Tampa/Hillsborough County Storytelling Festival

Featured Teller

How the Festival Contributes

The contributions of the Storytelling Festival to the culture and community are many any varied, including:

The TAMPA-HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY STORYTELLING FESTIVAL contributes to the storytelling community by

  1. increasing awareness of the art form
  2. providing venues which showcase storytellers
  3. training and nurturing new tellers
  4. offering workshops for experienced tellers

All year, storytellers from the Festival, both adults and exceptional quality student storytellers (the Ambassador Club), are featured at community events at malls, festivals and other locations. Their participation in these events has helped emphasize the importance of storytelling as a vehicle both for communicating literature and human values and for providing family entertainment that promotes interaction between people of all ages.

The culminating Festival in April features hundreds of storytellers of all ages telling in the traditional style of storytelling and a host of other art forms used in storytelling. Balladeers, dancers, puppeteers, mimes, actors and costumed storybook characters are just a few of the diverse local artists who combine their art with storytelling at the Festival.

The swapping corner invites the public to join in and tell their own stories, and lunchtime heralds the entrance of a parade of storybook characters, such as Little Red Riding Hood, who visit each family’s picnic spread. A listener might personally hear of Little Red’s encounter with a wolf or receive a pearl of wisdom from the Wizard of Oz.

The Festival continues to assert the position of storytelling as a valid art form by providing meaningful compensation to storytellers, rather than asking them to volunteer their time or perform for less than their usual fee at the Festival. In addition to monetary compensation, these artists also receive promotion in pre- and post-event publicity (print, television and radio), a listing in the Festival program, and the opportunity to distribute brochures and business cards at a resource table at the Festival.

From October to January each year, workshops are held for adults who work with children. These teachers, recreation leaders, parents and others then instruct the children in the art of storytelling. The children select stories to tell from books, and are coached by teachers, recreation leaders, or their parents.

In February and March, children tell their stories at a series of mini-festivals throughout the County. Those children who meet the Storytelling Committee’s criteria for outstanding storytelling are deemed to be Festival Quality Storytellers and are invited to be featured storytellers at the culminating Festival in April. All children who learn stories are awarded a certificate thanking them for promoting the art of storytelling. Those children who are Festival Quality Storytellers are featured at the Festival and awarded gift books and ribbons at that event (approximately 500 each year).

The Festival Committee created a manual for teaching storytelling. Updates to this manual are made as needed. This manual guides teachers (who often are novice tellers) step by step through the process of turning shy and awkward children into Festival Quality Storytellers who can confidently stand in front of an audience and share a story. Manual highlights include:

  • suggested lesson plans, with a time line,
  • a variety of storytelling games and activities,
  • detailed instructions on coaching storytellers,
  • suggested curriculum tie-ins, and
  • a bibliography of books and Web sites for further help in bringing storytelling into the classroom.

This manual has all the information a storyteller with any level of experience needs to get started. The manual was designed to be helpful for enhancing the school curriculum with storytelling, even if a teacher is not planning to participate in the Festival. The Festival includes free workshops for those who are interested in becoming storytellers or who wish to polish their existing storytelling skills.

The addition of a free workshop on Sunday extended the Festival to a three-day event. Sunday’s longer and more in-depth workshop will be led by the national teller and will be for both novice and experienced tellers from sixth grade through adult. Attendees at workshops include teachers, students, recreation leaders, Sunday school teachers, Boy and Girl Scout leaders, preschool teachers, parents, grandparents, storytelling hobbyists and professional tellers.
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  • Contributing to the Storytelling Community

    The TAMPA-HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY STORYTELLING FESTIVAL is part of the “renaissance of storytelling [which] is cascading across the country, a renaissance heard in the clear voices of teachers, librarians, corporate executives, therapists, ministers, parents, and others for whom storytelling is a vibrant part of everyday life and work” (from NSN homepage). The Festival supports the movement that began in Jonesborough and takes it into schools, recreation centers and homes of Hillsborough County, Florida.
    The Festival gives back to the storytelling community by sharing resources with the storytelling community nationally — and internationally. Through the website, www.tampastory.org, you can see a schedule of this yea;s events, request a copy of the excellent manual, ask questions, link to other great storytelling sites, and find out more about next year’s Storytelling Festival.The Festival has inspired other communities throughout Florida and the United States to work with children as storytellers. The Festival is looked upon as a leader and model for teaching children to tell stories. Every year more and more information requests are received from around the country.

  • Contributing to the National Storytelling Network (NSN)

    The TAMPA-HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY STORYTELLING FESTIVAL is part of the “renaissance of storytelling [which] is cascading across the country, a renaissance heard in the clear voices of teachers, librarians, corporate executives, therapists, ministers, parents, and others for whom storytelling is a vibrant part of everyday life and work” (from NSN homepage). The Festival supports the movement that began in Jonesborough and takes it into schools, recreation centers and homes of Hillsborough County, Florida.
    The Festival gives back to the storytelling community by sharing resources with the storytelling community nationally — and internationally. Through the website, www.tampastory.org, you can see a schedule of this yea;s events, request a copy of the excellent manual, ask questions, link to other great storytelling sites, and find out more about next year’s Storytelling Festival.The Festival has inspired other communities throughout Florida and the United States to work with children as storytellers. The Festival is looked upon as a leader and model for teaching children to tell stories. Every year more and more information requests are received from around the country.

