One very warm May morning in the early 1990s, I was giving a Museum tour to a group of sixth graders. It was a typical late May tour: the teachers, the kids, and the guide were worn out and burned out. After 25 minutes of shuffling feet and non-existent participation, I sat everyone down in front of the Museum's replica of the Laocoön statue and told its tale: the myth of the murder of this famous priest and his sons—the priest who warned against bringing the Greek wooden horse through the impenetrable gates of Troy. By the time the story was over, both listeners and guide were enraptured and energized and ready for the rest of the galleries...and a storyteller was born.
When preparing programs to be offered in the new Spurlock Museum building (opened in 2002), Stories around the World was high on my list. In fact, this was the very first school program presented in the Museum, and it was booked by a teacher three years before the new building was opened to the public!
To improve my telling, I joined the National Storytelling Network, Northlands Storytelling Network, Illinois Storytelling, Inc.,became a charter member of the Champaign-Urbana Storytelling Guild (founded by nationally renowned teller Dan Keding), and began attending festivals and concerts whenever possible to learn and meet more accomplished tellers. I also worked as part of the tandem storytelling team called Kim Squared with environmental educator and friend Kim Petzing.
I am happy to say that I now tell stories to audiences of all ages and in groups of all sizes.
Some of my prepared programs are listed here. I am also happy to create custom programs for your classroom or event.
Cinderella: Versions of this favorite fairy tale told from around the world.
Trickster Stories: Whether Anansi the Spider, Hermes, Hare, or one of many other cultural favorites, these pranksters have entertained and educated audiences for centuries.
Around the World in Stories: Span the globe in stories. Groups can choose to hear stories from a wide variety of countries or, with adequate lead time, a wide variety of stories from one country or on one theme.
Stories in our Lives: Different types of stories reflect our need for encouragement, laughter, understanding, education, love, thought, friendship, healing, terror, and joy. Experience how stories fill our lives.
Stories of Giving: A favorite at Christmas and Mother's Day, but appropriate all year long, this program emphasizes stories of the different ways (and different things) we give as caring human beings.
Stories to Haunt Your Dreams: Ghost stories, plain and simple.
Love Stories: Stories of love that span the globe. The perfect addition to your Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, or Father's Day event. Looking for a unique gift for a bride and groom? Love Stories can be performed as entertainment at a wedding reception.
She Outranks Me: This is the story of Mary Ann Bickerdyke, a strong-willed nurse of the American Civil War from Galena, Illinois.
A Place to Live: In this story Kim portrays civil rights activist Anne Braden, who spent half a century fighting racial inequality.