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Winter Storytelling Festival

Storyteller Bios

Featured Teller Rex Ellis
Regional Tellers
Saturday Storytellers
KSU Tellers and Alumni

Featured Teller Rex Ellis
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Regional Tellers
Tersi Bendiburg, a bilingual storyteller, was born in Cuba and has lived, since the age of ten, in Georgia. She has been telling stories professionally since 1992. She's in the roster of Young Audiences of Atlanta, through the Woodruff Arts Center. The bulk of Tersi's work is in the metro-Atlanta schools, presenting programs for K through 12th grade students; She has also performed in numerous schools and festivals throughout the country. Tersi tells folktales from Latin America as well as personal and family stories and weaves Spanish words into her stories and songs.
Over 25 years ago Bob Harris began visiting the classroom telling stories of King Arthur and his knights. Through the years he has added personal stories of growing up in Northwest Georgia. He has hemophilia which adds a little color (black and blue) to his tales. Bob is a member of the Seven Hills Tellers and currently teachers eighth grade Georgia Studies weaving storytelling into the classroom where he tries to make the class more "his story" and l ess history
Grace Hawthorne is a writer, performer and the Managing Editor of the national Storytelling Magazine. She has created a one-woman show, "The Gift," a 9/11 tribute. She also created "From Plains to the White House and Beyond," commissioned by the Carter Presidential Center. Her audio tapes, Waterproof Stories and More Waterproof Stories, have been heard on National Public Radio. Grace and Martha Tate are collaborators on "Pushy Broads and Proper Southern Ladies" and Monka Mae and Edna.
Phil Kaplan is a stockbroker b profession, a husband, father, grandfather, traveler, hiker, retirement home bingo caller, financial business history buff, patriotic consumer and an observer of human behavior. He creates and relates stories mined from his 70 years of experience to enlighten and entertain adult audiences of all ages.
Joe Keenan loves stories about people and the silly, wonderful, terrible, amazing things they do. A long-time actor, he is a member of the Southern Order of Storytelling, The Tennessee Storytelling Association, and the National Storytelling Network. With his wife, Nan, Joe travels wherever stories are told, wherever hugs and laughter roll free.
Martha Tate has two lives-storyteller and story listener. As a psychotherapist, she listens to the stories of others. As a storyteller, she both listens and tells stories. Since writing her master's thesis on the therapeutic value of stories, she has been entranced by the healing power of story. She was the executive producer and performer on the children's video tape "The Story House". Past performances are Tellabration '98, Winter Storytelling Festival, Callanwolde, Atlanta History Center and at her church and private events

