Furry Friends: Laura Simms, Lyn Ford

Laura Simms

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.

Lyn Ford

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!

Connect with her on Facebook!

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Myths of Life and Death (with host Isabelle Hauser):Yvonne Healy, True Thomas

Story Story Podcast

Yvonne Healy

Yvone Healy

Professional performer for 40 years, Yvonne Healy was born across the water.  She grew up on an American Main Street with Irish language, stories and culture.  The inherited gene for adventure led Healy to graduate from Swarthmore College, spend half-a-life acting in New York’s soap operas and theaters, summer in yoga ashrams, and always to tell stories. Decades in professional storytelling, writing, acting, and improvisation lend a lively interactive flair to Healy’s teaching. In college courses, conference workshops, and artist residencies, Yvonne encourages children, teens and adults to develop communication, writing and literacy  in her dynamic programs.

True Thomas

True Thomas the Storyteller (aka Robert Seutter) has been storytelling for many years. True is an avid proponent of storytelling. He teaches the art, creates events, and has performed in a wide variety of places from campfires to battlefields. His personal storytelling philosophy is that a good storyteller should be able to tell to anyone, anywhere it’s physically possible. Anyone can and should tell stories, and to become a master of the craft can take a lifetime. He’s also a big believer in the spiritual side of storytelling. He believes in the power of stories and that the right story, in the right time and place can change the world.

Host – Isabelle Hauser

A fairy tale believer since the beginning of her time, Isabelle Hauser discovered the path of storytelling training with professional storyteller Liz Weir in Northern Ireland. When Isabelle is not telling tales or playing the harp on various stages in Switzerland and abroad, you can find her talking to the swans on the shore of her hometown lake, looking for four leaf clover, or chasing rainbows in the surrounding forests.

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Sky High Stories: Joel Ben Izzy, John Porcino

Story Story Podcast

Joel Ben Izzy

It was back in 1983 that he graduated from Stanford with a self-designed degree in English, Creative Writing and Storytelling, and set off to travel the world, gathering and telling stories. Since then he has told stories and taught storytelling in some 36 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

With every stop on his itinerary, his repertoire of stories has grown. Some are tales from people he meets on the road, and others he finds are traditional tales from the places he’s traveled. Then there are the stories that seem to find him – and stick. These are true stories, more or less, and what he’s come to love over the years is the blend of all these stories together.

John Porcino

Much of John Porcino’s training for his 30 years as a storyteller and singer arose while creating and participating in the zany & touching moments around a campfire – all of life, seen through a flickering fire light, surrounded by the magnificent beauty of the natural world. These days John spins some 200 performances, workshops, and in-service trainings each year for folks of all all ages.
His performances are a mix of stories and songs that are sparked to life with warmth, humor, a playful touch of audience participation, and a twist of music from around the world.

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Wise or Lucky? (with Host Simon Brooks)

Norah Dooley

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. As project director of StoriesLive® she created and implements a curriculum used to teach over 7,000 Greater Boston high school students to tell compelling first person narratives. As an adjunct faculty she teaches storytelling to undergraduates at Tufts and runs a Junior Seminar at Lesley University.  In January of 2014, she returned to lecture on storytelling and language acquisition in Tokyo, Japan as part of a multi-year grant funded by the Japanese government. www.norahdooley.com


Richard Martin

The stories Richard Martin tells are the folk tales which have been told for hundreds, indeed thousands, of years. With over 300 stories in his repertoire, they reflect the full range of human experience: the comic, the bawdy, the profound, the divine. Far from being for little children (although he does tell for children, too), these powerful and deep tales offer unforgettable listening for adults. If you like theatre, you’ll definitely love storytelling. It combines the intensity of a play by a solo performer with the intimacy of a one-to-one conversation. Richard tells stories throughout Europe and as far away as India, Singapore, Hong Kong and America – in theatres, universities, schools, for corporate events or private parties. He usually tells in English, although having lived in Germany since 1976, he is sometimes asked to tell in German.

Guest Host – Simon Brooks

Simon Brooks is an award-winning British storyteller living in America – actually, New London, New Hampshire, New England, New World!  He also uses his voice to record audio books. He is also a poet, writer, photographer, and educator.

Order his new book Under The Oaken Bough and listen to his new podcast Conversations with Storytellers to hear what it is like to perform storytelling for a living from some living legends!

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Anansi! : Donna Washington, Jenni Cargil Strong

Donna Washington

Donna L. Washington is a professional storyteller, actress, and author. She started performing at age six. She has adapted folktales into two full-length stage productions at Chicago’s Upstage Downstage Theater and performed at numerous storytelling festivals. She is the author of “The Story of Kwanzaa, and she received a Parents’ Choice Award for her recording “Live and Learn: The Exploding Frog and Other Stories.

