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“I admit, when I first heard the term ‘professional storyteller’, I was skeptical as to how a person could make a living that way, and I wondered  why  we wanted someone to tell us ‘bedtime stories.’ But I can easily admit when I am wrong, and I was most definitely wrong about you and your skill. I was intrigued with your storytelling, and was excited that you used so much group interaction. It truly made me feel as if I was part of the magic, of the process of creation.”—April Carmichael, Youth for Justice, Eugene, OR

 

About Me

  1. What My Mother Told Me
  2. References
  3. Performance Highlights
  4. Awards and Grants
  5. Professional Associations
  6. Education

“These students had never before met a storyteller and even though I had talked to them about traditional storytelling nothing could match the experience you put them through. As I talked to them later they could retell the stories with ease which proves that they hung on to your every word. The teachers enjoyed the presentation as much as the kids, I looked around the auditorium and saw big grins on their faces.”—Kaj Malmstern, Addams School, Long Beach, CA

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What My Mother Told Me

As a child in Chicago my Mother told and read me stories and imprinted in my mind the joy and power of reading. “If you can read you can do anything!” she reminded me constantly.

While in high school in the 60’s I began telling stories  of Africa and African-American history. Later, I told stories to my daughter as she grew up. She even listened to my stories when she was a teenager!

In 1992, in Los Angeles, I was introduced to professional storyteller Joel ben Izzy. I was amazed to hear that there were people who made a living telling stories. I vowed that I would join their ranks and that my motto would be, “Have mouth, Will run it!”

A week or two later I asked myself what I would do as a profession if I was Independently wealthy. "Tell stories" was the answer. So I went out and had business cards printed up and began gathering folk tales from different countries at my local library.

One day the Young Adult librarian asked if I was writing a paper. When I informed him that I was  a Storyteller he asked if I could give a workshop to a group of kids who wanted to learn storytelling. And, remembering my Mother’s words, I replied, “Of course.” 

The workshop was a success and I’ve been running my mouth around the country and around the world ever since.

And that’s the end of that!

“I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to you for a residency well done. I realize how much heart and effort you put into your workshop. You encouraged these young people to dare to dream that they can challenge their future and win. You succeeded to make a difference in these youngsters lives.”—Sheila Scott-Wilkinson, Artistic Director, Theatre Of Hearts: Youth First

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References

  • Ann Buxie; Tales By The Sea, Malibu, CA ;310 457-2385;
  • Brian Bemel; Performances To Grow On; 805 646-8907; bbemel@sbcglobal.net
  • Ken Frawley; Dreamshapers;888 499-1270; kenf@production-associates.com
  • Sheila Scott-Wilkinson; Theatre of Hearts, Youth First; 213 384-6878; info@theatreofhearts.org
  • Raymond Kohl; Teacher; 818 990-7891

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Performance Highlights

  • Armand Hammer Museum California Afro-American Museum
  • The House of Blues, Los Angeles African Market Place, Los Angeles
  • Knott’s Berry Farm
  • Fowler Museum-U.C.L.A.
  • John Anson Ford Theater Plaza de la Raza, Los Angeles
  • African Festival of the Arts,Chicago Whole Life Expo, Los Angeles
  • Bay Area Storytelling Festival Santa Monica Museum of Art
  • Autry Museum of Western Heritage National Storytelling Conference
  • Summer Solstice Folk, Dance, Music & Storytelling Festival
  • Co-Director Los Angeles World Storytelling Festival (2002, 2003)
  • National Storytelling Festival (Exchange Place)
  • Museum of Contemporary Art

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Awards and Grants

  • Public Corporation of the Arts Grant (Long Beach, CA) 1994 -1999
  • Candlelight Award for Sharing Hope 1998 (South Africa)
  • National Storytelling Network’s 2003 Leadership & Service Award (Pacific Region)

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Professional Associations

  • The GRIOT Workshop (Director)
  • National Storytelling Network (NSN)
  • Community Storytellers
  • National Association of Black Storytellers
  • Dreamshapers Arts Organization (VP)
  • LARP Literacy Council (VP)

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Education

  • Midwest Center for the Study of Oriental Medicine
  • Doug Lipman’s Storytellers Workshop
  • Scott Kelman, Performance Techniques

“I went to your presentation and was blown away. You told your stories with such excitement and enthusiasm that you literally turned my frown upside down. You did a terrific job in painting a picture of what was going on in our head! Thank you for brightening my evening.”—10th Grade English student, Taft High School, LA, CA

 

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©2004 Michael D. McCarty