Back to the festival. Did I mention that it's put on by the Missouri River Regional Library and the Daniel Boone Regional Library, with tons of other sponsors? This year was the 10th anniversary, and there were 13 storytellers.
I performed at two Catholic schools on Thursday, two public schools on Friday, and twice at the Columbia Public Library on Saturday. On Thursday, I had kindergarteners through eighth graders in one group, then kindergarteners through sixth graders a the other school. Though I can perform for such a wide range of ages (5 to 13), and everybody did have a good time, I find a smaller range of age to be more effective. Obviously, kindergarteners are developmentally different from adolescents, so what fits for the younger kids might feel too small for the older kids. I end up spending extra time reassuring the older kids that I respect them.
On Friday I had a smaller range, kindergarteners to third graders (age 5-8). This made more sense. I was reminded of how every performance is different: the morning show had 60 kids who listened with quiet enjoyment. The afternoon group was about 250, in a sweltering gym just as a storm was rolling in, and the kids came in already excited. I had a good time playing with the energy, watching how the students settled in to a quiet story and then got a little wild with a more active tale. I always try to bring them back down to a manageable place before I send them back to class.
On Saturday at the Columbia Public Library, in the shows I shared with Beth Horner, we had families. The morning show was full of active tinies, the afternoon listeners had that post-lunch quiet energy. The really tiny children must have been at home having their naps.