Storytelling for Students

Educators everywhere realize that visiting authors and storytellers can be a valuable aid to the teaching process. Not only do they entertain, they also reinforce the hard work of classroom teachers, motivating students to read more and study harder. Storytellers help develop students’ ability to communicate, their listening and presentation skills, and their confidence. Ultimately, they can lead them become better students, opening their eyes to future possibilities, and offering hope for the future though the power of story.

Multiple award-winning storyteller, actress, and writer, Bernadette Nason, hails from England, lives in Austin, and tours worldwide. She’s been on the Texas Commission on the Arts Texas Touring Roster since 2002, presenting annually to over 30,000 people, including Pre-K, middle and high school students. Bernadette performs at schools, libraries, theatres, museums, senior centres, clubs, camps, stores, festivals, conferences, corporate events, and parties of all kinds for all ages. If there’s an audience prepared to listen, she’ll perform anywhere!

All Bernadette’s programs stress the joy of reading, and are comprised of multicultural tales and personal stories brought to life with facial expressions, character voices, vibrant humor, and astonishing energy! A trained and experienced actress, she brings her performance skills to all her work.

Storytelling for Students

Pre-school and Elementary

Bernadette’s 40-minute programs encourage audience participation, especially for youngsters. For 5th grade and above, interaction is replaced by a broader vocabulary and stronger characterization. All ages delight in her Q&A and “show and tell.” With older students, this often develops into lively discussions on favorite books and careers in the Arts.

Nason prepares new stories each season so as to offer variety and diversity, and maintain a fresh repertoire. Programs support standardized school testing and are available for all annual occasions: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Chinese New Year, Black History Month, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, Cinco de Mayo, etc.

If you are studying cultures, countries or continents, she has programs to support your social study units: Greek Myths, English Tales, American Folktales, African Delights, Irish Yarns, and many, many more. And if you simply wish to be entertained, there’s something for everyone! Most shows can be adjusted to suit any age. If there are stories you wish to hear, let her know. She constantly develops new tales for her collection, and loves to customize her shows.

Middle and High Schools

Bernadette’s 50-minute programs are ideal for Theatre Arts and English students. Currently available: Urban Legends and Horror Stories, On the Eve of All Hallows, Greek Myths, Great British Myths and Legends, and an award-winning, one-woman adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. A selection of workshops is also offered; please ask for details.

Touring Details

Bernadette’s calendar fills up 6-12 months in advance. If you need particulars about a visit or wish to book, please submit your request here. Further information is available upon request.

Several shows are usually performed in one visit. All day visits are the norm. Multiple-day, and multiple-school visits are common.

Audience size: anything from 5 to 5,000 (depending on location)

Performances: Elementary = 35-45 minutes long (flexible). Although program timing is always flexible to fit within the school schedule, a typical 3-show morning program with a 10-minute break between presentations is designed to end before lunches start, e.g.:
8:10 – 8:50 Kinder and 1st grade
9:00 – 9:40 2nd and 3rd grade
9:50 – 10:30 4th and 5th grade

Performances: Middle and High = 50-60 minutes long (flexible). Units are designed to fit within class schedule.

Price varies by number of shows, audience size, and travel/lodging needs. See below for an example, then email for a quote on your specific performance requirements. Please note: Bernadette is on the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Artists Roster and funding may be available through them: www.arts.state.tx.us

Sample Fee Schedule for School Visits (Medium-size Schools with up to 650 students)

For an all-morning or all-afternoon booking:

2 shows                                                                                                           $600

3 shows                                                                                                           $650

For an all-day booking:

4 ½ shows (2 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon + 1 story for EE/PreK)      $1,000

Travel: 50 cents per mile or round-trip airline ticket

Accommodation (if required): Holiday Inn or similar (approximately $100/night)

Per Diem (for overnight visits): $30 per day

Maximum number of audience members per school assembly = 300

Performances can take place in any central area (library, cafeteria, auditorium, classroom)

For schools with over 650 students, small groups, individual performances and evening shows, please contact Bernadette.

Testimonials

“Bernadette Nason is a tradition at our school! Every year our students and staff look forward to her visit. Her warmth and compassionate storytelling is more than a performance it is a lasting memory!”

