Kevin Kling graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a BA in Theater in 1979. He has written many plays for children and family audiences including Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, by Bernard Waber, (premiered at the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis), Busytown, by Richard Scarry, (premiered at Seattle Children's Theatre) and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes, (premiered at SCT).
He has also written original works including Mississippi Panorama, (CTC), Perfectly Persephone, (Imagination Stage) and Best Summer Ever, (CTC).
His one person shows Home and Away, 21A, and How How, Why, Why, Why and his full cast plays Lloyd's Prayer and The Ice Fishing Play have been produced in regional theaters, including The Guthrie, Seattle Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, the Goodman, Kennedy Center, Denver Center and off Broadway at Westside Arts and Second Stage Theater.
Orchestral commissions include the Minnesota Orchestra's Home for the Holidays and Joyful Echoes. Collaborating with composer Victor Zupanc: For the Birds for the Zeitgeist ensemble and The Burning Wisdom of Finn McCool and The Twelve Dancing Princesses for the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.
Awards include the Whiting Award, NEA, McKnight, Bush Fellowship, Jerome Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board the A.P. Anderson Award, the VSA Jeahny, and the Eric Peterson Award.
Kevin is a frequent storyteller at storytelling festivals across the country. He has written five books and appears often on PBS and Minnesota Public Radio. His PBS autobiographical documentary Kevin Kling: Lost and Found won a Regional Emmy as a teacher, playwright, performer. He was named the Minneapolis Storyteller Laureate by Mayor RT Rybak in 2014.
Kevin is most proud of his work as a teacher, playwright and performer with Interact Center, a company that creates art in the spirit of radical inclusion. His website is www.kevinkling.com.
Joy was born and raised in England. Born in Yorkshire and raised by her grandparents. At a young age
the family moved close to London where they were living when WWII broke out. They remained in that
area the entire war surviving the Blitz and V1, V2 attacks.
Joy traveled to Woodstock shortly after WWII ended to visit relatives, met her husband while on that
visit and has made Woodstock her home since. She is an author of several books and an avid storyteller
conducting a Storytelling Group once each month for anyone interested in that art.
KUCHA BROWNLEE AND BABA TONY BROWN
This dynamic storytelling duo combines their talents and experience to bring magical moments
to their performances. Their compelling storytelling is enhanced by audience participation
accompanied by singing, African drumming, learning and lots of fun. And, the audience’s
enthusiastic responses are always welcome. Their programs are highly entertaining, culturally
enriching, and engaging.
Kucha came to storytelling by way of theatre. She toured the Midwest and Canada with several
children’s theatre companies. Storytelling is a marriage of her experience and training, earning
a BA in English and a Master in Business. Baba Tony was a public speaker and trainer prior to
storytelling. He is also a certified coach facilitator. He plays an array of instruments. Baba Tony
also teaches the primary foundation skills of drumming (Djembe). They have been performing
together for over 20 years. Kucha and Baba Tony are traveling artists that have performed
throughout the United States, performing for children, adults and elders.
In addition to telling, Kucha and Baba Tony have facilitated storytelling and drumming
workshops for the Department of Children and Family Services, Umoja, Inc., Alliance Library
System, the Spirit Lights Foundation, Inc., and Public Allies to name a few. They believe stories
are sacred and love sharing their talents that have made them sought after to enhance
programs across the country. They were recently featured Storytellers at the 42 nd Fox Valley
Folk Music & Storytelling Festival and at the Evanston Public Library’s 4 th Annual
Storytelling Festival. Kucha’s newly released CD entitled, “Planted Bulbs” is now available.
Kelly Campos is a youth librarian in the south suburbs of Chicago. Born in Detroit, her story until now has taken her from ballet to Second City Detroit Mainstage, from rock & roll singer/songwriter to Kinko's copy specialist, and finally to the literary activism of librarianship. She believes in the power of stories to inspire, entertain, educate, and enlighten.
Chris Fascione’s greatest passion has always been entertaining children and their families, connecting with and engaging his audience through his fun, energetic and high-spirited performances. He presents his one-man show, “Bringing Literature to Life!,” in which he acts out stories his audience can then check out from the school or local library, for schools, libraries and other family venues. Chris has been touring throughout the United States for over twenty five years, performing over 300 shows annually. He has conducted workshops on storytelling and read-aloud techniques to educational professionals and has been the keynote speaker at numerous literary events and Young Authors conferences. Chris is delighted to be a part of this year’s Spring Grove Storytelling Festival!