Jenni Cargill Strong 

Jenni Cargill-Strong is an enchanting award-winning Australian storyteller and Owner Operator of ‘The Story Tree Company’ and ‘Stories on Foot: Tales of Byron Bay and the Rainbow Region‘.

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Weep and Wail

Brenda Wong Aoki

Brenda Wong Aoki is a storyteller, anthologized playwright, producer, artistic director, and performer. Her song/dance/dramas are drawn from her family’s 121-year history in San Francisco and the Bay Area, Kabuki legends, ghost stories, and her personal experience. Known for her agility across disciplines, she creates monodramas rooted in traditional storytelling, dance movement, and music. Her sensei is Living Treasure, Nomura Mansaku, a Kyogen master; she also studied Noh with Nomura Shiro, who is a Cultural Intangible Property. It is extremely rare for a woman (and especially an American woman) to get to study with masters like these; ironically, it is because she is an American that she was able to work with artists of this caliber. Her other teachers/coaches/mentors include stage director, choreographer, performer, and former director of Theatre of Yugen, Yuriko Doi, and longtime director and coach, Jael Weisman of Dell’Arte Players and the San Francisco Mime Troupe.

Janice Del Negro


Janice M. Del Negro, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois.

Del Negro has been a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival, the Bay Area Storytelling Festival, the Illinois Storytelling Festival, the Fox Valley Folk Festival, and many others. She has conducted workshops on various aspects of storytelling and narrative for librarians, teachers, parents, storytellers, and other educators in a variety of settings, including the National Storytelling Network Annual Conference, the Illinois School Library Media conference, the University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of San Diego. Her most recent recording, Fortune’s Daughters: Ghost Tales and Folktales, was released in October, 2010.

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Bouquet of Stories III (with host Isabelle Hauser): True Thomas, Liz Weir, Laura Simms, Tim Lowry

True Thomas

True Thomas the Storyteller (aka Robert Seutter) has been storytelling for many years. True is an avid proponent of storytelling. He teaches the art, creates events, and has performed in a wide variety of places from campfires to battlefields. His personal storytelling philosophy is that a good storyteller should be able to tell to anyone, anywhere it’s physically possible. Anyone can and should tell stories, and to become a master of the craft can take a lifetime. He’s also a big believer in the spiritual side of storytelling. He believes in the power of stories and that the right story, in the right time and place can change the world.

Liz Weir

Liz Weir is a storyteller and writer from Northern Ireland. She was the first winner of the International Story Bridge Award from the National Storytelling Network, USA, which cited her “exemplary work promoting the art of storytelling”. Liz Weir has told her stories to people of all ages on five continents. She has performed in pubs and prisons and hospital rooms. She worked on stages in the mighty Vanderbilt Hall of New York’s Grand Central Station and in the Royal Albert Hall.

Find her work at lizweir.com!

Laura Simms

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.

Tim Lowry

Tim Lowry

Tim Lowry’s love for show business began when he was six years old, watching a thrilling performance of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus. Waiting for his big break Tim filled his childhood with performance opportunities.  As a theater major in college, Tim studied Shakespeare and romantic opera, but when he took an elective class in storytelling he found himself. After college, Tim taught English language arts for five years. Drawing on his love of show business his teaching methods were often considered “unorthodox and disruptive.” In 2000, Tim left the classroom to pursue a career as a professional storyteller. (Ironically, he is now hired as an educational consultant to bring creative and innovative programs to schools across the country and is approaching his 10,000th performance!) In 2012 Tim began touring the National Storytelling Festival circuit and has shared stories on stages from Connecticut to California. Occasionally, Tim provides applied storytelling workshops for corporate and non-profit groups. His client list includes the North Carolina County Commissioners (Raleigh, NC), Dollywood Dream More Resort (Pigeon Forge, TN), and Daramic LLC (Charlotte, NC).

Host – Isabelle Hauser

A fairy tale believer since the beginning of her time, Isabelle Hauser discovered the path of storytelling training with professional storyteller Liz Weir in Northern Ireland. When Isabelle is not telling tales or playing the harp on various stages in Switzerland and abroad, you can find her talking to the swans on the shore of her hometown lake, looking for four leaf clover, or chasing rainbows in the surrounding forests.

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Can’t Trick a Trickster (with Simon Brooks): Danielle Bellone, Alton Chung

Danielle Bellone

Danielle is a Storyteller, a francophile, and a native of the bayou country of the Gulf South.  She is a hurricane of lovely words, gripping narrative, and joyful absurdity. Her stories range from traditional folk and fairy tales to poetic explorations and personal misadventures. She includes song and gratuitous hand-percussion whenever she can.

