For over 20 years, Gwen Caldwell has enjoyed sharing stories with groups of all ages at schools, libraries, festivals, and conferences throughout the country. Often using music and audience participation, she enlivens stories from around the world as well as original and personal tales. Gwen has developed a series of adult programs entitled, "Stories for the Second Half of Life," and recently recorded a CD of personal stories titled "The Lime Green Truck and Other Stories of Remembrance." Whether for young or old, Gwen loves to create programs that leave her listeners wanting more! A large repertoire allows Gwen to create customized programs for each booking. School Programs are made of story sets for each grade level with follow-up activities designed to meet specific academic objectives. Most programs include multicultural folktales, legends, and original stories. Gwen's orangutan puppet, "RubyLu," helps her tell to younger children. Adult programs can include personal, humorous, inspirational, and seasonal stories in addition to "stories for the second half of life." Gwen includes music and audience participation in most programs.
2609 Sherrill Park Dr.
Richardson, TX 75082
phone 972/231-4469; 214-497-9315
public performance/concert $250 - $1000
school performance $250 - $800
optional service workshop $250 - $750
optional service lecture $300 - $850
Born in Texas and raised in Houston’s Fifth Ward, Decee Cornish joined the military and served over a decade, traveling and attending colleges and universities worldwide. In the process, he experienced different cultures and learned their stories. Decee began to tell stories to disadvantaged and at-risk children at a non-profit youth facility, using stories to teach and motivate. He continued his work through the I have A Dream Foundation and the Stop the Violence campaign. In 2004 the President's Commission on the Arts and the Humanities recognized his work with the "Coming Up Taller" award to the Creative Solutions Summer Program. For over 17 years, Decee has told stories and entertained nationally. Programs include: "Fun and Adventures with Decee"- A fun, informative, and entertaining program about the folklore, stories, and cultures of people from around the globe; "Great People of Color," a secondary school program that shares stories of great men and women of color in world culture; special event/curriculum-related programming for Texas history, the Civil War, mythology, US history, tall tales, Black history, festivals, PTAs, traditional and non-traditional holiday events.
118 Beach Mountain Cove
Georgetown, TX 78633
public performance/concert $300 - $500
school performance $300 - $700
Storytelling and Pueblo singing were a way of life in Eldrena Douma's upbringing. During everyday activities family and friends shared pueblo stories, songs, and family history including the humorous and serious personal stories that life brought. Reflecting back, Eldrena realized that listening to story allowed her to strengthen and stimulate the use of her imagination and creativity. Stories helped her at an early age to develop her use of vocabulary, pronunciation, and sentence structure while teaching core values. The traditional songs gave her an appreciation of all music and songwriting along with the crafting of traditional instruments. As a professional storyteller and educator, Eldrena offers captivating stories of American Indian folklore, a varity of recorded music, and history titled "The People, Their Stories and Songs." A workshop titled "Imagineering" will focus on imagination, listening, and story crafting using quick creative thinking to develop a story. Eldrena also offers a lecture titled "Nampeyo & Lesou, Their Family Stories, and Their Legacy." Nampeyo is known in the art & history world for the revival of Hopi pottery and is Eldrena's great-grandmother. Photo: Katy Pair.
1420 4th Avenue, Suite #20
Canyon, TX 79015
public performance/concert $250 - $1000
school performance $150 - $1000
optional service lecture $500 - $1000
Raised in Appalachia in a family of storytellers, Elizabeth Ellis has shared her tales with more than a million children and countless adults in her 36-year career. A perennial favorite at schools and libraries throughout Texas and at the National Storytelling Festival, she is a recipient of the John Henry Faulk Award and the National Storytelling Network's Lifetime Achievement Award. A noted teacher of tellers and writers of all ages, she is the author of "From Plot to Narrative." Her work has been described as "invariably moving and amusing." Knowing more than 400 stories makes it possible for Elizabeth to create programs tailored to the age and interests of the presenter and participants. Tales of Texas, Appalachia, and heroic American women are much requested, but stories of Elizabeth's own life are arguably her best. Adult concerts include "Tougher Than Woodpecker Lips" (challenges), and "An Elder Is a Kind of Tree, Right?" (on aging). Children's concerts include "Tricksters and Troublemakers," and "Around the World in Fifty Minutes."