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Saturday Storytellers
Larry Atkins. True storytelling began for five year old Larry when he moved to his grandparents' rural non-electric farm in South Eastern Missouri. His grandfather, born in Norway where storytelling was the entertainment, would tell biblical stories after dinner under the light of an oil lantern. A very welcomed evening delight.
Becky Abbott has been listening to stories for as long as she can remember. The first song she ever learned to sing was "Barbara Allen" (All 27 verses). However, her love for actually telling stories was awakened by Professor Mary Elena Kirk during her time as an undergraduate at KSU. But her love of tall tales, fairy tales, folk tales, and ballads was instilled in her by her mother.
BJ Abraham has been a professional storyteller since 1983. In 1998, she received her Masters Degree. BJ's stories usually have a humorous flavor to them, frequently including some of her many character voices. Her best-known character is "Witchenstein," a friendly witch, and her original Titanic story is much requested.
John Beavin joined the Southern Order of Storytellers in 1989. He has thoroughly enjoyed being a member of the storytelling community, both as a storyteller and a story listener. John’s favorite stories are multicultural folk tales and tall tales, particularly ones with a Southern flavor. He also delivers storytelling workshops.
Neville Carson discovered the perfect blend of writing and acting in storytelling. His telling style combines down-home and downtown, tall tales and timing. His influences include Chuck Larkin, Lori Herbert and Arlo Guthrie. He loves his wife Julie and sone Nick so much it makes his socks pop off.
"Miss Jane" Cunningham, a resident of Rome, GA, enjoys stories set in the days when reds were the only shades of finger nail polish, soda fountains were in drug stores, and ladies wore white from the waist down only after Easter and before Labor Day. She tells stories that brim with warmth.
Christy Foelsch's stories are told not to entertain but to involve. With a sprinkle of magic and a tough of wonder the story begins to wrap the teller and listener so both are touched with laughter, healing and a greater appreciation of themselves and others.
Audrey Galex Heartwarming family stories and wisdom-rich Jewish tales fill her repertoire. Her company, Roots & Wings Life Stories, helps people preserve their life stories through videotaped interviews, community history projects, reminiscence groups and story programs. She is also co-creator of “Tapestry: An Arab-Jewish Storytelling Dialogue”.
Chetter Galloway has a Master's degree in Storytelling from East Tennessee State University. He first experienced the power of storytelling while working at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Storytelling became an integral part of his life as the Curator of African-American Studies for Historic Brattonsville in McConnells, SC. He specializes in African and African-American stories and has an eclectic repertoire of stories.
Ron Hart has over 35 years of public speaking and theater experience. His roles have ranged from a gangster in "Kiss Me Kate" to the President of the US in the musical "Annie". He has given speeches to audiences of all kinds and is the storyteller at Buckhead Community Church.
Jane Hinds has enjoyed telling stories to her grandchildren for years. Lately she is concentrating on stories with historical backgrounds and enjoys research to prepare factual ones. True Civil War tales, Beatrix Potter, Orphan Train Children, Teddy Roosevelt’s daughters and the White Rose of Munich are some of her favorites.
His high school English students told David Hobson he mesmerized them with his stories. He later discovered "storytelling" upon entering tall tales contest. Now retired, he enjoys telling at Cleveland Elementary School near his Fayetteville home to support its character education program. He also enjoys playing the dulcimer during storytelling.
Ashley Ivey, a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam, has been a storyteller for 14 years. He often tells in tandem with his wife, Ruth, to whom he has been married 58 years. Ruth has encouraged Ashley to tell about his war experiences, especially those from World War II.
Warren David Jacobs is an Atlanta psychiatrist, but his soul identify is that of a composer of Jewish music, writer and storyteller. In additional to telling, he has produced a tape, Shirei Nafshi-Songs of my Soul, and in 2002, he edited a book, Tree Stories: A Collection of Extraordinary Encounters.
Ron Kemp specializes in original humorous stories from small town American. He spent most of his growing up years in Woodstock, GA, the setting for most of his stories. Ron doesn’t ever remember not telling stories. He grew up in a family of storytellers, only they did not know it was storytelling.
"Mama Koku", Donna "Kokumo" Buie Ogedegbe, has been telling stories professionally for 7 years. Her storytelling gives you the feeling you're experiencing a "mini theatre piece". She has performed throughout metro Atlanta area and at the Minneapolis Signifyin' and Testifyin' Storytelling Festival, the National Black Arts Festival and the Decatur Arts Festival.
Bob Linsenmayer was a folksinger and humorist on the West Coast during the 1960s. He then gave up performing professionally for 30 years. In 1996, he retired, moved to South Carolina and began his storytelling career. He now presents a mix of stories and songs in schools, libraries and festivals.
Hailing from Texas, Delanna Reed adopted Tennessee as her home in 1989. She teaches full time in the ETSU Graduate Storytelling Program, guiding fledgling storytellers in character development and delivery skills. Telling traditional and original tales, Delanna’s favorite stories touch upon the sacred and build bridges of understanding between people.
Barbara Reeves lives in Cave Spring, GA. Since 1989, she has been telling stories in Northwest Georgia and has told at the Atlanta Storytelling Festival and the Winter Storytelling Festival. Barbara considers herself a "perpetuator of tales", and the stories she tells are told with lots of energy and enthusiasm!
Cecilia Romero tells stories from folktales of the diverse cultures of the Caribbean and the the Americas. She accompanies her stories with various musical instrusments such as the guitar, maracas, guiro and samponyas which add to the flavor of the tales. Cecilia also tells personal stories of growing up in the Latino culture.
Diane Rooks is a native of Atlanta and author of Spinning Gold out of Straw: How Stories Heal. She holds a M.Ed in storytelling and serves as secretary and resource coordinator of the Healing Story Alliance. Diane helps Compassionate Friends, hospice, bereaved children and others to investigate loss with stories.
Jo Sanders has been sharing humor with her stories for more than 18 years. As a world traveler, she delights in sharing stories with groups of all ages. She has performed at storytelling events and festivals across the USA and is a Roswell Magnolia Teller.
Deborah Strahorn performs interactive storytelling that makes books come alive. Audiences are invited to participate in multicultural stories through the use of sound and motion. Story lovers of all ages are engaged in stories that enhance literacy, facilitate learning and enrich the spirit.
Jane Sullivan's repertoire encompasses literary, folklore adaptations, personal anecdotes, history and poetry-infused with energy, humor and insight. If she hadn't been in the right place at the right time, she might never have found SOS. If she hadn't been in the wrong place at the wrong time, she might not have the story to tell.
Judy White, a storyteller since junior high school, is a charter member of SOS. She has been the Story Lady on WABE Radio, an elementary and pre-school teacher. She has degrees in speech, drama and elementary education. Currently she is a library associate with Fulton County performing weekly children’s programs.
Mary Williams—growing up in a preacher's home provides Mary with plenty of resources for Bible stories, great Southern tales, folktales, Southern lore and life experiences. Her stories touch your heart while they tickle your funny bone.

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KSU Tellers
Storytellers from the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies in the KSU College of Arts

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This page last modified February 23, 2007