Heather is involved in the educational and entertainment aspect of the performing arts. Her expertise is in creating and delivering storytelling performance programs and workshops to schools and libraries for Family Literacy Day, Education Week, and community programs for family, youth, teens, and special needs groups.
Heather plays guitar, and is known as a musical storyteller and singer-songwriter. Concerts and programs include traditional and original stories, songs, ballads, personal stories, and verse poetry. She especially loves to bring stories behind songs to life for her older audiences, and has been a featured performer at cafes, art venues, museums, galleries, house concerts, and festivals, both on and off stage.
She is involved with ArtSmarts arts-infused programming through the Durham District School Board for grades 7-12, and arts infused community programming at art galleries, day camps, and libraries within the GTA and beyond.
All programs are based on the requirements and request of the teacher or organizer. I do recommend that you arrange your student divisions or audience suitably to meet comfortable seating and to the maturity level of the listeners. This is thoroughly discussed and arranged prior to my visits so that the program is comfortable for all of us.
For preschool and kindergarten, I offer a “Rhythm & Rhyme” program that includes finger rhymes, participation and action stories. These performances include lots of repetition, participation songs and possible a puppet friend or two.
For the primary division, stories and songs are more developed, but still have lots of opportunity for participation.
For the junior and intermediate divisions, favourites include drama and scary stories. Junior grades may enjoy a participation story, whether vocal or through gesture, rap, poetry, or chant. Themes involve a mix of folktales, legends, fairytales, and personal tales with musical content, and can be tailored to suit current units of study or student interest.
*This is a high demand program that is suitable for a wide age-range of listeners and fits most venues. Its goal is to inspire audience members to think about their own cultural experiences in life and to be aware of, and accept, our similarities and differences as people.
Maximum group size: 150
I bring props and a small amplifier with a head-set to my performances. For larger events/spaces (such as a gym), please provide sound system if possible.
Grades JK – grade 2: Participation, sequential, musical stories and songs to help encourage language development, comprehension and oral communication, as well as positive attitudes and appreciation for language.
Rhythm & Rhyme Time!
An hour of fun-filled snapping, clapping, tapping, singing and telling tales together in a rhyme! With a light-hearted delivery, many delightful traditional and original tales, poems, chants and tunes are performed.
Grades 3 – 6: Stories, songs and poetry focusing on sameness and differences. Subject material includes morals, cultural values and beliefs, and re-enforcement of positive values as well as attitudes through humour and situations. Enrichment of vocabulary and oral presentation skills as well as appreciation for language is also a focus.
Connecting the Community Through Storytelling: We Are All the Same … We Are All Different!
Adaptation of The Ugly Duckling. I have written it as an echo song and retain the essence of the story. It can only be performed properly with the participation of older kids. I have also performed it on stage to adults so it could be an example model for intermediate story writing and adaptation/interpretation
Grades 4-8: Tea & Toast Tales, folk music, folk tales, urban legends and ghost stories. Directed towards older kids, and integrated with music, poetry and song.
Family Reading Nights: Some schools prepare a Family Literacy Night program with a main concert or with rotating audiences of all age so that families can stay together. One group may visit a library display for a limited amount of time while another will hear authors of books or a different storyteller. I have performed the feature concert as author and storyteller or have been set up in a room to receive audiences during three 30-minute sets in an evening.
Two 60 – 70 minute programs: Introduction to the importance of storytelling, with examples of diverse stories, such as folktales and personal tales, told in both casual and performance style, including a few storytelling games to each grade division.
Receive a copy of follow-up material for teachers. Storyboarding with Flannel board to help show sequence and modelling a folk tale format. Follow-up classroom activity: Students rewrite the story in their own voice.
Junior: the program would be adapted to focus on oral language development through musical rhythm, songs, rhyme, sequence, cumulative and pattern tales with predictable plots, and strong characterizations; non-threatening moral stories and those of virtue. Full or half-day workshop for this age is available upon request. Workshops are also offered as ‘mini-workshops’ for several grades throughout the day.
An introduction to the importance of storytelling with examples of diverse curriculum related stories, folktales, legends, and poems delivered in both casual and performance style with music, props, songs, poetry, and song writing. Participation is encouraged.
Discussion: Importance of listening, respecting the storyteller, eye contact, gestures, intonation of voice, projecting voice, posture, providing images for yourself and listeners, the story choice, the stories lessons and messages. The storytelling structure teaches transferring the story from the page to telling aloud and writing stories to tell.
Other Topics Discussed:
Programs meet school curriculum levels and can be adapted to fit an intimate classroom environment, literary reading nights in schools, library programs, special needs groups, and family parties.
I happily provide holiday and March Break programming, and often partner with daycares, libraries and camps. Please inquire about special introductory fees!