Chris is a “Storytelling World” award-winner, has been featured through “Reading is Fundamental,” highlighted at the Connecticut and Illinois Storytelling Festivals, and has appeared on several children’s television programs. He has been honored to have been selected by the Illinois Arts Council to be on their Artstour Roster of Artists for many years.
As a professional storyteller/actor, Chris incorporates his acting, mime, juggling and comedic skills to both entertain and lead children into the world of books, promoting literacy and a love of reading. He received his theater training from Connecticut College and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and worked with several national children’s theater companies such as the Missoula Children’s Theater and Child’s Play Touring Theatre prior to developing his own show. Originally from Philadelphia, Chris and his late beloved wife Diane adopted and raised two terrific kids, Nick and Andrew, in Oak Park, Illinois, where Chris makes his home. The boys are now on their own, but Cleo, the cat, is still happily fed here.
NESTOR "THE BOSS" GOMEZ
Nestor “the Boss” Gomez
Was born in Guatemala and traveled to Chicago Undocumented in the mid 80’s. He told his first story at a Moth story slam to get over the stuttering that plagued his childhood, since then he has won more than 70 Moth Slams. Nestor has performed and conducted storytelling workshops in multiple locations around the country.
He also created his own storytelling show 80 Minutes Around the World a show that features the stories of Immigrants and refugees from different parts of the world, their descendants, and allies. 80 Minutes Around the World is also available as a Podcast.
Nestor also published a collection of stories detailing his experiences driving for ride sharing title “Your Driver Has Arrived” To listen and subscribe to the podcast, to buy his book and to learn more about Nestor visit his website Nestorgomezstoryteller.com
Nestor “the boss” Gomez
Nacio en Guatemala y viajo a Chicago sin documentos a mediados de los 80. Nestor conto su primer relato en un evento de la Moth para poder vencer la tartamudez que atormento su niñez, desde entonces a ganado mas de 70 competencias de la Moth. Sus relatos han sido transmitidos en programas de radio a nivel nacional. Nestor es el creador, director y anfitrion de su propio programa de relatos 80 minutos alrededor del mundo en que se relatan las historias de Inmigrantes y refugiados de diferentes partes del mundo, ademas de los relatos de sus descendientes y aliados con el fin de proveer un mejor entendimiento de las realidades, luchas y sueños de la experiencia migratoria.
80 minutos alrededor del mundo tambien esta disponible come Podcast. Para escuchar y subscribirse al programa y para aprender aun mas sobre Nestor por favor de visitar la pagina de internet Nestorgomezstoryteller.com
CAROL kAUFMAN kERMAN
Carol Kaufman-Kerman works outdoors in a Jewish nature preschool called Ta'am Teva. She gets to tell stories about evergreens with spruce and pine trees towering over her and the kids. Her stories spark the imagination for little listeners and adults too. She's told stories at preschools, storytelling festivals and corporate events. Her personal stories remind us of our own life and family and the anecdotes that have shaped us. She believes that we keep our loved ones alive through story.
Dan Keding, storyteller of international acclaim, is well known for his telling of traditional world folktales, personal narratives of his boyhood in Chicago, ghost stories and dark tales, and superbly crafted original pieces. As a child he learned the traditional stories that his grandmother brought to this country from Croatia. A well-respected ballad singer, he accompanies himself on guitar, banjo and spoons. This combination of dynamic storytelling and powerful ballad singing has made him a festival and concert favorite throughout the US, Great Britain and Ireland, endearing him to audiences of all ages. https://www.dankeding.com/
Jim May is a former teacher, college counselor, and an EMMY award-winning storyteller and author. He has been a full time, free lance storyteller since 1986. His storytelling appearances include venues across the US, as well as in Canada, Mexico, Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and Paris. He has been inducted into the National Storytelling Network’s “Circle of Excellence”(Hall of Fame).
Jim is the founding Artistic Director of the Illinois Storytelling Festival held in Spring Grove, Il and served as it’s artistic guide for twenty years. The festival received annual programming grants from The Illinois Arts Council and was listed by “Parenting” magazine as one of America’s best family events.
