Our 2016 Storytellers

Come hear our featured storytellers:

Laura Simms, Cisco Guevara, Elaine Muray

Our featured storyteller, Laura Simms is an award-winning performer, writer, and educator advocating storytelling as compassionate action for personal and community transformation. She performs worldwide combining ancient myth and true life story for adult and family audiences.  She is the Artistic Director of the Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center in NY and the founder of The Center for Engaged Storytelling (new).  She has been a Senior Research Fellow at the International Peace Institute at Rutgers University-Newark under the auspices of UNESCO.  As a spokesperson for storytelling, she presents keynotes and workshops in conferences, villages, schools, universities and community events. She is a member of the Therapeutic Arts Alliance of Manhattan, and a senior teacher of Shambhala Buddhist meditation.  Laura received the Brimstone Award for Engaged Storytelling, CHOICE award for best story collection and Sesame Street’s SUNNY DAYS award for work with children worldwide. In 2011 she received a Life Time Achievement Award from the National Storytelling Network.  She is co-faculty with Terry Tempest Williams’ at the University of Utah, consults with ETSU’s CANCER STORIES project, and is spoken word consultant for Foundations, NGOS working in post disaster and conflicts. She recently appeared at the Newark Peace Summit and the Conference on World Peace and Values in Monterrey, Mexico. Her Most recent book is OUR SECRET TERRITORY: The Essence of Storytelling (Sentient Publications, June 2011).  She is completing a new work:  THE SANCTUARY OF A STORY (TBA).  Laura is the mother of best-selling author Ishmael Beah. CLICK HERE to watch Laura tell a true redemption story about she befriended a child soldier from Sierra Leone, it's a moving tale. CLICK HERE to watch. 

 

 

Francisco “Cisco” Guevara, a local favorite who has performed in past several festivals, will also grace the TCA stage. He guides whitewater raft trips on the Rio Grande and regales his adventurous passengers with stories of the wild. Cisco is a multi-generational New Mexican who came to Taos, he says, on the day he was born. Cisco draws his stories, from his Hispanic and Indian heritage. Cisco has a profound historical understanding of his beloved New Mexico. Yes, his stories are outrageously true. He knows which trail the bandits followed when they buried their loot in 1897. Some say he understands the language of the beaver, the mountain lion, and the famous dipper bird which walks under water.  Cisco is a natural on the storytelling stage. We are fortunate to have Cisco with us again. Enjoy our journey down the rivers of his stories. Why is the Rio Grande one of America's most important rivers? CLICK HERE and listen to Cisco tell you why while he rows his boat down the stream. CLICK HERE to watch. 

 

Elaine Muray integrates movement and narration to deliver tales from around the world as well as personal stories. She has performed at the Australian Storytelling Festival, Northlands Storytelling Conference, Jemez Storytelling Festival and in 2008 was chosen by her peers to represent her then Pacific Region of 5 states at the National Storytelling Conference All Regions Concert. Elaine has over 15 years of marketing and sales experience and 10 years in ESL instruction.   CLICK HERE to watch Elaine tell a compelling story. 

 

 

Meet the Director 

James Navé is the Director of The Taos Storytelling Festival. He is one of the pioneers of the spoken word movement. He cofounded Poetry Alive!, a theater company which has performed poetry for over 10 million K–12 students around the globe. With Julia Cameron, he co-Founded and directed The Artist’s Way Creativity Camp which toured North America,  For 25 years he has taught writing, performance, and creativity on 5 continents; he has designed and facilitated executive creativity sessions for clients such as Timex, Pepsi, the National University of Ireland Galway, North Carolina Outward Bound, Gettliffe Architecture, Create to Heal, and LKB Associates, Paris. 

An Asheville native, Navé holds an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College Fine Arts. He has been the LEAF Poetry Slam Master since the festival began in 1995. He is the Director of the Taos Storytelling Festival and the Director of the Taos Poetry Festival. He is also co-Founder of Twice-5-Miles, a creative think tank.

Navé was interviewed by Jacki Lyden for NPR’s Weekend Edition in 2011 where he told the story of how he confronted his big mento mori ("remember your mortality") moment the best way he knew how — vowing to write a poem a day for the hundred days following his cancer surgery.  He is also the host and producer of Twice-5-Miles Radio for Asheville’s WPVM 103.7,  going the metaphorical Twice-5-Miles to find stories and create conversations about culture, art, education, business, politics, and literature. 

 
 

Join us for two great days of storytelling: Read all about it.