You can watch Andrea on WGBH TV here. (content note for the Pittsburgh shootings) https://worldchannel.org/episode/sfts-holidays-good-bad/
If there is any truth about holidays, it’s that for every perfect moment, there’s a disaster… or two. Melanée Addison tests her adulthood through the ultimate challenge: the Thanksgiving turkey; John Smith-Horn shows that when it comes to being Santa, it’s all about the grownups; and Andrea Kamens proves that lighting a menorah may be trickier than you think. Three storytellers, three interpretations of Holidays: The Good, The Bad, hosted by Wes Hazard.
Andrea Kamens has an original story on NPR Hanukah Lights. Listen here.
The Story Space took to the road and gave a night of open telling and featured performances by the Gang of Six on the second story of Julie and Jeff Kinney’s downtown Plainville, MA, indie bookstore and café An Unlikely Story. As a GOSling (Gang of Six member) helping facilitate the evening, Andrea told a tale of cheating death with a good story. You can view it at 34.10 here.
* Exploration Week at Gann Academy (private workshops)
- Monday, May 20 – Friday, May 24
- varying times and locations
Andrea Kamens will run half-day Storytelling workshops during Gann’s Explo Week, a weeklong experiential learning program for 9th and 11th graders, run by teachers and staff at the school. As part of their exploration of narrative arts with the English and theater departments, students will discover with Andrea the art and ethics of oral storytelling, learn the basics of the craft as listeners, tellers, and gatherers and inventors of stories, and find and make their place in the chain of tradition and in the Boston local storytelling scene. They will have a chance to put their names in to be chosen for an open mic at a real storytelling show; see below because that one is open to the public!
If you’d like to hire Andrea as a teaching artist or collaborator at your school, contact her at email@example.com.
- Thursday, May 23
- home.stead Bakery & Cafe, 1448 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, MA
- 6:45-9:00 pm
Now Listen Here in collaboration with The Story Space presents an open mic and showcase evening of the diversity of the Boston storytelling and story listening scene. Put your name in the tin for a chance to tell a 5-minute first person story or a 7-minute traditional tale on the theme “Transitions”. Enjoy the show with feature Theresa Okokon of WGBH Stories from the Stage, tellers Julie Baker and “Big Joe” Pagliuca, and hosts Bart Thompson and Andrea Kamens.
Tickets are available at the door and on Eventbrite. $10 for adults and free for students! Delicious food and drink, available as usual!
Doors open at 6:45, show starts at 7pm. Don’t delay, these shows fill up fast.
* Newagen Seaside Inn in Maine: Tales of Elder Wisdom
- Wednesday, June 19
- 60 Newagen Colony Rd., Southport, ME 04576
- 7:00 pm
A fire pit, the seashore, the starry sky, friendly strangers who might soon be friends… (and stories. Don’t forget the stories.) (and s’mores). Andrea will be back at her favorite summer venue and you can come for free to hear her tell at this elegant seaside inn. There is a real fire inside and out so matter the weather, you will get the full fireside experience!
Bonus this year only: Andrea’s mom Toby Bresky will be there celebrating her 80th birthday. Maybe she’ll share a little story if you ask.
* Ongoing: The Story Space
The Story Space, in its 25th year, is the longest-running weekly venue for storytelling around. Every Tuesday night, you can listen to storytellers and regular people just telling their 8-minute stories, followed by a featured performer who will “take you where they will”. The open mike is OPEN, and there is no better place to try it out. Personal stories, fiction, traditional tales, music, poetry and readings are all welcome. Requested $5 donation keeps us running.
RECENT PERFORMANCES AND TEACHING
Chanukah Party at Kesher After School
Interactive story fun for the entire family included Andrea’s original and traditional Chanukah tales of latkes, lights, and mounds and mounds of applesauce. Kids and grown-up kids had a chance to be moose and porcupine and rabbit, play the tambourine, and guess at tricky solutions for creating joyous and just communities!
If you’d like to have Andrea at your holiday parties, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrea was back as the curator and emcee of the Story Concert at the Limmud Festival, the biggest, broadest celebration of Jewish learning in Boston, packed with powerhouses and incredible lay people running workshops on everything Jewish.
