OPEN MIC  June 20, 8 – 10 p.m.  Wesley UMC-OKC Fellowship Hall, located just off NW 25 and Classen Blvd.

This event is free to the public.  Come and join the fun.

G-rated, family friendly, nonpolitical entertainment is invited to perform in the Fellowship Hall.

All ages are welcome to perform for a maximum of five minutes per act.  Sound equipment is provided, but performers need to bring their own instruments, props, or recorded music.

Wesley is a smoke free and alcohol free environment.  Refreshments will be provided.

Call Wesley UMC 525-3521 Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to register your performance.

Wesley is planning two more Open MICs this summer, July 18, and August 15.

OKC Story Telling Group Folds Its Tent

Citing not enough interest, despite a central location, lots of free parking, and an attractive venue, the group has decided to call it quits.  No more regular meetings, but possibly an occasional workshop or concert event.



Members of the Territory Tellers and the OKC Tellers groups shared exciting stories as part of a fundraising event sponsored by Wesley UMC in OKC.  The event was on behalf of the faith based reading assistance program, Whiz Kids.


Oklahoma author Marilyn A. Hudson announces the publication of STORIES CENTER STAGE, a brief look at the history of storytelling in Oklahoma from the early years of the 20th century to today. "The book is just an introduction to the people, organizations and events that defined the role of the art form for most of Oklahoma."  Using newspapers, archives, private collections, and interviews, Hudson has gathered an interesting look at the subject.
It includes history of the festivals, concerts, and groups who promoted the use of stories using the traditional oral art form we know as storytelling.  In addition, short biographies introduce some of the pioneers and current artisans of the craft in the state.
"I wanted to add just a little bit to the body of knowledge we have about the development and life of this art form in the state," Hudson noted.  "I hope it will inspire others to further examine the art form and preserve its history wherever it is found. I hope too that people
discover the vital, timeless, and ever-adapting art of sharing a story face-to-face."



Let me tell you about....tonight's meeting of the OKC Tellers.

Share tall tales, amazing whoppers, and extraordinary stories....who can be the best?  

7 p.m., meeting in rooms at the Wesley UMC, NW 25 & Classen, west parking lot and entrance.



One of the most popular features of the Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival is the annual 'GHOST STORIES' session.  Audiences' love this time when lights are dimmed, spines are chilled and hearts race as amazing storytellers share their haunting tales.

Kathryn Thurman
Hear tales from folklore, literature, local history and the imagination by some of the most skilled storytellers in the state.

The masterful master of ceremonies is Kathryn Thurman, well known as a contemporary Native American flutist and storyteller.  She sets the stage in a dramatic and shivery manner for the evening.

Sharing a story for the event will be :

Marilyn A. Hudson, aka, "The Ghost Teller", who has shared stories across the state and been featured performer at the "Spooky Stories and Twilight Tours" fund-raising for the Overholser Mansion four years.  An author, researcher and storyteller she digs into the past to find the secrets and then shares tales of mystery, chilling adventure and hauntings.
Others to be announced soon!
The best part? This 9 pm concert "Ghost Tales in the Pavilion" is FREE  to the public!



It is a natural fit to offer a workshop on the "Mother Road" since the June 13-14, 2014 Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival will be held this year on the campus of Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma.

A perfect stop for anyone vacationing along the famous road or anyone wanting to learn more about the over 400 miles of the road in Oklahoma as it travels from Chicago to California.

Workshop leader will be     .