  • Contributing to the Tampa-Hillsborough County Community

    There are lots of smiling faces at the TAMPA-HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY STORYTELLING FESTIVAL. They’re young, old, and in-between. Family remembrances, old tales, and new adventures are shared and stored in memory to be brought out another day for new sharing. Youth storytellers bask in the limelight as their talents are recognized. Parents beam proudly on their prodigy. Families talk about ideas, insights and shared experiences. New skills for communicating and personal growth evolve and families strengthen their relationships and gain new respect for one another as they realize the joy of our common humanity.

  • Reaching Out to At-Risk Students

    There are lots of smiling faces at the TAMPA-HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY STORYTELLING FESTIVAL. They’re young, old, and in-between. Family remembrances, old tales, and new adventures are shared and stored in memory to be brought out another day for new sharing. Youth storytellers bask in the limelight as their talents are recognized. Parents beam proudly on their prodigy. Families talk about ideas, insights and shared experiences. New skills for communicating and personal growth evolve and families strengthen their relationships and gain new respect for one another as they realize the joy of our common humanity.

  • Supporting Youth Storytellers and the Adults Who Work With Them

    The Festival placed storytelling resource book collections at all City and County Recreation Centers and Playgrounds. These books are used by the children to select suitable stories for telling. They are especially helpful for children who do not have a library within easy walking distance and who may have little or no book resources at home. (This also aids in the development of reading interest and literacy skills for these children.) There are collections of ready-to-tell stories appropriate for children in inner city settings who may have less “world experience” and coaching/support from parents.A professional storytelling coach visits recreation centers to help leaders and their young storytellers polish their storytelling performances. This teller helps the children better refine their performances and provides them with personal contact with a quality teller.

  • Serving all Ages and Cultures

    People from all cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds attend the Storytelling Festival. They range in ages from babes in arms to octogenarians. In 1980, the first year of the festival, the audience totaled 1,000 people. Throughout the year of 2005 over 19,000 people attended storytelling events produced by over 30 professional and semi-professional tellers.

  • Expanding Public Awareness of Storytelling

    That the TAMPA-HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY STORYTELLING FESTIVAL has successfully expanded public awareness of storytelling is made clear by the growing crowds at the culminating Festival.Announcements of the culminating Festival reach a wide range of people through the media contacted in the marketing campaign. Sponsors, which range from The Tampa Tribune to radio stations and broadcast and cable television stations, carry Festival advertisements for free.

    Information is distributed through the school system, city and county recreation centers, book stores, businesses, museums, and libraries, including the inner-city and rural areas of the county. Each school is sent materials encouraging the media specialist and teachers to introduce their students to the art of storytelling and to encourage them to participate in the Festival. Manuals and videos made available to teachers and others include lesson plans to enable them to easily include the art of storytelling in the curriculum.

    The Festival uses this site to spread the word about storytelling and to share information with people in Hillsborough County and around the world.

  • Involving the Community

    The Storytelling Festival Committee takes pride in the number and variety of people from throughout the Tampa area that are involved in the Festival.The Festival Committee handles planning, marketing, fund raising, and administrative details. Members include librarians, recreation department employees (city and county), professional storytellers, teachers, school administrative personnel, business people, computer people, community leaders, and parents of student tellers.

    The Storytelling Festival involves a number of local creative artists, including members of the Tampa Bay Storytellers Guild, members of the Florida Suncoast Puppet Guild, Tampa Recreation Creative Arts Theater performers, and, of course, the student storytellers.

    Teaching the students how to tell stories involves school and public librarians, recreation department leaders, teachers, and parents. Children from kindergarten through twelfth grade are involved as tellers. Evaluating the student storytellers at mini-festivals involves school administration, county and city recreational personnel, parents, and community volunteers.

    An average of twenty to thirty sponsors each year are introduced to the power of story and its impact on children’s lives. Sponsors include Target Stores, IBM, Bright House Tampa Electric, and The Tampa Tribune.

  • Showcasing Storytelling for Diverse Audiences

    A storyteller who tells using American Sign Language has been added to the roster of professional tellers at the culminating Festival. This service to the hearing impaired community also raises awareness of storytelling’s many faces.Bilingual Spanish storytelling has been an integral part of the Festival for many years. In 1998 the Festival opened a multilingual storytelling area. Stories in Spanish and English, French and English, African languages and English, American Sign Language and English were featured in this area.In the spring the City of Tampa Parks & Recreation Department sponsors a weekly Friday night concert. The national teller is highlighted during the concert on the Friday night before the Festival. Thus the Festival is promoted in a very active and entertaining way to music concert-goers who may not hear of the Festival otherwise.

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Contact Us

M. Falvey
c/o Tampa-Hillsborough County Library
900 N Ashley Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
info@tampastory.org
813-273-3764

What the Festival contributes:

County-wide mini-festivals each Spring …

In February and March, children tell their stories at a series of mini-festivals throughout the County. Those children who meet the Storytelling Committee’s criteria for outstanding storytelling are deemed to be Festival Quality Storytellers and are invited to be featured storytellers at the culminating Festival in April. All children who learn stories are awarded a certificate thanking them for promoting the art of storytelling. Those children who are Festival Quality Storytellers are featured at the Festival and awarded gift books and ribbons at that event (approximately 500 each year).

See a Map


Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library, Home of the 37th Annual Hillsborough County-Tampa Storytelling Festival: 1505 Nebraska Ave., Tampa, FL 33602

Countdown!

hourglass-5 days and counting until the 37th Annual Storytelling Festival is here!

What they’re saying:

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“This [Festival] is a wonderful opportunity to see and hear storytelling at its best by some terrific young talent. Great job Storytellers!”

— Deanna Long, Festival Attendee

In Memory

Virginia RiversThe Annual Tampa-Hillsborough County Storytelling Festival is dedicated to the memory of Virginia Rivers