6218 Wofford Ave.
Dallas, TX 75227
public performance/concert $200 - $600
school performance $350 - $900
optional service keynote $250 - $700
Indigenous Cultures Institute
***Artists covered by this listing are Mark Standing Eagle Baez, Cuicani In Xochitl, Dr. Mario Garza, Grupo Pakal, Michael Heralda, Kathy Lynn & Joe Copeland, Emma Ortega, Aaron Pyle, and Ramon Juan Vasquez, Miltotiliztli Yaoyollohtli.*** Indigenous Cultures Institute (ICI) offers a variety of Native American performers including storytellers; flute players; powwow dancers; Aztec and Mayan traditional dancers; visual artists who work with indigenous materials, symbols, and concepts for educational experiences; and traditional singers. ICI offers demonstrations and workshops on Native arts and crafts, comedic performers on Native issues, and unique indigenous poetry. ICI artists are amazing, professional, inspiring Native American performers of the highest caliber. Touring artists include individual Native American storytellers, traditional singers, flute players, and visual artists, all of whom can also provide workshops on these topics. Performers dress in traditional Native regalia and describe the significance of their garb. Dance companies representing Aztec and Mayan culture, and powwow dancers are frequently requested by promoters.
600 Boulder Bluff
San Marcos, TX 78666
public performance/concert $100 - $3000
school performance $50 - $500
For almost 20 years, Donna Ingham has taken the ancient art of storytelling and given it a Texas twist. A college English professor in her former life and the author of six books, she creates finely crafted stories from history, folklore, and her own personal experiences. And although she did not set out to be a liar, she has been named the Biggest Liar in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and, yes, the whole state of Texas. Her stories reflect her native roots in the Lone Star State, and she chooses appropriate tales for all ages and stages. Donna will continue to expand her "Tall Tales and True" touring program, adding original lies that have now won her seven titles as the "Biggest Liar in Austin" and other stories that reflect the humor, history, and traditional folklore of the Lone Star State. She has begun to complement the stories with music as well. A flexible well-received program for all ages, it allows for multicultural elements and geographic scope.
1025 Coventry Road
Spicewood, TX 78669
public performance/concert $600 - $1200
school performance $450 - $900
optional service festivals $1500 - $3000
optional service after-dinner speaking $500 - $1000
Elizabeth Kahura is a native of Kenya, Africa. Living in the United States since 1995, she has shared the African beat with audiences of all ages through the African Safari program. A teacher by profession, Elizabeth educates while at the same time entertaining audiences through storytelling, puppetry, music, language arts, and hands on art projects. Schools, libraries, museums, and other venues enjoy her inspirational countenance, her displays of African artifacts, and her ability to build a bridge of understanding by demonstrating the similarities between cultures and traditions of Africa and her current home in the United States. African Safari includes 7 program choices adaptable to all ages. They include: A Day in Africa- highlights geography, culture, and lifestyle; Folktales from Africa- highlights stories, poems, and proverbs of Africa; A Jungle Walk- highlights the flora and fauna of Africa; The Rhythm of Africa- highlights story, music, and dance; African Art- highlights carvings, clothing, and instruments; Kwanza- a community celebration that highlights TEKS; and Embracing Diversity- workshops for adults.
5011 Daymon Court
Hutto, TX 78634
public performance/concert $300 - $1200
school performance $300 - $1200
optional service optional libraries $250 - $350
optional service optional service workshops $300 - $1500
Mary Grace Ketner
Once upon a time, Mary Grace Ketner worked as a teacher, then a director of religious education, and finally a museum educational specialist, but along the way, (I cannot say when) this goal-oriented M.Ed discovered storytelling, and off she went on a quest! She authored one children’s book (Ganzy Remembers, Atheneum 1991) and recorded two award-winning story CDs ("Ghostly Gals and Spirited Women" and "1001 Years of 1001 Nights," Three Swans Productions 2008 and 2010). A recent recipient of Tejas Storytelling Association’s prestigious John Henry Faulk Award, Mary Grace has been a member of the Texas Touring Roster since 2008. From Ali Baba to Baba Yaga, La Llorona to Jack, storyteller Mary Grace Ketner brings traditional folktales, fairy tales and legends to life. Her engaging story programs circle the globe, finding common ground in humor, love, courage, wisdom and-- yes!-- horror while affirming family and community values. Her interactive programs for schoolchildren stimulate higher level thinking skills as described in the TEKS and reflect each grade’s scope and sequence as well as its essential knowledge objectives.