Territory Tellers /  6619 S. 4382  / Locust Grove OK 74352

 Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival:   SPONSORSHIP LEVELS
June 13-14, 2014, Bethany, Oklahoma on the campus of Southern Nazarene University


Festival Sponsor (1):  $2,500 

Title and logo recognition on event signage and registration packets (Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival sponsored by ABC Corporation and Territory Tellers) 

Title recognition during pre-event publicity

Title and logo recognition in event program

Festival passes for 10 guests

Title and logo recognition on website


Storytelling Concert Sponsor (2):  $1,000 each

Logo and name recognition at sponsored concert

Concert passes for 5 guests for sponsored concert

Prominent signage at sponsored concert

Introduction at sponsored concert

Program recognition


Workshop sponsor (3 - Route 66, Religious, and Story Coaching):  $500 each

Logo and name recognition at sponsored workshop

Workshop passes for 2 guests for sponsored workshop

Prominent signage at sponsored workshop

Introduction at sponsored workshop

Program recognition


Hospitality Sponsor (2):  $250 each

Logo and name recognition at sponsored reception

Prominent signage at sponsored reception

Opportunity to attend reception and distribute business cards

Program recognition


Musical Concert Sponsor (2):  $50 each

Logo and name recognition at sponsored concert

Program recognition


Silent Auction Donor (unlimited – receipts given for value over $20) 

Individual donors listed in program. 


Please indicate the level of sponsorship you would like to provide. If the sponsorship level you seek has already been taken, we will contact you about another opportunity.  



Company or Organization____________________________________________________________

Mailing Address ____________________________________________________________________

City______________________________________State______________Zip Code_______________


Sponsorship Level Requested_________________________________________________________


Please mail this form with your check to Territory Tellers, 6619 S. 4382, Locust Grove OK 74352

Or use PayPal and make payment to territorytellers@hotmail.com.


“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here.”  Writer Sue Monk Kidd’s idea is shared by Oklahoma’s statewide storytelling organization, Territory Tellers. We have been working for over a quarter of a century to keep stories and storytelling alive in the human heart and soul. 
Our annual Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival is a major effort to do just that in our state. And we are asking for your help in this mission. Please consider being a sponsor for our 2014 festival at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, June 13-14.
We launched this festival as a direct result of the 2005 National Storytelling Conference in Oklahoma City, presented by the National Storytelling Network. This conference highlighted the resilience and fortitude of Oklahomans and commemorated the tenth anniversary of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. 
A festival sponsorship would provide you with an avenue to reach folks who enjoy a good story, have a real commitment to deepening family and civic ties, and appreciate what you do in your work to encourage both storytelling and community relationships.
For the Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival, different levels of sponsorships are available and listed on the accompanying page, along with the various sponsor benefits.  We are, however, currently in the process of re-establishing our 501.c.3 status and cannot guarantee tax deductions.
Should you have any questions about the sponsorships, the festival, or the organization, please visit our website at www.territorytellers.org and contact any of our officers:
            President:  Tony Hardman (realchapman@yahoo.com); Phone: 580-651-3708 (mobile)
            Vice President:  Loralee Cooley (storyspinning@sbcglobal.net); Phone: 806-282-9529 (mobile)
            Treasurer:  Paulette Geeslin (pdgeeslin4701@yahoo.com) Phone: 405-412-8960 (mobile)
            Secretary:  Liz Parker (elizabethparker862@yahoo.com); Phone:  405-245-5388
Thank you for your time and thoughtfulness in giving this invitation your consideration.  Please expect a follow-up contact soon from one of the board members to discuss any ideas you may have.  And we look forward to welcoming you to the 8th annual Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival in June.

 (See the entry on the levels of sponsorship available)



The "8th Annual Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival" June 13-14, 2014 in Bethany, Oklahoma will have concerts, workshops, ghost tales, and small group story swaps.  Among the workshops will be one exploring the use of storytelling to convey the message and values of the Bible. 

At  9:00 to 10:30 Saturday morning will be BIBLE STORIES ALIVE! with Barbara Wright Jones and Cynthia Calloway. In telling the sacred stories of Scripture brings the Bible and its people to life, and engages audiences in the process. This workship is for anyone interested in learning how to tell a story from scripture. 
Leading the workshop will be Barbara Wright Jones and Cynthia Law Calloway.  