White Mountain Storytelling Festival, Plymouth State University, NH
Andrea took to the stage twice at an annual weekend-long New England storytelling festival as dazzling as the local foliage, once for family storytelling and once for Sacred Tales with faith tellers from different religious and spiritual traditions.
Congregation Kadimah-Toras Moshe, Boston, Massachusetts
For three days of Jewish holidays Andrea ran story-play with puppets, discussion groups, and interactive tales for all ages weaving together the theme of leaders, rulers, queens, and kings, and what kind of world we want to imagine and create for the new year.
Southport Memorial Library, Boothbay Harbor, Maine
The kids were heading back to school so the adults got the stories! Andrea told an original mountain tale by the sea to Maine locals and summer people at the sweetest gem of a library with nooks full of books at every turn. Go check them out and the alpaca farm next door.
Cambridge Arts Summer in the City
Andrea performed Count on Me, a series of STEAM-powered tales with a little math, a little science, a little logic, and a lot of magic as part of this ongoing outdoor summer series run by the Cambridge Arts Council of Cambridge, MA. Families and camp kids discovered how the power of story teaches not only how our world works, but how it can work when everyone counts.
Ocean Point Inn in Maine
As one of the first storytellers to grace this oceanside living room over looking Boothbay Harbor, Andrea wove “Tales of Courage,” updating traditional tales, wrapping truth inside an original story, and giving listeners a chance to bravely join in. Some vacationers had never heard storytelling as adults, many had fond memories of childhood librarians, all had fun, and one said she was returning home with the renewed sense of connection and possibility at the heart of courage itself.
Shavuot Programs in Brighton and Brookline, MA
Andrea welcomed children of all ages into Shabbat and the Jewish spring holiday of Shavuot with make-your-own pizza, flower origami, mountains of storytelling, and a look inside the Torah scrolls at Congregation Kadimah-Toras Moshe.
She then taught a workshop at the 10th annual Community Tikkun Leil Shavuot all-night study celebration at Kehillath Israel Brookline. In “Who Brought Us to this Place: Shavuot as Mandatory Gratitude”, participants told personal stories in pairs and examined the contrast between the performative First Fruits declaration in the Torah and Naomi’s bitter words upon returning to the land of Israel after a famine in the Book of Ruth.
Expresso Yourself Coffeehouse in Medfield, MA
With her chosen theme Love and Longing, Andrea set the tone for open mic then beguiled listeners at First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Medfield, MA as the monthly coffeehouse featured performer this May. Her original tales, traditional tales and classics with a twist included a lonely river, a mathematically clever lover, and some goats who just want to eat and eat and eat.
Limmud Festival – UK
Andrea was a workshop teacher and storyteller in the Family and Young and Teen Limmud section of this weeklong international celebration of Jewish learning, arts, philosophy, and culture. She taught 5 workshops, and told stories for parents and children as part of inter-generational evening programming, and for adults as one of three featured tellers in a panel conversation about the power of storytelling to transform lives. This is the original Limmud that launched many worldwide conferences including LimmudBoston, see below.
Leeds Masorti Shabbos
As a special guest, Andrea lead Friday night house services and told classic and original tales on the power of lights. On Saturday, she told during a lovely group walk through the wet and drizzle!
Seanachie Nights in Maine: Where are you going? Stories of tricksters, wits, golems, and the power of words.
Seanachie is the Celtic word for storyteller. Andrea featured at Lynne Cullen’s series of musical storytelling performances to an adult audience, telling Jewish folk and original tales at Bull Feeney’s Irish Pub in Portland, ME, accompanied by fiddler Janet Lynch.
Right Between the Ears! RiverStones Custom Framing, Rochester, NH
As the featured teller at this fabulous fun monthly series hosted by Joanne Piazzi, Andrea presented The Prickly Princess and Other Tales of Women Witchy, Wild, and Wise. The evening opened with Rochester’s new Poet Laureate, Katie O’Connor.
The Story Space 25th Anniversary Gala – Storytelling Concert and Celebration
With Andrea as the evening’s host and special guest emcee Tony Toledo, a baker’s dozen of storytellers regaled a packed house in the social hall of St. Paul’s AME Church with personal, traditional, historical and fantastical tales in celebration of the 25th anniversary of The Story Space weekly storytelling venue. They showcased the breadth and depth of all who have gathered for the past quarter of a century to “Tell it and hear it”.
