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Storytelling Open Mic at Caffe Lena - Sept. 5

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Performers       Click on any photo with a colored border to display a 300 dpi photo of that performer


Photo of Siri Allison Siri Allison started acting classes when she was 12 years old because she was too shy to present oral reports in class. She fell in love with the theater, and continued acting, finding her niche with alternative audiences, especially the residents of homeless shelters. After the birth of her children, she began telling stories in the public school classrooms, concentrating on subjects that complement NY's Learning Standards.

Click here to watch Siri tell the Norwegian story "The Husband Who Was to Mind the House."

Photo of Fran Combs Berger Fran Combs Berger was born in Oklahoma, in the heart of Tornado Alley, in a town where the major employer was a smelter. She and her twin sister were born into a family of ten in the 1950s. Surviving killer twisters and the environmental havoc wrought by the smelter, she has since lived in California and Colorado, eventually settling in New York. She tells stories, and has a Massage Therapy and Reiki practice. She has performed on land and water, at parties, schools, libraries and festivals. Her specialties include folk tales, stories of the rural west, and personal recollections.
More info on Fran

Click here to watch Fran tell the English story "Like Meat Loves Salt."

Photo of Kent Busman Kent Busman is the director of Fowler Camp and Retreat Center, a youth camp in Speculator, NY. Kent is also an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America, living in Scotia, NY. Kent uses storytelling as more than just entertainment – he also sees it as a wonderfully subversive way of teaching. Kent believes that telling stories of caring for the world, tales of wonder and joy, and stories of faith and hope, help to remind the listeners not only of how special the world is, but helps clarify our role in it too.
More info on Kent

Click here to watch Kent tell the Native American story from the Pacific Northwest "How Raven Freed the Daylight and How Loon Lost Her Voice."

Photo of Betty Cassidy Betty Cassidy, as a parent and a Speech and English teacher for many years, has witnessed and used the power of the story to teach, amuse, and motivate others. Since retirement from full-time teaching, she has found more time to develop her skills as a teller through workshops, Story Circle events, and presenting her own stories as often as possible. She continues to expand her program options as she finds new venues where she can share her enthusiasm for the joy of stories!
More info on Betty

Click here to watch Betty tell her personal story "Ethelinda."

Photo of Lâle Davidson Lâle Davidson is a writer, storyteller, and English professor. For ten years, she performed all over the Capital District with The Snickering Witches, telling folktales that featured strong, clever women. She has been teaching fiction, public speaking and composition at SUNY Adirondack for 20 years, plays viola, and lives with her small, happy family in Saratoga Springs. Her original story, "The Haunting of Zelda," was performed in the opera, "Billie and Zelda" by OperaDelaware in 1998, and her literary and experimental fiction has been published in a variety of small magazines.

Click here to watch Lâle tell her personal story "The Haunting of Zelda."

Photo of Alden (Joe) Doolittle by Simon Brooks
Photo by Simon Brooks
Alden (Joe) Doolittle began storytelling when his children were young (a long time ago) and realized it was also good method to motivate and teach staff. Joe is a retired healthcare executive and volunteer chaplain at Albany Med. He listens for stories in all aspects of his life and collects those he believes will entertain and teach others. Joe has a particular interest in local historical stories. He uses storytelling with clients, students, and audiences regionally. He is also a producer of Word Plays, Story by Story, and First Mondays Tales & Stuff. Contact him at Joe@StoryCircleAtProctors.org
More info on Joe

Click here to watch Joe tell his personal story "Pop's Whisper."

Photo of Kate Dudding Kate Dudding creates entertaining, heartwarming and memorable stories about real people who made a difference. Since 1995, she has told stories at many venues in the Northeastern USA including The Clearwater Festival (Croton-on-Hudson, NY), First Night Saratoga (Saratoga Springs, NY), and The Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge, MA). She has been commissioned to create stories by The New-York Historical Society in New York City, The Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site in Albany, The Empire State Aerosciences Museum in Schenectady and Easton Library. Many of her five CDs have received national storytelling awards. In 2010, she won the story slam (competition) at the National Storytelling Conference in Los Angeles telling a personal story. She is also a producer of Word Plays. Contact her at Kate@StoryCircleAtProctors.org KateDudding.com

Click here to watch Kate tell one of her stories about Julia Child."

Photo of Margaret French Margaret French believes in the magic of stories. She enjoys writing and telling stories of her Canadian heritage, her home in upstate New York, folktales from around the world, and personal and family stories that reflect her gently humorous take on the foibles of humankind. She performs often throughout the Capital District and beyond. You can read many of her stories on her blog at margaretfrench.com.

Click here to watch Margaret tell her personal story "The Last Time They Visited Vermont."

Photo of Marni Gillard Marni Gillard once taught Niskayuna middle schoolers and now freelances as a teacher-artist and education consultant. The book Storyteller, Storyteacher traces her journey into storytelling and the transformation it brought to her classroom and her life. Without a Splash: Diving into Childhood Memories is a CD of triumph and trauma tales that helps children and adults storytell memories. Meet Marni at MarniGillard.com

Click here to watch Marni tell "The Fisherman and His Wife" by Jane Yolen.