Barbara Wright Jones, who is an award winning author, educator, ordained minister and one-time Nazarene missionary to South America, has been sharing stories for many years.   Barbara Wright Jones caught the storytelling fever when she was a child telling spooky tales to her sisters and friends. She grew up in Oklahoma, but as an adult her love for travel took her throughout the United States and Latin America. After returning to her home state she began telling stories professionally. Her years of travel opened a new world, and she continues to draw on that knowledge, adding life and richness to her stories. 

She has written a book of puppet plays, a short collection of bug poems, stories, and songs, several books for Spanish language teachers, as well as a biography, In the Footsteps of the Pioneers. Her most recent book, Rolling Heads and Other Tales to Tell, is medley of stories of Spanish explorers and folk tales of the native people of the Americas. Her stories and articles have been published in several including The Red Dirt Book 2007 Anthology. 

She has performed story programs in many venues across the United States including libraries, story festivals, schools, conferences, and teacher workshops. She travels with a story group, History of the Heart. Her performances include, legends, inspirational stories, family stories, Bible stories, Folk tales, & bilingual stories.

Cynthia Laws Calloway, (M.Ed, LPC (retired)  lives to be a storyteller exemplar. She specializes in telling stories of women from the Bible and African American sheros. She is a lover of Old Negro Spirituals so you may hear her sing some of those songs in her stories.

Cynthia has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and English Literature from The Colorado College, and a Master’s in Education, Guidance and Counseling from University of Central Florida. Yes, she has travels extensively abroad and in the states as a military family member and wife and corporate trainer. She is completing another Master’s degree in Arts and Culture from Phillip Theological Seminary in Tulsa, OK. 
Cynthia Laws Calloway
As an Oklahoma Licensed Professional Counseling (LPC, retired) she worked with trauma and families involved in the Murrah Building bombing, the May 3 tornado and the 9-11 terrorist attack. She now enjoys coaching and counseling individuals to overcome barriers to achievements their goals.  Cynthia’s stories are educational, spiritual and emotionally.

She is married to Roosevelt Calloway and has three daughters, three sons-in-laws, 10 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.  She and Roosevelt are both from Florida and hope to retire back there some day.

For more information and registration: www.territorytellers.org
The event will be held on the campus of Southern Nazarene University, along historic "Route 66" (now NW 39th Expressway).




The 7th Annual Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival will convene in Bethany, Oklahoma on the campus of Southern Nazarene University, June 13-14, 2014.  The location is on the “Mother Road”, historic Route 66, so it will be an exciting time with keynote teller, Kent Rollins, “The Cowboy Cook and Storyteller.” Rollins has been featured with Bobby Flay on the Food Network.  The exciting two-day event is presented by Oklahoma’s only statewide storytelling arts organization, The Territory Tellers.

Along with slingin’ hash, Kent has become pretty good at slingin’ bull as he describes life on the range through poetry and storytelling. Don’t be surprised if Kent gets a chuckle out of you because his poetry and storytelling talents have earned him the Skinny Roland Humor Award for Best Humorist and Storyteller and he was nominated three times for Best Storyteller, all by the Academy of Western Artists.  In addition to Rollins, some of the best of Oklahoma’s very own storytelling artists will be sharing their most tantalizing tales.   On Saturday look forward to Rollins’ workshops on “Dutch Oven Cooking and Maintenance Workshop” and “Western Heritage.”

Professional storyteller Fran Stallings will offer “Positive Feedback: A Coaching Workshop” in a 2 part series on Saturday.  These session focus on providing crucial feedback to a volunteer teller and in the process others can learn ways to improve how they develop as a story artist.

There will lots of opportunity to hear delightful and intriguing tales during the festival. Major evening storytelling concerts, featuring the keynote and select regional artists on both evenings and spread throughout both days are other mini-story concerts (swaps) and always fun informal “table telling.” Vendors, a silent auction and other events will round out activities.

Musical entertainment on Friday night in a special “pre-concert” event will be with prairie jazz band F5 Four playing music inspired by contemporary Oklahoma folklore and iconography.

