were the stories about real life—about Fourth of July picnics and holiday adventures—and Hydock said this new found knowledge helped her develop a technique all her own.
“My style is a combination of acting and storytelling. That’s what I began to do and then began to write some of my stories,” Hydock said. “I think storytellers tell the stories they need to hear. I know that’s true for me, so a lot of stories I tell are about forgiveness, hope and people who have done amazing things.”
The personal connections she makes with people are one of her favorite aspects of storytelling, she said. Recently, one of said connections was working with RMTC Executive Director Keith Cromwell on the reopening of the Lyric Theatre in January.
“I really loved the way Keith worked. I loved his enthusiasm. I loved his energy and curiosity about all kinds of possibilities, all kinds of art forms,” Hydock said. “He seemed to look at every person in the show, not just me, in terms of how do I best evoke what this person can bring to this.”
Because RMTC is well known for its musicals, Hydock said she never thought she and Cromwell would have the opportunity to work together again, but he had other ideas. After learning about her unique artistic style, Cromwell invited Hydock to share her stories as part of RMTC’s new @ the Cabaret series.
“It’s just a chance to take stories I love, about people I am eager to talk about, in a space that’s warm and inviting,” Hydock said. “I’m excited, and I think it’s going to be a good compliment to the other things going on there.”
In her first of three upcoming performances, Hydock will take audiences through some of her “close encounters” as a storyteller, including a cooking lesson from Kathryn Tucker Windham, a hair-raising adventure with Dr. Ruth and more.
RMTC’s @ the Cabaret series was developed to expose audiences to unique theatrical productions that provoke thought, emotion, and discovery. RMTC is dedicated to enriching, educating, and engaging our community through shows that are distinctively Birmingham and definitely Broadway.
Audiences can enjoy Close Encounters of the Storytelling Kind, one of Hydock’s many original works, at the RMTC Cabaret Theatre Oct. 29-30 at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively. Tickets are available at RedMountainTheatre.org.
For more information, visit RedMountainTheatre.org or Storypower.com