Below are storytellers who have chosen to advertise their talents on this web site. We hope you will consider them the next time you are looking for a storyteller. We recommend that other references be checked before committing to a contract with any performer. Fees may vary widely. Storytellers listed from further distances should be considered, as storytellers frequently travel to performances. Storytellers, to purchase/submit a listing, click here.
Chip Bailey is a native East Tennessean who now lives in Berea, the Folk Arts and Crafts Capital of Kentucky. A past member of Smoky Mountain Storytellers Association, Chip uses his talents as a traditional fiddler to enhance his stories. He links Celtic music and Appalachian Old-Time tunes while giving the “back story” behind each song. Adult audiences enjoy the historical aspects of his performances. Those in earshot are often moved by lilting, lyrical sounds of his fiddle. A retired college professor, Chip intertwined storytelling with traditional music throughout his teaching career.
In classrooms and on stage, Diane Bailey has entertained audiences of all ages. As a teacher for 30 years, she used storytelling to enhance her lessons and inspire students to write and tell their own personal stories. In retirement, she pursued acting (and directing) for Norris Little Theatre and Three Rivers Theatre Company (both in Tennessee) where she portrayed a variety of characters in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Death by Design, Gladys in Wonderland, Southern Fried Funeral, And the Moon Stayed. Now living in Kentucky near her family, becoming a storyteller has been a natural evolution for Diane because it combines all her talents and interests, telling folktales, ghost stories, and personal memoirs.
Nicole Breazeale is an Associate Extension Professor at the University of Kentucky. In her Cooperative Extension programming, she is interested in how story can be used to foster community and organizational change. Feel free to reach out if you want to work on collaborations between storytellers, universities, and communities.
C. Edwin Bryson grew up in Brevard, North Carolina from
where his family made frequent trips to the Bryson home place on the banks
of the Tuckaseegee River that flows through Cullowhee and Bryson City. So
nurtured was he by a rich spiritual heritage, he grew up to become an
ordained minister. He lives now with his family near Lexington, Kentucky
where he is an adjunct professor, writes, and tells stories. He is a member
of the Kentucky Storytelling Association.
Miss September and her amazing cast of puppets is an author, children's performer, storyteller, magician, ventriloquist, life coach, and motivational speaker who brings laughter and fun to any stage. She continually draws upon her education degree as she travels and performs as a children's edutainer performing with puppets, magic, and stories for schools, libraries, churches, and crowds everywhere. She has been performing for over 25 years throughout the South, motivating and entertaining folks and working with youth groups, clubs, and communities giving entertaining and hands on shows and workshops sharing her knowledge on loving yourself, drama, puppets, storytelling, and magic.
Thomas Freese is a wonderful storyteller—author of nine books of ghost stories including Shaker Ghost Stories, Fog Swirler, Strange and Wonderful Things, Ghosts, Spirits and Angels, and Haunted Battlefields of the South. He entertains with animated voice and movement, performing for children and adults. He has performed from Ashland to Argentina. Thomas plays guitar, harmonica and other instruments, creating songs and telling a variety of story programs in English or Spanish--Pourquois tales, origami stories, silly stories and songs, winter tales, ghosts, desert southwest, fairy tales and folk stories. Pick any of his 20 educational and entertaining story programs!
W.I. "Bill" Hairston
Among his many endeavors is his work as the Entertainment/Music Coordinator at the Stonewall Jackson Jubilee for 35 years. His stories and songs embody the rich Appalachian culture that he was exposed to as a child along the Coal River in West Virginia. He has been the moderator of the West Virginia Liar’s Contest for several years. Within his interpretations, he frequently weaves the contributions of African Americans to Appalachian history and culture. He has performed in schools, libraries and other venues throughout the region. Bill developed the elementary school program, “We Are One.”
Mary grew up on a Kentucky farm where "telling stories" was considered sinful, but conversations that flowed from one story to another were how everyone talked. Audiences from Florida to Alaska – students in schools, families in libraries, adults in theaters – have enjoyed her "just talking" storytelling style. Her professional colleagues in the National Storytelling Network presented her with a Circle of Excellence ORACLE award. Kentucky's school librarians honored her work with a Jesse Stuart Media Award. University Press of Kentucky published Kentucky Folktales, her award-winning book. See videos of her storytelling on her website. She'd love to tell for you!