Mary Grace Ketner
109 Fir Street
San Antonio, TX 78210
public performance/concert $250 - $1000
school performance $350 - $1000
optional service keynote address $750 - $2000
optional service after dinner speaking (storytelling) $250 - $600
Having been an elementary school educator for 32 years, and conducting several workshops integrating the TEKS and storytelling into writing, reading, and theater arts, Sue Kuentz excites youth audiences with her folktales and fairy tales from around the world. She not only continues her youth storytelling club in the schools, empowering each child involved, but has been the organizer for the Texas Storytelling Youth Challenge each year. Sue has been honored with H-E-B's Lifetime Excellence in Teaching award; has been named NEISD's teacher of the year; and was a featured Texas Teller at the Tejas Storytelling Festival, as well as emceeing and storytelling on their various stages. Sue's storytelling sessions are age appropriate, utilizing participatory tales for the pre-k through 3rd grades such as folktales and personal tales. She enjoys telling longer tales for 4th–7th graders, often using myths, legends, and historical tales that relate to their TEKS. The presentation ends with Sue sharing how to take a bare bones story to completion with the students using an iPad presentation, throwing in a few educational and fun apps to enrich writing and storytelling.
151 Saur Road
Bulverde, TX 78163
public performance/concert $200 - $1000
school performance $300 - $1000
optional service school workshops $300 - $1000
optional service education keynote speaker $250 - $800
Everyone loves a good story. Kim Lehman has been telling tales and singing songs for many years, first as a way to entertain younger cousins and now as a professional storyteller, musician, puppeteer, science educator, and workshop presenter. "I could not believe how well Kim kept the children’s attention. I laughed so hard at the stories and the nose whistle that I almost fell out of my chair. I needed that!" Known as the Bee Lady, Kim writes a column for a beekeeping magazine and is the founder of an international kids club called Bee Buddies. The Tales and Tunes program is a combination of songs, stories, sign language, props, poetry, puppets, and participation that can be tailored to each audience and venue. Possible Tales and Tunes themes are world cultures, pioneers, fairy tales, space, and more. The Buzz About Bees shares many interesting tidbits about honey bees with participation, music, props, and optional hands-on activities. All Together Now is an inter-generational program, bringing together children and senior citizens for a highly participatory program.
PO Box 2743
Austin, TX 78768
public performance/concert $250 - $700
school performance $250 - $1200
optional service workshops $250 - $1200
A first generation Irish-American, Tom travels the US as a storyteller, guitarist, theremin player, percussionist, and virtuoso ukulelist at festivals, conferences, and schools. He addresses comparative cultural studies, character education, memoir, problem solving, and creative writing. A John Henry Faulk Award recipient for storytelling, Tom accompanies his original stories, adapted folktales and Texas lore with humor, participation, and music to create an unparalleled experience for all ages. Tom was the US performer at the 2012 International Storytelling Festival in Sneem, Ireland. His children’s books include "Otis Steele and the Taileebone: A Southern Tall Tale" (Pelican, 2013) and "The Ghouls Come Haunting One by One" (Pelican, 2010). Programs for elementary and middle schools include: "Please Make Me Care– Stories to Make Life Interesting" (folktales, original and personal stories with music and humor, illustrating how stories make us and make us interesting: pre-K – 6th grades), "Sometimes You Gotta Mess With People" (trickster tales, ghost stories, Irish folklore, and historical tales of trickery and lessons learned: 5th – 9th grades), and "Cooperation Garden Time" (global tales of cooperation, bully prevention, and paying attention: pre-K - 5th grades).
PO Box 470593
Fort Worth, TX 76107
public performance/concert $450 - $1500
school performance $450 - $1000
Award-winning, awfully English storyteller, actress, and writer Bernadette Nason has studied all over the world, including Guildford Acting School. She appears in movies like "Miss Congeniality" and regional theatrical productions, and has performed on four continents. Nason believes the power and influence of live storytelling can change the world. She produces thrilling programs of multicultural folktales, mixing traditional telling with creative drama. Her many programs include ethnic world tales, holiday themes, and personal family yarns. With shows suitable for all ages, she performs in theatres, schools, libraries, festivals, and retirement homes. If there's an audience prepared to listen, she'll perform anywhere! Working closely with educators, Bernadette offer entertaining, moral-based stories with content supporting school testing requirements. With 30 years' experience, she has hundreds of stories available (and is always preparing new ones) but programs are carefully chosen seasonally for ease of selection and booking. Always available: collections for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Chinese New Year, African-American History Month, Valentine's Day, Legends of Texas Flowers, St. Patrick's Day, and Cinco de Mayo. Upcoming: "English Myths and Legends" and "Arabian Nights."
