What We Do
Tale Tellers of St. Augustine, a 30-member collective of professional storytellers and storytelling enthusiasts, is an outstanding example of what a small “local” organization can accomplish, and as such provides a strong role model for any storytelling organization of like size and purpose.
Since its founding in January 1993, the guild has devoted itself to the advocacy of storytelling as an art form and an entertainment medium. The organization primarily develops projects and programs which enable and educate its membership, provide cultural and educational enrichment to the St. Augustine area, and benefit the needy and disadvantaged of the community.
The Tale Tellers of St. Augustine dedicates itself to expand public awareness of storytelling, and has always endeavored to make significant contributions to the larger storytelling community of Florida and beyond, as exemplified by the following:
Enrichment of the Storytelling Community
Indeed, a number of Florida’s finest storytellers call TTSA their storytelling “home.” Presenting workshops and learning opportunities for its membership, regional educators, storytellers, media specialists, and interested citizens—requires significant commitment by members of the group.
It is because of this dedication to the organization that TTSA members continue to grow and develop personally and professionally. Our members are known for generously sharing their talent—individually and collectively—at schools, libraries, festivals, and other programs across Florida and the United States.
Starting in 2000, TTSA observed Florida Storytelling Week—which falls during the last full week in November before Thanksgiving. Florida State Resolutions affirming Florida Storytelling Week were presented by former St. Johns County Representative Doug Wiles and passed by the Florida State Legislature during 2000, 2001, 2002. National Storytelling week is held at the beginning of each year, typically the end of January into early February.
The guild issued letters of notification to St. Johns District school principals, and media representatives, offering the services of Tale Tellers to visit schools during both Storytelling Weeks. Tale Tellers were also invited to entertain groups of all ages at branches of the St. Johns County Public Library System.
Folklife and Culture: Florida Folk Festival
Beginning in 1994, Tale Tellers of St. Augustine, as a group, applied to perform at the Florida Folk Festival, the oldest and largest continually operating state folk festival in the United States. TTSA was the first, and only, group ever to apply and be invited to participate. Each year since then, TTSA takes part in this impressive celebration of Florida folk life.
TTSA received a commendation from the Secretary of State and festival organizers expressing gratitude for the group’s service to the citizens of Florida through storytelling.
Historical Preservation: Florida Humanities Council
Beginning in 1996, five members from TTSA were invited by the St. Augustine Preservation Board to research and develop a program titled “The Historic Women of St. Augustine.” The program intended to feature the stories of five women, each one representing a different century from St. Augustine’s history.
The storytellers were invited to bring the program to other parts of Florida for events such as the Florida Sesquicentennial Celebration, the Tallahassee San Luis Heritage Festival, county centennials and celebrations, dinner theaters, and the Florida Folk Festival.
Since then, various TTSA members have participated in programs funded through mini-grants awarded by the Florida Humanities Council. The goal is to share information which is educational, enriching, and entertaining. We have partnered with renowned entities such as the St. Augustine Historical Society, the St. Augustine Lighthouse Museum, The Palatka/Putnam Historical Society, and the Palatka/Putnam Sesquicentennial Commission. Such involvement and support has enabled the research and development of other programs including: “The Women Who Lived South of the Plaza: 1500 – 1900”; “Legends & Lore of the St. Johns River”; “Civil War Stories I”; and “Civil War Stories II.”