Other special events will include shivery “Ghost Tales in the Pavilion” at 9 pm on Friday with Kathryn Thurman, Marilyn A. Hudson (The Ghost Teller), and others.  Kathy Anderson will be sharing the history and lore of Route 66, which is Bethany's main street, in a special workshop. Kathy is former president of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association and current president of the Billboard Museum Association.  A new workshop of note this year is “Biblical Storytelling” on Saturday with Barbara Wright Jones and Cynthia Calloway.

Registration begins at 10 am on Friday and goes all day; first session and registration is at 8:00 am on Saturday and goes all day.  There is an admission fee (by day, full event, and some events, such as the Ghost Tales, are free).  All events take place in the Webster Commons building on the campus of Southern Nazarene University, Bethany, Oklahoma.

For more information contact Marilyn A. Hudson (Contact Phone 405-307-0962; Contact Email marilynahudson@yahoo.com)  and see the complete festival schedule and registration information at www.territorytellers.org.



"Old Days and New Ways"

The modern storytelling revival was presaged by the folk music of the early 1960's and there was a resurgence of the ballad, the folk story, and similar traditional folk arts. It was a 'fringe' experience, often limited to college campuses, coffee houses and the like.
Nearing the Bicentennial, in 1976, however, there was a renewed interest in discovering, reclaiming and reshaping traditional arts of all forms.  Candle-making, textile arts, and storytelling sprang to life.  Suddenly the traditions, amusements, and ways of pioneer folk became intensely interesting to academics, anthropologists, and many others.  As is often the case, the fact that many pockets of society and culture had never lost this particular art form - well, that was of small consequence. 
In the late 1970's and through the 1980's storytelling was "in."   It had been discovered by the artistic segments of society and was ratified by academics, social theorists, and arts communities as being 'valid' and 'authentic'.   Across the country storytellers emerged to speak for and from their unique vantage points : urban ghettos, inner city neighborhoods, small towns, rural hollows, mountain peaks, desert plains, and shady bayous.  Stories were everywhere!  Wasn't it lucky they were re-discovered and saved...
Storytelling has always been around. It never went anywhere. It simply did not fill the stage or the concert hall until it was socially recognized and an "approved" was stamped across it  by the arts community or the winds of a particular trend in society.
As the result of these trends, artificial elements,  and strange combinations of artistic DNA,  have resulted in limiting understanding of what storytelling is and what it can be.  The great white dancing stallions of Europe were put through precise, rigid forms, dressed in sparkling braid and with tall plumes in their hats. Audiences exclaimed at the grandeur of these dancing horses, weren't they clever to teach them to dance?   The truth was, the movements were nothing a horse did not or could not do on its own.  The rigid steps and artificial dress were the result of attempting to make the natural movements and abilities of the horse fit into an artificial and unnatural form (i.e., 'to dance').
Is this what some have attempted to do with storytelling as an art form?  Storytelling's legitimacy seems to often be measured, not against its own internal essence, but in comparison or contrast to another art form or communication  media. 
"Well, if storytelling were just more like....theater...stand-up comedy....or less rustic....home based....historic...spoken-word...or....."

"If storytelling was more stylized, spontaneous, hip, gritty, provocative....."

The evolution of an art form, to be authentic, must emerge from the art form and its working artists, to be of true value.  The purpose of the shift must be in response to the hunger of the artist to do something more, different, or achieve in a new manner.  Sometimes, that might even mean a return to an older traditional form but whatever the case it happens organically within the artistic realm. 

"Jazz" developed outside the confines of traditional standards of what comprised true music.
"Impression" developed outside the artistic world that defined true artistic painting by its intensive detail and realism.

Today, can we say that either of those two do not reflect true art?  If the voices that shrilled out derision or conformity had been listened to by many artists the world would be missing many enriching and lovely examples of artist expression.

