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Director of Arts Education and Outreach
828-262-6084 ext. 109
Get ready to laugh out loud, play with language, and enjoy some great stories about foolish choices, bravery, a tiny ghost, and a boy who might not have the sense he was born with! These iconic stories from American folklore will stay with you. Once you hear them, you’re going to want to share them with everyone you know!
Donna Washington is an internationally known, multiple award-winning storyteller, spoken-word recording artist, and author. A highly animated performer, she has been entertaining, educating, and inspiring audiences with her vocal pyrotechnics, elastic face, and deep characterizations that bring folklore, literary tales, and personal narratives to life for over 30 years. Donna has been called a “Walking Disney Movie,” and told she was “better than television.”
Donna was born an army brat in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She traveled all over with world with her parents. Her father would sit at the dinner table and spin the wildest yarns imaginable. He taught her Arthurian Legend and Greek Mythology by telling the stories in the first person. She thought he had actually been with Merlin and Oedipus. She thought he was thousands of years old. Donna spent from second to sixth grade in Seoul, Korea. It was during these years that her parents adopted three Amerasian children. Through it all, she learned about different people, places and, of course, learned their stories.
Donna attended Northwestern University and was involved with numerous theatrical productions. It was at this time that storytelling reemerged as something she wanted to learn more about. In the four years she was there, she began to make storytelling a central part of her performance life.
Her first recording work was done with Warren Coleman Productions. She provided the talent on a storytelling tape that was so successful for Children’s Press that the tape was used to make four wordless picture books. It was at this time that Donna began writing books. Her first writing project was an anthology. It has been in the works for almost 12 years. A Pride of African Tales was released in December 2003. Award-winning illustrator James Ransome provided the lush watercolor pictures for the book. It received rave reviews from the American Library Association (ALA) Booklist and the School Library Journal. Pride has been nominated for the Pennsylvania 2005-2006 Young Reader’s Choice Award. Donna’s second book, The Story of Kwanzaa, has been in print for 11 years. It is a wonderful primer for kids about the African-American celebration of Kwanzaa. Donna’s third book, A Big Spooky House, is a wonderful book to read aloud at Halloween. Her next book will be entitled Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa and will be published by HarperCollins Children’s Books.
Donna is also a multiple award-winning recording artist. She received a 2002 Parent’s Choice Award for her first independent recording Live and Learn: The Exploding Frog and Other Stories. The October 2004 edition of the ALA Booklist gave Donna’s second CD, A Little Shiver, a recommended review. It also won the 2004 Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award and 2005 Storytelling World Honors. Her third CD, Fun, Foolery, and Folktales, also won the 2004 Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award and a 2006 Storytelling World Honors. Her fourth CD, The Sword and the Rose, has won an iParenting Media 2005 Excellent Product Award, a 2005 Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award, and a 2006 Storytelling World Award. All of her CDs have won 2005 Children’s Music Web Awards. Donna’s fifth CD, Angels’ Laughter, was just released in May 2006.
Donna has performed at thousands of schools and libraries and numerous storytelling festivals throughout the country. She has also been featured at numerous storytelling festivals, including the 2004 National Storytelling Festival, The Illinois Storytelling Festival, The Three Rivers Festival, The St. Louis Storytelling Festival, The NC StoryFest, The Corn Island and Cave Run festivals in KY, and the Broward County Children’s and Ocala Storytelling Festivals in Florida — just to name a few.
She also offers workshops in storytelling, writing, education, and creative drama for librarians and educators as well. Some of her recent workshops venues include the National Storytellers Conference, Forsyth School Media Association, US Army Corps of Engineers, North Carolina Library Association Conference, Virginia Library Association Conference, Georgia Council of Media Organizations Conference, South Carolina Library Association Conference, National Storytelling Conference, International Reading Association Conference, Mary Lois Staton Conference at ECU, and keynote speaker and presenter at the North Carolina Elementary Educators Conference among others.
These days you can find her traveling the country at festivals, conferences, schools, and libraries telling stories and giving workshops for anyone who is willing to listen to her.
To learn more about Donna Washington: https://dlwstoryteller.com/
Explore the related Educator Series Workshop, Donna Washington: Storyteller on March 4 at 4pm
RECOMMENDED FOR: K-2 Grades and Family Audiences
CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS: Language and Literacy Development, Building a Story
STUDY GUIDE: Click HERE for printable pdf
LOCATION: Online pre-recorded event; a private link will be sent to registrants
DATE/TIME: available to view anytime between Feb. 22-March 5
RUN TIME: Approximately 45 minutes
FOR MORE INFORMATION: contact the Box Office at
email@example.com / 800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046
Event is FREE, but registration is required.
Thanks to the generous support of sponsors, The Schaefer Center Presents is able to offer the 2020-21 series free of charge. To help us continue our mission of meeting the needs of our university students, faculty/staff, and the community at large during this time when high-quality arts programming is more critical and essential than ever, please consider making a gift of any amount.
“I wish I had a remote control just for you. Then I could rewind you and watch you over and over again” —child at a library summer reading program
“You are a walking Disney movie!” —panelist at performing artist showcase
“You are awesome! You could stand up and recite the phonebook and everyone would be spellbound.” —participant at 2007 NSN conference
“You’re better than television!” —boy at an author event
Every season, affordable music, dance, film, and theatre events are offered to students and their teachers from K-12 classrooms across the region. Students experience everything from high-energy acrobatics and Appalachian music to international dance and literary classics brought to life through theatrical productions. LEARN MORE >>