7933 Vinewood Lane
Austin, TX 78757
public performance/concert $300 - $1200
school performance $250 - $1200
optional service lecture-demos $300 - $1200
optional service workshops $300 - $1200
Jiaan ("Jan") tells traditional folktales, literary tales, ghost stories, and snippets from down home which delight and surprise audiences of all ages. A native Texan, Jiaan has been traveling since 1997, providing performances and workshops here and beyond Texas. Jiaan discovered her passion for storytelling and her talent for connecting students, teachers, and librarians to stories and literacy during her twenty-two years as an elementary teacher. Eight years writing lessons for the Dallas Opera reinforced the connections with storytelling for the TEKS. Jiaan’s inspiration currently thrives in developing new programs with her puppet Spike for all audiences, and expanding programs for adults. Programs include and are not limited to: "Supporting Literacy with Folktales"– oral language and reading; "Fun With Folktales"– requests; "Fun and Fright"- for student, family, and adult audiences; "Folktales in Pioneer Texas"- Texas facts and tales; "Ancient Civilizations"– myths, fables; "Honoring Those You Love"- adult audiences; and "Born to Read"– for the very young and their parents. All programs are created to ensure age-appropriateness, audience participation, and follow-up activities.
4060 Creekdale Drive
Dallas, TX 75229-5302
public performance/concert $350 - $1200
school performance $350 - $1200
optional service festivals $500 - $1500
Consuelo Samarripa shares her Mexican heritage as an author and through the performing art of storytelling. Her most recent book is Barrio Princess: Growing up in Texas. She conducts workshops for children and adults and offers other customized presentations like keynotes, after dinner speeches, and special events like literacy nights. Consuelo’s work distinctly relates her Mexican heritage with its important historical multicultural influence. Her unique storytelling style includes multilingual blends woven in multicultural folktales, folklore, legends/myths, personal, and historical stories. Props, musical "noise" makers, and special costuming with shawls enhance her presentations. Her repertoire of varied life experiences and perspectives, as a native and foreigner, relates with audiences of all ages. Touring programs like "The Cuentos Celebration" includes Hispanic Texas legends, personal stories, and creation myths or legends as they relate to Hispanic heritage. The celebration of cuentos or stories may also include European-influenced stories. The "World Medley" programs uniquely include bilingual blends, often including English and Spanish, German, French, Latin, and Chinese phrases. Photo: Bobbi Sale.
521 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd. #202
Harker Heights, TX 76548-1305
public performance/concert $250 - $1500
school performance $250 - $1500
optional service festivals, theatre $500 - $1200
optional service keynotes, workshops,speeches $500 - $1250
Don Sanders is a singer, songwriter, storyteller, recording artist, and novelist. Following early recognition as a recording artist, Don turned towards theater, acting, translating plays (Spanish to English), and creating one-man shows. He currently performs for schools, theaters, and festivals. An honorary board member of Kerrville Music Festival, he helped establish listener-sponsored KPFT radio, and has served on the board of Tejas Storytelling Association. "Cancionero," a coming of age novel, "Bayou Song," recorded and released by Lyle Lovett, and the CD release of "Tourist Revisited" are among recent achievements. “Wrenching Changes," a stage memoir, is next up. Touring offerings for children include: Sing & Move (interactive songs & rhymes for younger students); Cuentos y canciones (Latin American folktales & folksongs, bilingual); Sourdough Cowboy (authentic stories & songs of the cowboys); Siempre Listo, and Ever Clever (more Latin American lore, bilingual). For adults, Don can perform Wrenching Changes: life in the performing arts (a one man show of story and song).
1128 Cortlandt St.
Houston, TX 77008
public performance/concert $1500 - $3000
school performance $1000 - $1500
optional service one-day teacher workshop $1000 - $1500
optional service one-week residency $2500 - $2500
Toni Simmons is a dynamic storyteller and author who brings her multicultural stories to life with audience participation, rhythms, chants, and movements. Her book "The Cheese Chase: Why Dogs Chase Cats," is the winner of an IParenting Media Award and her video won the Parents' Choice Award. Toni's background includes work as a children's librarian, drama teacher, and actress. She has been featured at many festivals throughout the United States. She has performed at the National Storytelling Festival's Exchange Place and in South Africa, Germany, and Mexico. Toni was designated an NEA American Masterpiece touring artist. Her multicultural storytelling programs use rhythms, songs, and movements to enhance a variety of age-appropriate folktales. These energetic sessions use creative dramatics and audience participation. The audience is taken on an imaginary story trip and is engaged by helping to tell the stories.