The question for reflection might be: who is defining storytelling today, why, and how should the storytelling community respond?


The Many Types of Traditional Storytelling

Hearth Side Telling:  The first instances of stories shared for education, instruction and values sharing occurs in the home or in the family unit. The "hearth" is  symbolic of that fire around which family life revolved, unified and learned.  The stories told around the kitchen table, at bedtime, and on the front porch that help to ground a person in their identity, the heritage, and their values as a member of that family unit.

Kitchen Table Stories of Childhood
Bedtime Stories
Family History Stories

The Culture Bearing Storyteller:  These are the individuals who educate. shape and keep the history and values of the community.  They may be librarians, elders, ministers, religious leaders, educators, health care providers, youth leaders, and others.  They help define the corporate identity of a community (a town, an ethnic association,  a school, a church, a club, etc.) and are its historian remembering who the community was, why it is the way it is, and sharing that with future generations.

Pastors/Religious Leaders
Community Leaders
Political Leaders

The Performing Storyteller: These are individuals who learn stories to share to entertain, to advocate, to persuade, to encourage, to motivate, and to make people think. They emerge from a variety of 'hearth' settings, shaped by a variety of culture bearing stories, and bring to the place where they share publically using the skills of oral communication.

Examples are diverse because the origins and influences are so varied.  There is no 'one' type of storyteller, no approved single form or style. That is its power and that is its strength.



As part of a larger research project, I explored how storytelling has developed, spread, and been promoted in the state of Oklahoma in modern times.  The process raised many questions, offered many concerns and led to some thinking about storytelling perceptions, promotions, and prejudices. 
One of the primary challenges storytelling has is the misunderstanding people have about just what that means.

Common uses of the term includes:
  • Screenwriting
  • Novel Writing
  • Sharing a Business narrative
  • Reading a book to children
  • Telling a Story to children
  • Telling a Story to any age group

As a result storytellers often hear: "What are you reading to the kids?"  There are, however, other less obvious side effects of this misunderstanding.  These involve assumptions about the nature and value of storytelling in this wired in, hooked up and electronically hip world.
Some assumptions about storytellers include:
They are cowboys
They are old people
They are Ethnic (Native American, African-American, etc.)
They are always costumed
They are always 'crazy'
They have be active, noisy, and theatrical to connect with child audiences
They have to be theatrical to connect with adult audiences
Some assumptions seem to be:
  • Storytellers are not artists or craftspeople
  • Storytellers have limited appeal
  • Storytellers are old-fashioned
  • Storytellers are too 'country' and unsophisticated
  • Storytellers are not 'performers'
  • Storytellers are not communicators
  • Storytellers are not important
  • Storytellers are just for children
These lead to other questions or issues, such as:
  • If storytellers are not important - why are they relegated to an audience of children? Don't children deserve the best of the arts? What does this say about how we value children in society? 
  • How can storytelling be outdated? Is ballet? Opera? 
  • If music can be expressed across genres and styles - why not storytelling with its many styles from rustic raconteur to stylized presentations of great elegance and beauty?
  • Storytellers can a big, loud force on a large stage or a small, mesmerizing and powerful force in an intimate venue.  In any setting they are great communicators.
  • If storytelling is so unimportant - why is the term associated with so many other types of creative activity? (film, writing, etc.)
The State of Story in the State: Confused and facing an identity crisis.



Let me tell you about...."I Love Stories" Workshop.  Saturday, February 8TH, 2014 from 10 a.m. to about Noon.

Location: Education Wing, Wesley United Methodist Church (NW 25th and Classen; free parking and entrance on the west side- past Douglas).

 Two wonderful workshops will be offered for both the beginner and the more experienced story teller:

Chara Watson, Edmond, will share tips and methods to begin your storytelling journey. She holds a masters in storytelling from East Tennessee University.

 Kathryn Thurman, Del City, will share skills for those who have some experience but wish to fine tune skills in stage presence and use of microphones, etc.