Alton Chung

Alton performs at storytelling festivals internationally, sharing stories and legends from Hawaii and spreading aloha.  He also tells stories from the Hawaiian Monarchy and the Plantation Days as well as Asian folk tales from all around the Pacific Rim.  Alton is also passionate about sharing stories of the Japanese American Experience of WWII.  In 2005, Alton was awarded the first J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award by the National Storytelling Network.  He has performed at the Congress of Asian Storytellers in Singapore, the International Gimme Story Storytelling Festival in the Cayman Islands, as well as venues in India, China, and Okinawa.  He has also performed at the Talk Story Festival, the Bay Area Storytelling Festival, the Four Corners Storytelling Festival, the Oklahoma City Storytelling Festival, and has been a New Voice Teller at the National Storytelling Festival

Find him at his website, and on Facebook!


With every stop on his itinerary, his repertoire of stories has grown. Some are tales from people he meets on the road, and others he finds are traditional tales from the places he’s traveled. Then there are the stories that seem to find him – and stick. These are true stories, more or less, and what he’s come to love over the years is the blend of all these stories together.

Guest Host – Simon Brooks

Simon Brooks is an award-winning British storyteller living in America – actually, New London, New Hampshire, New England, New World!  He also uses his voice to record audio books. He is also a poet, writer, photographer, and educator.

Order his new book Under The Oaken Bough and listen to his new podcast Conversations with Storytellers to hear what it is like to perform storytelling for a living from some living legends!

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Well, Well, Well : Adam Booth

Adam Booth

Adam Booth’s original stories blend traditional mountain folklore, music, and an awareness of contemporary Appalachia. He has been featured at the International Storytelling Center, the National Storytelling Festival, the Appalachian Studies Association Conference, the National Storytelling Conference, the National Academy of Medicine, and has been a Spoken Word Resident at the Banff Centre (Alberta). He is a member of the Recording Academy and recordings have received two Parents’ Choice Silver Honors and four Storytelling World Awards and Honors. He is a four-time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest.

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Faithful and True (with Isabelle Hauser) : Jane Dorfman, Cathryne Fairlee

Jane Dorfman

Jane Ogburn Dorfman tells tales of dutiful daughters and wise women, faithful sons and wicked kings, of magic skipping ropes and Irish heroes, of the angel Elijah and the fools of Chelm, of tricky animals and clever kids. She tells personal stories  about her New Orleans childhood and her Maryland neighbors, her favorite being   “Daddy’s on the Roof and He’s Got the Ax.”

She tells stories for children and adults at festivals and in libraries and in the schools. She loves stories that carry the listener away. The world has an amazing heritage of   stories  and she wants to pass them on.

Jane has performed at the Hans Christian Andersen Statue in Central Park.  She has told at Speak! a storytelling series in Shepardstown WVa, The Stone Soup Festival in S.C., and the Rose Valley storytelling series in Media, PA.  She’s shared personal stories at ‘Better Said than Done’ in VA.

She has crafted a program of lesser known Arabian Nights stories as part of a grant, Muslim Journeys, at Montgomery College, and performed them at the NSN Conference Fringe in 2016.

She has told at the Smithsonian Institution and on television Channel 32’s holiday storytelling program and on ‘Stories in Focus” local television. She is a repeat teller at the Washington Folk Festival and Voices-in-the-Glen Festival and to storytelling classes at The University of Maryland and Catholic University. She’s told stories at the Virginia Celtic Festival, Rockville Festival of the Arts, The Elva Van Winkle Memorial Storytelling Festival and others. She has also conducted a workshop on how to get started storytelling for the Maryland Library Association.

Cathryn Fairlee

Cathryn passed away in October 2019 and will be deeply missed as a friend and a storyteller. In her own words about her storytelling from an interview last year with edex live –

I started storytelling 35 years ago. I have travelled around the world gathering epics, myths, legends, histories, and folk and fairy tales from the folk. I work with other storytellers whenever I travel; even in Chennai and Kanchipuram, I’ve worked with a few of them. I have travelled and learnt about different cultures and I’ve gone back to the US to share them with others. I like the fact that one can give people therapy and teach them how to listen and enjoy the entire experience. It’s not lecturing or commanding them to agree with you. It’s about helping them enjoy and learn something.

Host – Isabelle Hauser

A fairy tale believer since the beginning of her time, Isabelle Hauser discovered the path of storytelling training with professional storyteller Liz Weir in Northern Ireland. When Isabelle is not telling tales or playing the harp on various stages in Switzerland and abroad, you can find her talking to the swans on the shore of her hometown lake, looking for four leaf clover, or chasing rainbows in the surrounding forests.

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