323 W. Beltline Road, # A 4
Cedar Hill, TX 75104
public performance/concert $350 - $1500
school performance $350 - $1500
A member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Tim Tingle performs Native American stories for all ages, with music on his cedar flute and whaleskin drum. He has been a featured storyteller at festivals in forty-three states, including five appearances at the National Storytelling Festival. In June 2011, Tingle spoke at the Library of Congress and presented his first performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The author of twelve award-winning books, Tingle offers a variety of writing workshops. In 2012, Tingle was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters, an honor reserved for Texas’ most renowned authors. Tingle’s repertory of 400-plus stories includes, for elementary school ages: "Grandma Spider Brings the Fire;" "Coyote and the Rock," a hilarious Trickster tale; "The Bowl," a frightfully funny Navajo story; and (from Tingle’s books) "Crossing Bok Chitto" and "Danny Blackgoat." For young adults and adult audiences, Tim can perform stories such as: "La Llorona," "Trail of Tears," and (from Tingle’s books) "How I Became a Ghost," and "No Name." He also offers the full-length theater piece, "Clarence Carnes–Boarding School to Alcatraz."
4417 Morningside Way
Canyon Lake, TX 78133
public performance/concert $150 - $1000
school performance $550 - $950
optional service keynote $1200 - $1500
Twice Upon a Time Storytellers
Inspired by a mutual passion for narrative performance, Gene and Peggy Helmick-Richardson formed Twice Upon a Time Storytellers in 1999. They have since taken their stories to various venues, from preschools to prisons. This tandem team blends degrees in science and journalism; professional experience in living history museums and writing; and respect for creativity, cultural diversity, social justice, and the strength of the spoken word to educate, entertain, and empower both children and adults with their tales. But despite their commitment to spreading the gospel of storytelling, the opportunity to also spread laughter is never turned down. Gene and Peggy offer engaging storytelling programs for all ages, including "Different Ways to Make a Story," "Texas Prairie Tales," "Ghosts, Ghouls and Goblins," "Heart to Heart: Stories from Diverse Cultural and Spiritual Traditions" and "Worldwise Traveler: Legends, Folk and Fairy Tales from Around the World." Their "Strings 'n Things" demonstrates string tricks, folk toys, and games from early rural America. In addition, Twice Upon a Time enjoys designing storytelling programs for unique performances.
9003 Piper Lane
Dallas, TX 75228
public performance/concert $250 - $2000
school performance $250 - $2000
optional service workshops $400 - $2000
After 30 years of teaching, primarily in the speech/theater field, Dru entered the world of storytelling to educate, enrich, and entertain. She entwines music, puppetry, enthusiasm, energy, and story to create a memorable experience. Folktales, fractured fairy tales, historical stories, character-based stories, and original stories comprise a program that is adaptable for all ages. The presentations align with TEKS requirements in several subject areas. The keyboard, ukulele, pipe, didgeridoo, and rhythm instruments--coupled with puppets and audience participation--add atmosphere to each selection. Dru has presented in schools, libraries, hospitals, churches, and festivals. Touring offerings include: Texas Tales– a collection of tales, along with Texas facts, that have been “Texas-ized” to create a learning, entertaining experience; Folk Tales from Around the World- visits different cultures observing how traditions and morals are taught through indigenous tales and music; Animals Adapt- includes stories and scientific concepts of adaptation to nature by animals; Stories Your History Teacher Never Told You and Bullies Are Brats - programs that teach import lessons; Hooray for Heroes - explores character traits of heroes. Music and puppets accompany all programs.
2105 Holly Trail East
Holly Lake Ranch, TX 75765
public performance/concert $150 - $500
school performance $150 - $400
Bilingual storyteller Sue Young has delighted audiences at museums, festivals, schools, and libraries around Texas and the US since 1994. An accomplished singer and songwriter, she received a 2013 Texas Music Awards nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year. Her CD "The Legend of the Quetzal" received a 2007 Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award and she wrote the 2009 and 2011 Texas Summer Reading Club theme songs. Programs include Cantos Y Cuentos: Tales & Tunes of Latin America- a fun trip around Latin America through legends, folktales, classic and folk songs, and original bilingual songs; ¡Viva México! Celebrate Mexico- songs and stories from Mexico; Texican Tales and Tunes- cowboy songs, Mexican cantos, and stories showcasing the diverse cultural heritage of Texas; Songs from Texas to Argentina- a bilingual family concert; and Summer Reading Program– tailored to the presenter's theme and audience. Sue offers staff development sessions and workshops for adults, teens, and children.
PO Box 5786
Austin, TX 78763
phone 512/323-2414; 512-914-9553
public performance/concert $350 - $1750
school performance $350 - $1250