arts + education

storytelling & spoken word performances

Young Audiences of Houston offers diverse arts-in-education performance programming for PK-12 students in an assembly setting. These innovative and culturally diverse programs introduce students 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 a student assembly, performances introduce students to an art form or culture through a balance of demonstration and student interaction.

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

 

 

The Grigri Tree, A Dilemma Tale 

PERFORMANCE

Baba Manning Mpinduzi-Mott & JAWAD

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The Grigri Tree is a dilemma tale, a story in which the audience provides the ending. Baba Manning Mpinduzi-Mott tells the tale of 3 brothers who encounter a magical hunter and learn that a grigri can be many things, good and bad. Brother Jawad and his gourd banjo create a magical land and give voice to the Grigri man. Together, these two griots take you on a journey through long ago African jungles where magic is the norm and only those who listen to the story can say what happens next. This 45 minute performance includes audiences participation.

Virtual Option Available 

Single Performance

$600 / ($200 virtual pre-recorded)

Back to Back Performance

$800

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

PK-5

Adventures in Storyland

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 students to the traditions of several cultures. Each story includes a lesson about understanding differences and finding the good in all. Students participate in the tales with movement and voice, and, by the end of the stroll, feel like they have become storytellers themselves!

Virtual Option Available 

Single Performance

$250

Back to Back Performance

$325

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

K-8

Choices and Challenges

PERFORMANCE

Dan Gordon

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Dante brings stories that entertain, amuse, and challenge students to think about how to make important decisions. Students 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 students experience the world of wonder, comparing it with the challenges of their own lives.

Virtual Option Available 

Single Performance

$250

Back to Back Performance

$325

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

3-12

Sister Rosa Parks, The Bus Stops Here

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 students about the social climate preceding, during, and following it.

Single Performance

$375

Back to Back Performance

$500

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

3-12

Bessie Smith

PERFORMANCE

Jean Donatto

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Acclaimed actress Jean Donatto portrays Miss Bessie Smith "holding court" with students. 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

$375

Back to Back Performance

$500

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

7-12

This Train is Bound for Story

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

$375

Back to Back Performance

$500

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

PK-6

A Trip to the World of Fables

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

$375

Back to Back Performance

$500

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

K-3

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

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. 

In-Person Only 2021

Single Performance

$250

Back to Back Performance

$110 for each additional performance (same day)

Participant Limit

60

Grade Levels

2-12

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

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.

In-Person Only 2021

Single Performance

$250

Back to Back Performance

$110 for each additional performance (same day)

Participant Limit

60

Grade Levels

2-12

Soldiers of the American Civil War, 1861 to 1865

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.

In-Person Only 2021

Single Performance

$250

Back to Back Performance

$110 for each additional performance (same day)

Participant Limit

60

Grade Levels

2-12

Soldiers of the American Revolution, 1775 to 1783

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.

In-Person Only 2021

Single Performance

$250

Back to Back Performance

$110 for each additional performance (same day)

Participant Limit

60

Grade Levels

2-12

Soldiers of the Texas Revolution, 1835 to 1836

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.

In-Person Only 2021

Single Performance

$250

Back to Back Performance

$110 for each additional performance (same day)

Participant Limit

60

Grade Levels

2-12

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

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 students, and is particularly appropriate before the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

In-Person Only 2021

Single Performance

$250

Back to Back Performance

$110 for each additional performance (same day)

Participant Limit

60

Grade Levels

2-12

The Griot Speaks

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. 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

$450

Back to Back Performance

$550

Participant Limit

200

Grade Levels

K-12

Outspoken Bean Redefines Poetry

PERFORMANCE

Outspoken Bean

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Internationally recognized performance poet Outspoken Bean redefines literacy for students through the art of spoken word/slam poetry while educating them on social and cultural issues. For the past several years, Bean has been performing poetry competitively across the country and in Texas.

*Subsidies available, call for details.

Virtual Option Available

Single Performance

$350

Back to Back Performance

$500

Participant Limit

150

Grade Levels

3-12