Photo of Karen Glass After 22 years, Karen Glass changed careers from teacher to Keene Valley town librarian and is now surrounded by stories. She collects stories from around the world and offers them to listeners of all ages. She weaves a spell for her listeners, holding their hands, their eyes and their hearts through snowstorms and fires and beautiful gardens. She weaves the spell of stories of times past and places of fantasy. She has children believing they are native people listening to their stories, learning and laughing as they listen. Adults are drawn in to the stories and find the truth of the stories in their hearts. karenglasslive.com
Photo of Lorraine Hartin-Gelardi Lorraine Hartin-Gelardi has an eclectic mix of folktales, literary tales, myths and tall tales that enables her to tell stories to all manner of audiences, both young and old, in libraries, churches, retirement homes, schools, conferences and festivals. She finds the experience of sharing stories through the spoken word to have a profound power to enlighten and educate and conducts storytelling workshops for adults and teachers. Lorraine's first book, Wisdom in the Telling: Finding Inspiration and Grace in Folktales and Myths Retold was published in 2006. LorraineTells.com

Click here to watch Lorraine tell her personal story "Irish Grandmothers and Sex Education Part 1 ."

Photo of Christie Keegan Christie Keegan Christie Keegan's personal stories weave together the wonders of childhood, questions of adolescence and stark realities of adulthood. No matter the topic of the tale, audiences often claim the rhythm of her stories echoes their own experience. In addition to being entertaining, her hope is that this common bond increases our tolerance and understanding of ourselves and each other. With the same intent, she tells folk tales, myths and tall tales from many cultures - hoping the audience will hear what is common to us all as well as what makes each of us unique.

Click here to watch Christie tell her personal story "Learning to Sing."

Photo of Kelvin Keraga Kelvin Keraga is an actor, storyteller and writer living in Greenwich, New York. He has produced and performed in an evening of ghost stories, Whispering Bones, for the last ten years. (Contact him at antlerbones@yahoo.com for information on upcoming shows). Favorite acting roles include Bruce in Marie and Bruce, Basil in The Diviners, and the Fool in King Lear. He helped save Erica’s baby on All My Children and was murdered in the subway in a low-budget movie, Underground Terror. His performance of his story “The Potato Man” has been selected for the National Storytelling Network's streamed Halloween Legends and Lore event on October 22-23, 2021 ( Storynet.org/Halloween). His story, “A Light Snow Falling” is currently a finalist in the Tiferet Journal Fiction Writing Contest.
Photo of Jeannine Laverty Jeannine Laverty has been telling international folk tales since 1979 when her work teaching English as a second language to immigrants in New York City showed her firsthand how the U.S. is made up of cultures from all the countries of the world. Her school residencies and museum performances have been awarded funding from the NYS Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Institute for the Humanities. In 1999 she received the Leadership Award for the Northeast Region from the National Storytelling Network.
More info on Jeannine

Click here to watch Jeannine tell the Jeanne Robert Foster story "Second Wind."

Photo of Eileen Egan Mack Eileen Egan Mack grew up in Ballston Lake, NY where her mother, the school librarian, shared her love of books and passed on her love for telling stories aloud to her four daughters and many, many school children. During Eileen's career as an educator in northern New York, her storytelling helped charm the children while enriching their lives and language learning. When she discovered the works and words of Jeanne Robert Foster, Eileen was compelled to put together a one woman show in which she portrays the Adirondack writer and tells the stories of the Jeanne's Adirondack neighbors of yesterday. Since moving to the Capital District, the Story Circle was a fortuitous find for the recently retired speech therapist as she was looking for ways to grow as a storyteller. With gratitude to the area's fellow storytellers and to the Story Circle and its believers, Eileen is happy to participate in this very special Tellabration 2011.
More info on Eileen

Click here to watch Eileen tell "Goldilocks with a Twist."

Photo of Alan McClintock A storyteller for the past 20 years, Alan McClintock has been featured at public schools, libraries, and at the New York State Museum. He has also performed at the Dance Flurry Festival for 18 years, Schoharie Crossing, the Riverway Storytelling Festival, the Hudson River Revival Festival, Story Sundays, and the 2006 Albany History Fair. His programs include folktales from around the world; personal stories; and Once Upon a Time in Albany: Stories of Growing Up in an Urban Environment.
More info on Alan

Click here to watch Alan tell the folktale "The Golden Child."

Photo of Linda McKenney Linda McKenney is self-employed as a Senior Wellness Coach, Conscious Aging Facilitator, Story Teller and Writer. She is a perpetual student, on a never-ending journey of self-discovery. Her current, exceptional teachers are her nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild who continually remind her that life is unpredictable, joyous and a great adventure. You can currently find Linda touring the area, impersonating Susan B. Anthony and Carrie Chapman Catt. www.majok.org

Click here to watch Linda tell a personal story "Arthur."

