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 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
April 5 Festival of Stories
I get to spend the day with K-8th grade students telling character-building stories and creating colorful storyboards.Belleville is always a great time!
Illinois Young Authors' Conference
Illinois State University
Telling to hundreds and hundreds student authors and their teachers. I got to meet one of the authors recently. I can't wait to read her story!
Illinois State Fair
I perform every year in the Kid's Korner, along with singers, puppeteers, magicians, and other wonderful tellers. It's always a lot of fun! I'll post the exact dates and times when they are confirmed.
- Wednesday, June 13, 2012 • Scout Camp
For about four years now, I've been invited to tell stories for local Boy Scouts during their summer camp out 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." Tricksters abounded.Go Anansi the Spider!
- Saturday, June 20 and Sunday, June 21, 2009 • Taste of C-U
The 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.
- September 19, 2009 • National Night Out
The City of Champaign held its National Night Out event in West Side Park. I was asked to tell stories that would touch on the subject of safety. I have always said that there was a folktale to go with any topic a person could think up, and I was able to find two that made the point of safety to children.
- 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/1950's
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
What a great evening! 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!"
- December 6, 2010 • Feeding Body and Soul: A Tellebration Storytelling Celebration and Benefit for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank
I love performances that bring lots of wonderful tellers together for a special cause, and this one doubly fit the bill. Members of the C-U Storytelling Guild got together with the Unitarian Universalist Church in Urbana and produced a concert that raised $681 for the Eastern Illinois Food Bank. In addition to being a fundraiser, the concert was also a Tellebration event. Tellabration is an international night of storytelling held each November on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in the U.S. Imagine a night when you know that tellers all over the world are doing exactly the same thing that same day! All in all, a terrific day for all involved, and the beginning of what we hope will be a long friendship with the Unitarian Church.
- 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
- November 12, 2011 • Benefit for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank
One of my favorite events each year is the benefit the C-U Storytelling Guild does for a local organization. The last few years (as seen in an earlier story) we have supported the Eastern Illinois Foodbank in their effort to feed tens of thousands of hungry people in our area. The tellers all donate their time, and each tells a story with a food theme. It's always such fun coming up with a new story each year. Thanks to Kathe Brinkmann, who is the artistic director of the benefit concerts, and the wonderful people of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Urbana, who provide the perfect venue and make the most wonderful desserts!
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.