The Story Space was started on February 4th, 1992 by the late Brother Blue and his wife Ruth Edmonds Hill so storytellers could hone their craft and anyone from anywhere could tell their story. Tellers and listeners came from as far away as California and as near as Cambridge, MA, to enjoy the evening.
In addition to being the host, Andrea helped create the line-up and book the tellers, and designed and printed the programs. Contact her for your organizational or personal event, and she’ll help you make it shine!
WGBH-TV Showcase – “House Cleaning”
Andrea was a featured performer at WGBH-TV Brighton Studios in a massmouth showcase event on the theme House Cleaning. She doesn’t clean by the book anymore, but when she did, it was the 38-chapter Blumenkrantz Passover Digest read while snuggled deep into a burnt-orange upholstered armchair.
Keep an eye on the massmouth website for story slams, improv combos, and showcases. http://www.massmouth.org/
Humanities Day at JCDS
Andrea returned as a workshop presenter for the annual Middle School Humanities Day at JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School.
In her workshop, “Walking in Wolf Paws: Old Tales from a New View,” middle school students played with perspective, embodied a villainous, marginalized or objectified character in voice, movement and thought; met each other; and told their original beginning to a traditional story.
After rave reviews as a presenter last year, Andrea was the co-chair of this year’s program, whose professional guests included a novelist, a storyboard animator, a children’s book illustrator, videographers, photographers, and journalists.
A Trio of Light, Holiday Stories
The rich man’s latkes follow a simple recipe from his bubbe: grate the potatoes, crack the egg on the side of the bowl, throw in a pufffff of white flour, and shake in paprika, pepper and salt. But it’s not simple to have a real Chanukah celebration. A clever rabbi delivers one in this traditional folktale, “The Smell of Latkes” opening a set of interactive stories of light, food, and miracles. Next, a captive girl resists the wicked poetry and nasty dreams of a witch in Margaret Mahy’s “The Girl Who Washed in Moonlight”, told with permission. The third story was by request on the spot: an original Passover story of redemption, “Miriam’s Tambourine”, told with Andrea’s tambourine.
Before, between and after the stories, Andrea brought out the stories of the residents and their connections to the holidays, from a rival latke recipe to a Christian missionary’s memories of Jews in small towns in America.
JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School
After telling at Goddard House Assisted Living Center, Andrea brought two of the stories to kindergarten and fourth grade at JCDS, a Jewish day school in Watertown. The students made connections between the stories and their lessons on Chanukah, then drew pictures for the residents at Goddard House to create a “virtual book club” with their older counterparts. The pictures were delivered the next day and distributed to residents.
If your school is interested in a similar partnership through storytelling, contact Andrea for more information.
Spooky Stories – Cambridge Community TV
On October 31, Andrea was on local TV with a studio-taped performance of Rabbi Judah’s Golem, along with Spooky Stories by the incomparable Norah Dooley and other tellers for Halloween 2015.
Big MouthOff 6
massmouth Slam Finals
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
As a first-place slam winner in Season VI, Andrea competed against semi-finalists from all categories with her 5-minute first-person piece on her extraordinarily normal family in a best-of-show that thrilled the packed house. The new slam season has begun and Andrea will be there. Check it out here.
Puppet Showplace Theater, massmouth Scary Story Slam II
On the eve before Halloween, Andrea was co-host at the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline for a back-to-back story event, Transformations, that placed first-person massmouth slammers with professional and amateur traditional tellers on the same stage for a scary story showdown. As the hostess with the ghost-est, she also performed a traditional Ukrainian tale about a brazen girl who steals a shroud from a corpse.
“Mother Africa” featuring ToRena Webb Thomas
The Puppet Showplace Theatre
Organized by Norah Dooley
**1st Place Winner**
Andrea won first place in this auditioned slam with her vibrant and amusing telling of some Mother-wisdom from Zaire in the folk tale The Yes Sir King.
“Andrea Kamens is one of the best performers of traditional folktales of all kinds in Boston today. I most appreciate how she picks stories that have more to them, giving value-added wisdom to one heck of a good time.” – Norah Dooley, Founder | massmouth inc.