Photo of Bonnie Mion In her work as a psychotherapist/life coach over 20 years, Bonnie Mion has learned how the power of our personal stories can transform our lives. She sees storytelling as a tool for empowerment and learning. Bonnie also teaches and performs one of the most ancient and wholistic movement forms in the world; Middle Eastern dance. Tales of history, the Middle East, Egypt, and dancers especially intrigue her.
Photo of Mary Murphy Mary Murphy is a writer/storyteller. She has performed at the National Storytelling Festival, the Hawaii Storytelling Festival, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, the Clever Gretchen Storytelling Festival at Syracuse University and the University of Rochester Storytelling Festival. She has also performed at local libraries, schools, museums and historical sites as well as at the Albany Institute of History and Art's Festival of Trees. Her stories have been published in the anthologies: Give a Listen and A Solstice Evergreen. MurphyWong.net

Click here to watch Mary tell the traditional Appalachian story "The Haunted House."

Photo of Claire Nolan As a teacher of English as a Second Language, Claire Nolan tells stories, many of them true, to international students and immigrants. She currently teaches at SUNYA. She has most recently been telling tales at the Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center in Berne. Claire can also be seen in area middle schools, high schools and colleges telling the story of Mary Harris Jones (Mother Jones) through the Schenectady Theater for Children Great Minds Series.

Click here to watch Claire tell her personal story "My Grandmother's Lap."

Photo of Barbara Palumbo Barbara Palumbo began telling stories in the late 1980’s to residents in juvenile facilities. She discovered that storytelling engaged and entertained the young men and women while simultaneously reflecting on commonalities of human experiences through the characters of the stories. She believes that telling stories enables the storyteller to leap over cultural walls, embrace different experiences, and feel what others feel. The first story she remembers hearing (at the age of four) was “The Fisherman and his Wife” told by a wonderful storyteller named Mrs. Walters, who worked in her daycare.
Photo of Nancy Marie Payne Nancy Marie Payne enjoys the challenge of finding and writing new stories. Some of her tales, gleaned from history, tell of immigrants, orphan train riders, suffragettes, Underground Railroad characters and female pioneer aviators. Traditional tales and personal stories add a lighter touch to her repertoire. She performs locally and is always eager for new storytelling challenges. She conducts workshops for adults and children. nancymariepayne.blogspot.com

Click here to watch Nancy tell her story "Ruth Law: Breaking the Distance Record."

Photo of Karen Pillsworth Karen Pillsworth has been enchanting audiences all over the Northeast with her stories for over 25 years. She has performed in libraries, camps, churches, parks, schools, historic sites and at festivals. She is regularly featured at Mohonk Mountain House and has shared her stories on WAMC National Public Radio. As Storyteller Laureate, it is Karen's honor and privilege to serve the people of Kingston, New York by sharing her stories at events throughout the city and helping raise funds for various organizations. KarenPillsworth.com

Click here to watch Karen tell an orignal story "Betsy Bubblegum."

Photo of Sandy Schuman For years, Sandy Schuman has used storytelling in his work as a management consultant, group facilitator, and trainer. Recently he has been sharing his stories of life, culture, and history with youth and adult audiences, including Tellabrations. And Story Sundays. Using his group facilitation skills, Sandy can help a group to tell its collective story, reconstructing its past, reflecting on the present, and imagining the future.
More info on Sandy

Click here to watch Sandy tell his story "It's Hard to Tell a Hug."

Photo of Beverly Schwartz Beverly Schwartz was an elementary teacher for 35 years in Troy, New York as well as a substitute principle for Troy elementary schools. The 1990 Christa McCauliffe fellowship award was given to Beverly for creating a new innovated hands on program she named STEM. (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics). The STEM program is now used world wide. On NBC national news in 1990, Jane Pauly featured Beverly and her STEM program in a segment titled “Things That Work”. Beverly is now retired and has become a storyteller in the US and other countries around the world. Beverly enjoys telling an assortment of stories. Other activities Beverly participates in is helping animal rescue groups and gardening.

Click here for Beverly’s STEM webpage and for Beverly’s email.

Photo of Frank-Lee Speaking Frank Wind and Dee Lee Wind (Frank-Lee Speaking) One plus one equals three? When you hire Frank-Lee Speaking you get 3 storytelling styles. Dee Lee Wind has been a professional storyteller for more than 35 years. Frank Wind became a storyteller after retiring from his position as a research scientist for a major oil company. They perform storytelling concerts and storytelling workshops for children, family audiences and adults. Together, they have been privileged to perform at festivals and concerts in Great Britain and Europe. More information

Click here to watch Frank tell his personal story "Grandma Goes Shopping."

Story Circle is one of the first resident storytelling companies
at a US performing arts center

Proctors, 432 State Street, Schenectady, New York 12305