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storytelling + spoken word

Young Audiences of Houston offers diverse arts-in-education performance programming for PK-12 participants in an assembly setting. These innovative and culturally diverse programs introduce participants to the arts through a balance of demonstration and student interaction through the highest quality artistry. Each performance program is aligned with the Texas state curricula and offers curriculum ties, classroom activities and discussion ideas, extension activities, program goals, objectives, vocabulary words, and teacher resources. All performances are 45 minutes.

Below you'll find information about:

  • Performances: For an assembly, performances introduce participants to an art form or culture through a balance of demonstration and interaction.

For more information please call 713.520.9264 or email us at scheduling@yahouston.org.​

 

 

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Joy Goes to Mexico

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PERFORMANCE

Joy Saxton

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This adventure story is about a boy named Jose who takes Joy on a tour of his home town with his dog, Coco. Inspired by her travels around the world, Author / Illustrator Joy Saxton brings the story to life with puppets, a gigantic book and audience participation!   Joy’s passion for writing, drawing and storytelling is contagious and will inspire your student’s creativity and literacy skills! Participants will learn about Mexico and the importance of being kind to one another. 

Single Performance

$425

Back to Back Performance

$665

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

PK-2

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Adventures Around The World

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PERFORMANCE

Joy Saxton

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This adventure story is an adventure story where a young girl travels and meets a special friend and realizes the importance of spreading kindness. The story is based on Author / Illustrator Joy Saxton’s real-life adventure to the Soviet Union before the end of the Cold War. The story teaches the importance of kindness and understanding for children around the world. Joy uses storytelling, puppets and video to bring this message to life! 

Single Performance

$425

Back to Back Performance

$665

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

PK-2

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Joy Goes to Paris

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PERFORMANCE

Joy Saxton

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Joy goes on an adventure to Paris. Inspired by her travels around the world, author/illustrator Joy Saxton brings the story to life w puppets, a giant book, and audience participation, Children will be inspired to travel the world. Joy teaches a message of kindness and diversity.

Single Performance

$425

Back to Back Performance

$665

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

PK-2

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Adventures in Storyland

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PERFORMANCE

Dan Gordon

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Join Dante, a “Teller of Tales,” on an exciting and interactive voyage to the Land of Stories, where the Storybird lives. With his magic flute, Dante recounts stirring tales from various lands, exposing the participants to the traditions of several cultures. Each story includes a lesson about understanding differences and finding the good in all. Audience members participate in the tales with movement and voice, and, by the end of the stroll, feel like they have become storytellers themselves!

Single Performance

$400

Back to Back Performance

$450

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

K-8

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Choices and Challenges

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PERFORMANCE

Dan Gordon

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Dante brings stories that entertain, amuse, and challenge participants to think about how to make important decisions. Participants battle with the pressure to fit in and the temptation to be different. It can be difficult to follow your truth when other influences present conflicting messages. Dante’s characters will make you laugh, cry and think. Each tale will have excitement, intrigue, and surprises, as participants experience the world of wonder, comparing it with the challenges of their own lives.

Single Performance

$400

Back to Back Performance

$450

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

3-12

Jean Donatto

Sister Rosa Parks, The Bus Stops Here

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PERFORMANCE

Jean Donatto

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Actress/storyteller Jean Donatto takes a balanced look at the turbulent civil rights era in the late 1950s Montgomery, Alabama. As Rosa Parks, Jean will describe the “incident” that aroused people of all races to begin the struggle for fair and equal treatment and inform your participants about the social climate preceding, during, and following it.

Single Performance

$400

Back to Back Performance

$600

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

3-12

Jean Donatto

Bessie Smith

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PERFORMANCE

Jean Donatto

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Acclaimed actress Jean Donatto portrays Miss Bessie Smith "holding court" with participants. Miss Smith presents living conditions in the cities where she traveled and performed during her rise to stardom. The focus of this presentation is the 1923-1925 period, considered to be the beginning and apex of Smith's career as a recording artist. Politics and the mood of Post-WW1 America form the foundation of the discussions as Miss Smith sings, chats, and answers questions about how it felt to be a notable African-American woman in the 1920s.

Single Performance

$400

Back to Back Performance

$600

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

7-12

Jean Donatto

This Train is Bound for Story

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PERFORMANCE

Jean Donatto

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Embark on a story-filled journey with actress/storyteller Jean Donatto. Known for her interpretations of poetry and other literature, the acclaimed actress turns her talents to storytelling. This Train has meandered all over the universe picking up more and more stories as it rolls. Go and visit the Rascals; Kwaku Anansi in Africa as he tricks Brer’ Lion; or Pedro Urdemales in Mexico as he figures out a way to keep his tummy full. And don’t forget the lesson of Mr. Gudebrand on the Hill as he shows, in a tale from Sweden, that being kind and generous can actually make one very wealthy. This Train takes audience members on a highly participatory journey through an itinerary filled with tricksters, humor, high drama, and lessons in life. Stories will be grouped age appropriately for K-2 or 3-6

Single Performance

$400

Back to Back Performance

$600

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

PK-6

Jean Donatto

A Trip to the World of Fables

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PERFORMANCE

Jean Donatto

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Actress/storyteller Jean Donatto takes audiences on a journey through the classic fables that have proven through the years to engage and inform. Jean puts her own creative spin on such stories as The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Ant and the Grasshopper. Jean's fables are a gentle way to remind us all to examine our choices and make sure we know that a good choice is always available.