– Whitestone Elementary Librarian, Leander

“I truly enjoyed your performance. In fact, I believe that your storytelling program has been the best I’ve contracted for our library! Your combined acting and storytelling talents engaged our students’ imaginations and opened their mind’s eye in a wonderful, creative way.”

– Educational Coordinator, Kurth Memorial Library, Lufkin

“Although she came highly recommended, I had no personal experience with Bernadette Nason. After five minutes observing her with the children, I was a fan! She is magic with the children. Ms. Nason can keep their attention, entertain them with marvelous stories, and encourage them to interact with her. Our children (and staff) were mesmerized. After 20 years of administrative experience, I recommend Ms. Nason unequivocally; she is truly gifted!”

– Head of School, St James’ Episcopal School, Austin

“It would be hard to find another performer in Texas who has more experience with performing solo before large groups of children. Bernadette is honest, sincere, talented, beautiful, and hard working. I can think of no better role model to place before young audiences.”

– Producing Artistic Director of Pollyanna Theatre Company

“APL has featured Ms. Nason and her programs for many years and they are well received by youth of all ages. Storytelling is an art that speaks across cultures and helps everyone understand the world we inhabit. Ms. Nason demonstrates the Art of Storytelling wonderfully!”

– Youth Program Coordinator, Austin Public Library

“If I look up the word “trooper” in the dictionary I’m bound to find a picture of you. I’d like to thank you for returning to perform in the Children’s Entertainment Tent this year. I have enjoyed every performance as much as the kids and their parents. You have turned in wonderful performances in the face of adversity. You are a great storyteller and artist. Thanks again for a great performance.”

– Children’s Entertainment Chair, Texas Book Festival

“Thank you so much for your fabulous presentation to our children! You have truly enriched our small community of Orange Grove with your talent, skill, and grace. I look forward to booking you for other campuses!”

– Georgia Witt, District Librarian, Orange Grove ISD

“The presentation was very entertaining and professional. Our audience loved it, and I loved the fact that Bernadette could change which stories to tell based on what age group showed up.”

– Librarian, Jennie Trent Dew Library, Goldthwaite

“You were wonderful! We liked the manner in which the session was conducted…from control of the room to facial expressions to enthusiasm…it had a beautiful flow to it! Great job!”

– Librarian, Eden Public Library, Eden

“Thank you so much for sharing your “Legends of Texas Wildflowers” with our fourth graders. I especially appreciated your elaboration on your acting career. Our students do not get nearly enough exposure to the creative arts. They rarely encounter any adults that have chosen the arts as a career path. Thanks again for the entertaining morning, and enlightening our students! PS: Notice how many remember you from last time you were here!!”

– Fourth Grade Teacher, Windermere Elementary, Pflugerville

“In December, you visited out school. You did a wonderful job telling the stories to the children. They greatly enjoyed them. You are a very talented lady! You were also an inspiration to me. Many of the things you did to make the stories come alive, I could also do as I read to the children. They enjoyed the show so much they wanted to write you thank-you letters! We hope that you can come back again soon.”

– First Grade Teacher, Brown Primary, Smithville

“The students at Faubion said the stories were great and you were great as well. The big thing after school and at the softball fields was the exchanging of stories…”

– PTA Chairman, Faubion Elementary, Leander

“The whole school is still talking about your dramatic presentation of “Stories for a Dark and Stormy Night.” The performance was so exciting and inspirational to our students on a number of levels. I was able to sound out “Wait till Whalem Balem Comes” from a few of our newest drama critics – apparently that struck a chord with the younger set! I hope we are able to do a return engagement in the future.”

– Media Specialist, St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Killeen

“Bernadette Nason has presented her traditional stories at our school since 2002. Each year, she invites the children to enter another time and place. You would think she had a troupe of ten performers along with her as she performs her stories brimming with colorful characters and a wide range of emotion. She has charm, wit, and an unequaled ability to engage the children fully in her lively presentations. Her love of literature and desire to inspire the young people she performs for is a gift to all of us.”

Director, Casa Montessori

 

What People Say…Middle/High

“I really enjoyed the (Urban Legend) story selection and your performance of the stories. You have such great vocal, facial, and body expression. All the characters really came to life before our eyes. You have a really fluid delivery style and a great ease with this age group. Thanks so much for a wonderful time! My students would not stop talking about you. They will always remember this experience with you!

