Professional Storyteller

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Getting Ready for My First Large Scale Performance!

Hello Everyone,

I am just starting out doing story times at my library.  I have been doing them since September of last year.  So far, my story times are a HUGE success and I am shocked!  I expected maybe a few kids, but almost right away, I had over 20 kids!  Then we had to split it up into two days.  I'm still getting kids on the waiting list!  I think the kids are really attracted to the music that I do.  I play the ukulele.  I never do a story that lasts more than 5 minutes or so because our crowd has a lot of toddlers in it.

Over the summer, our library usually has performers come in from outside.  However, our budget was cut severly this year.  I am going to do one of the summer performances this year.  The crowd is expected to be 100 plus kids.  I think the age group will have more older kids than I have been working with so far.

Who will help me out in getting started thinking about this?


Tags: groups, large, performing, storytelling

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Love your picture... Having worked in a library around children I feel the joy you are expressing, here! Nice! Glad things are working out for you. Have my first story telling events coming up... winter stories for one in February with a sponser where I have no idea how many will attend... and plan to do it with a young woman who has her degree in theater art and loves fantasy face painting! So, will be fun to see how it goes with two of my own stories. What are the stories you work with in particular?
Hello Cheryl!

Thanks for your reply. It is kind of daunting with my first large scale group this summer. I think I will be working solo except maybe I will have some people to help me set up audio.

Let's keep in touch!

Yes, would love to stay in touch as I, too, understand how daunting a first large scale group must be...*smiles* ... while I feel the same in anticipation for what is ahead!
Looking at your pic and hearing what you're saying, I think you have a style that works for you. Don't worry about older kids. Tell stories that you like and that have parent appeal, and you will have a great show.
Have fun and keep telling
Daniel Bishop, the Storyteller
Hey Thanks Daniel!

I always like to just be myself! I have been getting used to using Amanda, my puppet to break the ice and she seems to work really well. I have been finding the more I do it, the better I get. I think having the predictable phrases is good. Do you have any suggestions for stories to use?

What stories do you tell now? Which one is your favorite? Which one do the kids like best? Which one do the parents like? Find stories that are like those. (as you work in the library you know where to find the right books.) My favorite stories are ghost stories. When telling to kids I like to tell stories about animals that talk and do weird things. I pull alot from Aesop, Native American lore, and African lore. Then I take each story and make it mine by working and reworking it to fit my mouth. (always remember where it came from though.) That is what I do and it works for me. There are many storyteller on this site that could tell you more, better or different things and I say listen to them all.
Go get 'em
Stories with call and response are a good way to hold the kids' attention. Have you heard Scat the Cat? What is the SRP theme? Get them to use their body instruments as you tell stories such as a clap or patch.
Hello Brenda,

The Summer Reading Program is "Making a Splash!" or something similar. Do you have any story suggestions?


Hey Joanne, I am sure your joy at telling will make it a great success.
My advice would be to have more than enough stories prepared so you can "cater" for whoever turns up. If it is a big group you may need to make yourself "big" plenty of gesture and mime, if you are comfortable with that...but don't be afraid of stillness and pause. Action stories (Swimming, rowing, throwing stones into the water, water creatures) are good as are action can always repeat these again if parents are not joining in, get the kids to encourage their olds to join in the second time. Sound effects are good too....rain sticks, rice in a box etc. Australian story is a great fact there are quite a few australian stories on the web about water.
Good luck and let "us" know how you get on.
Hello Kevin,

Thanks for the great ideas!

Hello Daniel,

My most successful tale yet was when I did "I'll Love You Forever" by Bob Munsch. I had an old cassette tape of him where I heard him tell the story and I imitated his style but also added some of my own. The story has a lullaby in it which is repeated throughout. I had the children sing the song and rock their teddy bears at my pajama party this week. I felt more confident than I had in a long while. I was making eye contact and connecting with the kids a lot and they weren't fussing as much as they had before. I even got a baby to stop fussing by changing my voice to a softer one and looking directly at him. With larger groups though, you don't get a chance for this much intimacy. I've gotten used to being close up. What I have to do is figure out how to make the transition into a larger group and still engage them.

How to be intimate with 100 people at the same time, is the question for the ages. The stories help but my trick is to meet the audience before hand. Greet them as they come in, welcome them and ask if there excited about the show. I also let them know that I’m excited about it. I can’t talk to them all but I talk to as many as I can. Then I try to look at the ones I talked to and they get into it and bring the rest with them. Most of all I don’t think of them as a big group, I think of them as a small group, just bigger. The more you play with it the better it is.
By the way, my daughter loves “I’ll Love You Forever.”
Keep telling




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