An evening of homegrown stories told by local residents 

Ancram Opera House is excited to announce the four local storytellers for its popular series REAL PEOPLE REAL STORIES, which will take place on Saturday, June 25 at 8 pm in The Hilltop Barn at the Roeliff Jansen Park in Hillsdale, NY. Tickets are $25 available at or at the door.

REAL PEOPLE REAL STORIES is generously sponsored by the Copake General Store. The Hierba Buena Mexican Food truck will be serving dinner an hour before the show, and Copake Wine Works will be selling wine throughout.

Ancram Opera House Director Paul Ricciardi created REAL PEOPLE REAL STORIES in 2016, and now conducts storytelling workshops throughout the region, including an ongoing residency at Taconic Hills Central School District. 

“REAL PEOPLE REAL STORIES has become an audience favorite that we produce twice a year” said Ricciardi. “It seems that now, more than ever, people have a deep need to listen to, and tell stories.” 

The four local storytellers selected for this edition of the series are Mert Erogul of Ancram, NY; Vinny Granata of Poughkeepsie, NY; Sarah Katan of Claverack, NY; and Alix North of Becket, MA.

Ricciardi works with storytellers to help them prepare their stories for the stage. “The goal is not to create a polished monologue, but to allow the spontaneity of a real-life story to shine through,” he said. 

Erogul, an emergency doctor in Brooklyn and part-time resident of Ancram, will tell a story of working in the ER through the harrowing first days of the Covid pandemic. 

Granata, an actor, singer, director, writer, and recent graduate of SUNY Purchase, will tell a story about his love and fascination with paleontology through the years. 

Katan’s story is about how her deep love of maps has influenced her identity as a parent in unexpected ways. A perpetual teacher and nature lover, Katan is the founder of Whale of a Trail Adventures, an outdoor education and guide company.

North’s story is about a life changing experience during the height of the AIDS epidemic. A graduate of AMDA and The New School majoring in Musical Theater Performance, North is delighted to be back on stage and sharing her story as part of REAL PEOPLE REAL STORIES.

The Roeliff Jansen Park Hilltop Barn, where REAL PEOPLE REAL STORIES will take place, is located at 9140 NY Route 22, Hillsdale, NY, across from the Roeliff Jansen Community Library. For more information visit

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