Laura Simms is an award winning performer, writer, and educator advocating storytelling as compassionate action for personal and community transformation. She performs worldwide combining ancient myth and true life story for adult and family audiences. She is the Artistic Director of the Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center in NY and the founder of The Center for Engaged Storytelling (new). She has been a Senior Research Fellow for the International Peace institute at Rutgers University Newark under the auspices of UNESCO. As a spokesperson for storytelling she presents keynotes and workshops in conferences, villages, schools, universities and community events. She is a member of the Therapeutic Arts Alliance of Manhattan, and a senior teacher of Shambhala Buddhist meditation. Laura received the Brimstone Award for Engaged Storytelling, CHOICE award for best story collection and Sesame Street’s SUNNY DAYS award for work with children worldwide. In 2011 she recieved a Life Time Achievement Award from the National Storytelling Netwrok. She is co-faculty with Terry Tempest Williams’ at University of Utah, consults with ETSU’s CANCER STORIES project, and is spoken word consultant for Foundations, NGOS working in post disaster and conflicts. She recently appeared at the Newark Peace Summit and the Conference on World Peace and Values in Monterrey, Mexico. Her Most recent book is OUR SECRET TERRITORY: The Essence of Storytelling (Sentient Publications, June 2011). She is completing a new work: THE SANCTUARY OF A STORY (TBA). Laura is the mother of best selling author Ishmael Beah.
A fourth-generation, nationally recognized, Affrilachian storyteller. A teaching artist with the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, and workshop facilitator with both OAAE and the Ohio State-Based Collaborative Initiative of the Kennedy Center. A Thurber House mentor. A writer, published in storytelling magazines and newsletters, as well as teachers’ enrichment books and story anthologies, and her own books. A recording artist with award-winning CDs. A Laughter Yoga Teacher and breath mechanic. Go to my new page, Laughter, Breath, Joy!, for more information! A happy partner-in-life, mama, grandmama, great-grandmama, and good cook!
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Norah Dooley is a storyteller, educator, critically acclaimed children’s author and creator of StoriesLive®, a high school storytelling curriculum and story slam program. She is the co-founder of massmouth.org and the Greater Boston Story Slam series.
“I live in my head. A lot. I make stuff up, I borrow from old tales, I reinterpret new stories. As a storyteller, I’m a tour guide to that space in my brain. I work without a script, without costumes, without props. When I’m doing it right, listeners laugh, smile, sigh and breathe together, connected in the space of stories. I perform at schools, libraries, festivals, special events, and in my own backyard, literally. My mouthy hand puppets come along to shows for young children. I tell more grownup stories to, well, grownups and older kids. We play together. Apart from being the oldest educational method in the world, storytelling is just plain fun.”