His first collection of stories, THE FARM ON NIPPERSINK CREEK (August House, Atlanta, 1994) won a Best Book award from the American Public Library Association. His latest collection of stories, TRAIL GUIDE FOR A CROOKED HEART (Parkhurst Brothers, Marion, Mi 2016) won an Anne Izard best book award from the Westchester County, New York public library foundation.
Susan Stone is a professional storyteller and teaching artist. She shares, with an open heart, world folklore, Jewish folktales as well as Chasidic tales, and personal stories for adults and children. She has taught improv, acting, story theatre, and served on the adjunct faculty
of National-Louis University. Her stories have appeared in many anthologies and her recordings have garnered Parents' Choice Gold, Storytelling World, and
NAPPA Gold Awards. She has directed for the Chicago Jewish Theatre. Major performances include: Chicago YIVO: Summer Festival of Yiddish Culture, IL Storytelling Festival, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Children's
Humanities Festival, Chicago History Museum, and performances at festivals in Warsaw, Lodz and Lublin, Poland. Most recently Susan has offered workshops at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library, The Illinois Holocaust Museum, and Hands of Peace (Jewish/Israeli/Palestinian teens). Susan tours the country with “Sisters of Story”, an interfaith performance troupe.
She is thrilled to be participating with that special guy...Jim May-- at this festival. Her tales entertain, enlighten and illuminate the human condition.
Susan is also a volunteer docent at the Illinois Holocaust Museum, and also helps train docents in storytelling.
Rich has used a story to emphasize many a topic while teaching Fire Science, Paramedics and now Horticulture and Agriculture classes at McHenry County College. The first full length story he told was historical, about the Spring Grove Fire Department, during an historical house walk. Since then he has told many a personal, family (growing up in Chicago), farm, historical, ghost stories…and even a few tall tales. He has told stories at the Illinois Storytelling Festival, Stage Left in Woodstock, In Vino Veritas, The McHenry County Historical Society and the Burton Township historical events and cemetery walks, bringing many a Spring Grove character to life. He is a retired fire chief, a farmer and a college adjunct faculty member. He has written several stories and is a fan of the personal story…generally with a twist at the end. He is looking forward to meeting you at the new Spring Grove Storytelling Festival, October 1.
For the last 35 years two time World Magic Award winner Will Tremont has entertained audiences across the country and around the world as a renowned raconteur and with engaging sleight of hand. Will’s storytelling roots go back 3 generations to 1873 when his great grandfather was kidnapped by Gypsies in Italy, a story Will recounts in his one man show Sleight of Heart.
Donna Washington is an award-winning internationally known master storyteller, artist-educator, and author who has been performing for audiences of all ages for over thirty-five years. She is renowned for her storytelling for both children & adults from poignant & funny fables about the human condition to racy relationships stories to spine-tingling tales of terror. She has been featured at numerous festivals, schools & libraries theaters and other venues around the world including Canada, Peru, Argentina & Hong Kong. During the pandemic, she has presented over two hundred shows & workshops virtually online. In 2020, she co-founded the non-profit organization Artists Standing Strong Together with Master Storyteller Sheila Arnold.
Donna's eleven storytelling CDs have garnered thirty national awards. She has authored numerous articles about storytelling and education including her very popular blog Language, Literacy & Storytelling. She is also the author of four children’s books: Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa, A Pride of African Tales, The Story of Kwanzaa, A Big Spooky House, and Boo Stew. Peachtree Press is scheduled to publish her next picture book, Prak Fills The House, in September 2023. She travels all over the world performing and giving workshops. She lives with her husband and two cats in Durham, NC.
Megan Wells is a respected and experienced story and theater artist. She is known for creating an intimate storytelling atmosphere, infusing her characters with living souls, and delivering the experience with delicious theatrical timing. Author and Professor Rives Collins says it best:
"Megan Wells is both intimate and epic in equal measure."
An award-winning storyteller, Megan performs in museums and symphonies, enhances education for thousands of children, entertains families in festivals and libraries, and helps executives, actors, and storytellers craft powerful stories to effect change.
With more than forty years of experience, Megan has developed an extensive story repertoire. Perhaps, her daughters describe her most accurately:
"Mom's a storytelling jukebox. Put a quarter 'n pick your favorite!"
Megan is also among the top literary storytellers in America. As the Artistic Director of the Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival, Megan was granted permission by Ray himself to perform his works. Additionally, she is equally comfortable in the jazzier domains of Chicago's current spoken word explosion.