Single Performance

$400

Back to Back Performance

$600

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

K-3

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Zippetty Zoo Dah

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PERFORMANCE

Jean Donatto

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An interactive visit to our animal friends at the imaginary zoo shares shape, color, size, the alphabet and more. Using poems, stories and songs, Jean Donatto invites youngest audience members to reinforce the, “Basics” by learning, “Cues”, props, compare and contrast, movement and sound appropriate for the space.

Single Performance

$400

Back to Back Performance

$600

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

Pk-1

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Life in Ancient Rome, 0 to 300 A.D.

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PERFORMANCE

John Keahey

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This presentation includes a brief introduction to the living conditions of the first three centuries of the first millennium and continues with a review of the complete armor, weapons and equipment of a legendary soldier. A more comprehensive presentation could also include a Roman auxiliary soldier. This program is particularly appropriate for sixth grade world history classes. 

Single Performance

$325

Back to Back Performance

$150 for each additional performance (same day)

Participant Limit

60

Grade Levels

2-12

John Keahey

Life in Classical Greece, 700 B.C. to 350 B.C.

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PERFORMANCE

John Keahey

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Learn the roots of our society through one of the great European civilizations of 2,500 years ago. Travel to ancient Greece to meet its citizens and experience their daily challenges. Trace the origins of much of our vocabulary to Greece, and discover the armor and equipment of the Greek citizen soldier.

Single Performance

$325

Back to Back Performance

$150 for each additional performance (same day)

Participant Limit

60

Grade Levels

2-12

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Soldiers of the American Civil War, 1861 to 1865

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PERFORMANCE

John Keahey

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A defining moment in the history of the United States, the American Civil War was also the first modern war. This presentation begins with a display of the full uniform and equipment of the typical Union soldier and concludes with a presentation of the dress of the common Confederate soldier. These examples offer a study in contrast between the higher quality of the Union soldier’s equipment and the “make do” characteristics of the Confederacy.

Single Performance

$325

Back to Back Performance

$150 for each additional performance (same day)

Participant Limit

60

Grade Levels

2-12

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Soldiers of the American Revolution, 1775 to 1783

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PERFORMANCE

John Keahey

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Three soldiers in one presentation! Today’s Americans find it hard to comprehend the difficulties the patriots of the American Revolution had to endure. This program begins with a fully equipped British soldier. Each item of uniform and equipment is explained. This standard is then contrasted with the typical American Continental soldier and rifleman. The program is suitable for primary and upper level grades.

Single Performance

$325

Back to Back Performance

$150 for each additional performance (same day)

Participant Limit

60

Grade Levels

2-12

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Soldiers of the Texas Revolution, 1835 to 1836

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PERFORMANCE

John Keahey

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The epic of Texas' struggle for independence from Mexico is brought to life through the motley clothing and equipment of typical Texan settlers and Texan Army volunteers. The Texan diversity of clothing is then contrasted with the elaborate European-style uniform of a Mexican foot soldier.

Single Performance

$325

Back to Back Performance

$150 for each additional performance (same day)

Participant Limit

60

Grade Levels

2-12

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The Second Americans: Europeans in the New World, 1620 to 1660

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PERFORMANCE

John Keahey

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This presentation begins with an introduction concerning the conditions facing the first Europeans settlers in the New World. It goes on with examples of typical clothing and other domestic items and continues with a look at the crude firearms and shooting equipment used by the Europeans for hunting and defense. The program concludes with the demonstration of a complete suit of armor as used by soldiers on foot, which was recommended for new settlers to bring with them. This program is appropriate for elementary school and middle school age participants, and is particularly appropriate before the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Single Performance

$325

Back to Back Performance

$150 for each additional performance (same day)

Participant Limit

60

Grade Levels

2-12

Manning Mpinduzi-Mott

The Griot Speaks

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PERFORMANCE

Manning Mpinduzi-Mott

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The Griot Speaks is a collection of ancient African tales presented in the interactive fashion of long ago African griots. Drumming and audience participation turn lessons on history and culture into fun excursions where audience members get caught up in the tale. Griot Manning Mpinduzi-Mott tells the tales, leaps, dances, and turns into all kinds of magical creatures. Senegalese percussionist, Seyba Diouf, adds music and rhythm to the stories then conducts an interactive drum workshop where participants get to play handmade African drums onstage. Together they transform auditoriums, classrooms, and libraries into magical spaces where anything is possible. There is always plenty of fun and lessons that are easy to learn when the griots speak.

Single Performance

$560

Back to Back Performance

$845

Participant Limit

200

Grade Levels

K-12

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The Grigri Tree

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PERFORMANCE

Manning Mpinduzi-Mott

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A dilemma tale is a special kind of story where the audience determines the ending. Griots use dilemma tales to settle disputes, make important decisions, or just to start a discussion. Grigri (also spelled "gris-gris") is a potion or object which affects people or events in a way that most cannot understand.

When three Brothers embark upon a journey through the forest to care of their aunt, they encounter the mysterious Grigri man who tempts them with magical forbidden fruit and more. Not even the griot telling the tale knows what will happen until the audience supplies the ending.

The original songs played on a handmade gourd banjo by Brother Jawad and the hypnotic voice of Baba Manning carry us into a magical world that is unique to each telling of this tale.

Single Performance

$560

Back to Back Performance

$845

Participant Limit

200

Grade Levels

K-5

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