Mary Jo Huff is an Early Childhood consultant, published author, storyteller and recording artist who is recognized nationally for her wit, humor, and storytelling talents. "Storytelling with Puppets, Props, and Playful Tales" received the coveted Pegasus award from the National Youth Storytelling Network and a Parent's Choice Award.
Ray Mendenhall comes from a family of storytellers. Humorous stories and family anecdotes filled his childhood and youth. For 20 years now, Ray has been telling professionally in venues across North and South Carolina and Kentucky. Following the "jolly man" tradition, he mixes amazing songs and whimsical stories into a celebration of the storytelling art. His infectious humor and easy style has engaged audiences in Festivals, schools, libraries, conferences, civic clubs and State Fairs. He has won medals for musical performance in the NC Senior Silver Arts Competition, several storytelling contests and the Bold-faced Liars Showdown in Laurinburg, NC.
Jane Morse has the proud distinction of being a coal miner’s daughter, a farmer’s daughter, and a school marm’s daughter. Jane has told her stories from San Francisco to Belfast, Northern Ireland. A product of Chesapeake, OH schools, she holds an AB and MA in History from Marshall University. She has taught briefly at Marshall and at Ohio University. Most of her time has been taken up with family, tending sheep on a farm in Ohio, professional storytelling, and church work. In her spare time, she performed in community theater.
Jane was employed as church hostess to “feed the hungry Methodists” for 22 years. Jane and her husband, Jerry, have taught the 4-5 year old Sunday School for 45 years. Also, Jane and Jerry are the founders and producers of First Church Dinner Theater which has raised over $65,000 for Mission over the past 28 years.
A native of eastern Kentucky, Octavia grew up in a rich tradition of storytelling. Her genuine Appalachian dialect and love for her Kentucky Mountains are the magic that brings her stories to life. She is a master storyteller and experienced teaching artist. Literary great Loyal Jones says, "Octavia is one of our few, true folk artists and her performances are authentic representations of the tradition from which she comes." Her stories carry the listener into the mountains of eastern Kentucky - where haints chill your blood, Jack tickles your funny bone, and the hills and hollers are full of surprises.
Anne Shelby specializes in traditional Appalachian folk tales
retold for contemporary audiences. Cast in the language she heard growing up in
Southeastern Kentucky, Shelby's stories are plumb slam chuck full of Appalachian
speech, history, and humor. A Kentucky Arts Council Master Storyteller, Shelby
performs for schools, libraries, conferences, and festivals. Her books for
children and adults include The Man Who Lived in a Hollow Tree, based on a
legend passed down in her family, and The Adventures of Molly Whuppie and Other
Appalachian Folktales, an American Folklore Society Aesop Accolade winner. She
lives at her family homeplace in Clay County.
Louisville native Don Ray Smith deals in contemporary humor, usually with adult (not dirty!) messages, from love to diversity to bust-out laughing parody and satire. He's performed at Spin-A-Yarn festival and various coffee houses in Louisville, at storytelling festivals in Hazard and elsewhere, and will be featured at a writers' retreat in Owensboro in early 2017. At times he livens up his stories with a mean pair of bongos. Don Ray can entertain your organization, book club, creative writing class or festival as he shows how he has "morphed" from journalist and humor writer to a humor "teller!"
"An hour spent with master storyteller Paul Strickland is an hour well spent, and one you should not miss.” – Cincinnati Enquirer. Paul’s heartfelt and hilarious tall-tales and songs have been performed in virtually every imaginable environment, from Off-Broadway to elementary and middle schools, corporate events and even two prisons - where he was NOT an inmate at the time. Paul was an Exchange Place Teller at the National Storytelling Festival in 2018, and is a Featured Teller at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in 2020. Selections from his comedy performance “Levels of Difficulty” can be heard every day on SiriusXM radio.
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