Sheahan has been a central Illinois educator since 1991, incorporating
oral traditions into her multicultural programs at the University of
Illinois' Spurlock Museum. She added freelance storytelling about ten years later and has performed folktales and one-woman shows at storytelling festivals, school assemblies, city-wide celebrations, personal parties, and gatherings of all kinds ever since. Her enthusiasm is both unmistakable and
contagious. Let her share the joy and power of the tale with you at your next
Shake It Up Stories
July 23, 2016 • 1:00-4:00 PM
Free admission to the stories/Crafts are $2 per person
Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory, Urbana, ILThis is a special Zahn Learning Center Open Hours afternoon. From 1:00-2:45 PM, make shakers in the Learning Center, then join Kim in the Ancient Mediterranean Gallery for stories that show the many ways that sound can add fun to a story.
It's All in the Game
July 30, 2016 • 1:00-4:00 PM
Free admission (stories and games)
Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory, Urbana, ILThis
is a special Zahn Learning Center Open Hours afternoon. From 1:00-2:45
PM, come in and play games from around the world, then join Kim in the Ancient
Mediterranean Gallery for a strategic number of stories.
A Few Fond Memories
- January 11, 2014 • Spurlock Museum
I held two storytelling events at the Museum over the winter: an afternoon of giving tales in December and one of fun tales in January. We had people in for the events that had never been to the Museum before, and we all had a wonderful time! I've already decided to do this again next winter.
- Thursday, June 20, 2013• Tuscola Boy Scouts
Word is spreading about how much I love to tell at Boy Scout summer camps, and this year I got to tell stories for the Tuscola camp. The theme was "Knights in Shining Armor," so I told a knight and dragon story, a haunted castle story, and a story about a duck who becomes king. The boys were terrific! It's always great to hear an audience yell, "Tell another one!"
- Wednesday, June 13, 2012 • Scout Camp
For about four years, I've been invited to tell stories for local Boy Scouts during their summer camp at the Champaign County Fairgrounds. Each year there is a different theme, and it's always fun finding stories to fit them. This year, the boys were learning about different countries, and I got to tell on "Africa Day." Go Anansi the Spider!
- The Transforming Arts of Papua New Guinea
In the fall, 2009, the Spurlock Museum (where I am Assistant
Director of Education), displayed a wonderful temporary exhibit entitled "The
Transforming Arts of Papua New Guinea." The exhibit was a discussion of
how contemporary artists are using traditional objects and motifs to
discuss modern issues of unity and tolerance. I was very happy to have
included in the exhibit a computer kiosk where visitors could learn
more about PNG and the artists highlighted.
Also on the kiosk were my performances of three traditional
folktales. If you would like to see and hear the folktales, they are now online at http://www.spurlock.illinois.edu/explorations/online/papua/tales/index.html.
The Museum hosts a variety of special events each year, and
storytelling is often involved. You can find out about upcoming events
at the Museum's website, www.spurlock.illinois.edu.
- February 20, 2010 • Quest for Freedom: 1850s/1950s
In honor of Black History Month, Camille Born and I presented the program Quest for Freedom: 1850's/1950s. Camille started with A Rocking Chair and a Trunk, a story that chronicles the experiences of a family whose house served as a station on the Underground Railroad. I finished the concert premiering my newest historical program A Place to Live. In the program I portray civil rights activist Anne Braden, who, with her husband Carl, purchased a house in a white Louisville, Kentucky neighborhood for an African-American family in 1954. Their story is so important, and I was thrilled to be able to bring it to a new audience. I would love to do this program for high school students. To read more about Anne, visit http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0308-01.htm.
Reaction to A Place to Live:
"I thought your story and delivery were compelling. What a powerful story."
Kathe Brinkmann • Storyteller
- April 23, 2010 • Northlands Storytelling Conference
It was an honor to share the stage with some wonderful tellers and to perform The Tiger's Whisker, one of my favorite stories. Thank you to everyone for their kind words of support afterward. Special thanks to Karen Wollscheid, the Northlands executive director, for allowing me to share her review:
wonderful voice and delivery style lets the story be the star, not the
person telling it. In my opinion that makes the best kind of
storyteller. I hope to hear your stories again very soon!"
- March 12, 2011 • A Place to Live
I was so pleased to be asked to perform my one-woman concert on Anne Braden to the members of the American Association of University Women. What a great audience! Here is one of the wonderful comments I received...
"We were delighted with your performance at our Wine, Women and Song
fundraiser on Saturday. I've heard many compliments from the folks who
attended, and they appreciated the way you brought this serious subject
to life. It gave an emotional impact to something we understand
intellectually but haven't experienced personally ourselves. I will
certainly recommend you as a program presenter to other groups."
Phyllis Cline, AAUW
- Saturday, June 20 and Sunday, June 21, 2009 • Taste of C-U
2009 Taste of C-U had a performance stage dedicated to Abraham Lincoln
and his time. There were performances by Camille Born and myself, the
musical group the Prairie Dust Devils, and Lincoln impersonator Glenn
Braun. It was the debut of my first performance as a fictional
historical character. As Abigail Westinghouse, I talked about my
experiences as a Civil War nurse and related the exploits of Mary Ann
"Mother" Bickerdyke, a true-life Civil War nurse from Galesburg,
Illinois. Though I thought I was going to pass out performing in the
summer heat in my petticoats and crinoline, I had a wonderful time and
hope to put together more performances like these for the future.
Previous Public Performances
- Northlands Storytelling Conference
- National Storytelling Conference (Chicago)
- Illinois Young Authors Conference
- Illinois State Fair Kid's Korner*
- Taste of Champaign-Urbana*
- Big Grove Storytelling Festival*
- Bluestem Storytelling Festival
- Chinquapin Folk Music & Storytelling Festival
- New Salem Storytelling Festival
- Verde Gallery Spoken Word Series*
- The Teller's Art Series*
- Allerton Park Ghost Story Concerts*
- University of Illinois Chatauqua
- Parkland College Staerkel Planetarium*
*designates multi-year appearances
What People Say About Kim's Performances
"Again, you blew me away. Your wonderful voice and delivery style lets
the story be the star, not the person telling it. In my opinion that
makes the best kind of storyteller. I hope to hear your stories again
very soon!" Karen Wollscheid • Northlands Storytelling Network
"I thought your story and delivery were compelling. What a powerful story."
Reaction to A Place to Live • Kathe Brinkmann
“Kim is a terrific storyteller, and she held the audience captive for the entire presentation.” Ava Wolf • Scout leader
“The stories were great! Our students and families loved them!”
Carol Jones • Marquette Early Childhood School
“Excellent! Wouldn’t change anything!”
Nick Dalrymple • Unity East Elementary School
“Kim was very enthusiastic and vivacious!”
Ray Arseneau • Mahomet-Seymour Jr. High School
Photo credits for this site:
Randy Sanford, Paul Idleman, Camille Born, Marissa Garza, and JUPITER IMAGES.