– Theatre Arts Director, Chisholm Trail Middle School, Round Rock

“Bernadette was enthusiastic, energetic, expressive, and she completely captivated a large middle-school audience – an amazing feat! Urban legends are the perfect high-interest hook for students of this age. I don’t think the presentation could have been improved. It was perfect in every way!

– Librarian, O. Henry Middle School, Austin

“We thoroughly enjoyed your presentation of A Christmas Carol and hope to do it again every year. The students loved your authentic accent and the way you repeated the narrator’s words with the same words from the characters; they thought that was very humorous!”

– 7th Grade English Teacher, Tippit Middle School, George Town

“Your presentation of A Christmas Carol was a wonderful example of the storyteller’s art. The simplicity of the production allowed students to simply focus on the vocal qualities and verbal imagery. The style was inviting and welcomed students into active listening. Both teachers and students responded well to this presentation which was delightfully faithful to the original and so absorbing that 200+ seventh graders were mesmerized into silence.”

– Librarian, Benold Middle School

“Thank you for scheduling Bernadette. What a treat her presentation was! The students – who really liked the show – were able to appreciate her talent and skill…and her memory (“How did she memorize all that?”)…”Great facial expressions”…“She was so many characters, with different expressions and voices”…the ‘bonging’ clock was a big hit; in fact some of the students are now doing the same when we read it. A one-person performance of A Christmas Carol is a different type of presentation…new to many 7th graders. Students have told me as we are reading the play that seeing Bernadette’s presentation is helping them understand the play. So…thanks!”

– Middle School Theatre Arts Teacher, George Town

“Thank you so much for coming to our school to tell “Scary Stories.” The Sixth Grade really enjoyed them – they are still talking about them! We’d love to have you back in October perform for all grade levels.”

– Librarian, Smithville ISD

Program List

Most shows can be adjusted to suit any age.

  • Stories for a Dark and Stormy Night I (suspense stories without ghosts or witches)
  • Stories for a Dark and Stormy Night II (Halloween stories without nightmares)
  • Cat Tales (what it says: stories of cats – strange, independent, mysterious, lovable cats!)
  • Happy Thanksgiving! (an unconventional program celebrating the spirit of generosity)
  • Russian Folktales (ideal for November/December, non-Christmas oriented)
  • A Winter Wonderland (Norwegian tales, Christmas-oriented, non-religious)
  • Tis the Season to be Jolly (Christmas-oriented stories, non-religious)
  • The Night before Christmas (Christmas songs, poems and short stories)
  • Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (often told with a Christmas or seasonal tale)
  • Tales from the Orient (for Chinese NY or anytime)
  • Tales from Down Under (celebrating the Australian tradition of telling)
  • African Delights (for African American History Month or anytime)
  • My Funny Valentine (love stories and love-oriented fairy tales)
  • The Luck of the Irish (comical Irish stories for St. Patrick’s Day or anytime)
  • Rabbit Tales (for Easter or any time; non-religious)
  • Tricky Tricksters! (hilarious trickster stories: rabbits, coyotes, spiders, et al)
  • Legends of Texas Wildflowers (The Bluebonnet and The Indian Paintbrush)
  • South of the Border (Mexican stories, ideal for Cinco de Mayo or anytime)
  • It’s Coyote! (more Mexican stories)
  • Native American Folktales (celebrating the native cultures of America)
  • Greek Myths (e.g. King Midas/Phaeton and the Sun Chariot)
  • Tales from Merrie England (the funniest and most familiar from my homeland)
  • Jumping Jacks (three hilarious “Jack” tales)
  • A Bunch of Threes (e.g. Three Wishes/ Three Little Pigs/Goldilocks/Three Sillies)
  • American Folktales (some of the best the United States has to offer; 4th July anyone?)
  • Tall Texas Tales (folktales from the Lone Star State)
  • Arabian Nights (a fabulous assortment from Arabia)
  • Sailing Away with Stories (a salty selection of sea stories)
  • Creepy Campfire Stories (perfect creepy tales for summer camps or just for fun)
  • Kindness & Courage (stories demonstrating the qualities of kindness & courage)

 

And many, many more…