Storytelling Programs

Ask about my creative writing, storytelling, and improv workshops.

Storytelling Programs by 
Sharon Kirk Clifton, Writer and Raconteur

Available for:
Churches (for such events as Mothers' Day gatherings, summer camps, homecomings and heritage events, VBS, Resurrection Sunday, Thanksgiving services, Christmas events, etc.)
Educational Workshops and Residencies
Living History Events
Concerts in the Park
Homeschool Events
Family Reunions

CONTACT me for more information.

Booking Now!Available after April 10, 2017

The Innkeeper's Wife

(Photo to come)

Description: THE INNKEEPER'S WIFE is a one-woman, first-person interactive drama set in Bethlehem of Judea. The story begins a short time before the birth of Jesus and concludes with the promise of His return.
Watch the account of Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection come alive through the eyes, ears, and heart of Tabitha, who helped her husband Caleb have a small inn in Bethlehem of Judea.
THE INNKEEPER'S WIFE is an excellent choice for Resurrection season, Mother's Day, Pentecost Sunday, and, of course, Christmas. In fact, there is no "off season" for the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus.
May I add your event to my calendar? Contact me at 317-820-5434 or at skcwriter["at" symbol]aol[dot]com.

CONTACT: 317.820.5434

Jack's Mama

Purveyor of Magic Beans and Seeds of Truth

Some folks says ye can almost hear the screen door creak and taste the ice-cold apple cider when ye listen to a mountain tale told by Jack's Mama. Jest a plain ol' pioneer woman, Jack's Mama has been a favorite of audiences fer near a quarter of a century. Young'uns 'n' old folks alike says don't nobody tell a tale from America's eastern highlands better. Hit'd pleasure her t' hitch up th' mule, pack up a tow-sack full o' tales 'n' magic beans, 'n' head over yer way. Got special doin's a-goin' on in yer neck o' the woods? Folks gatherin' in from all over t' have a good time? Give Jack's Mama a holler.


More about the Stories Jack's Mama Tells
When this country's first settlers came, many arrived with few possessions. The stories that had been such an integral part of their heritage, however, did survive the perils of sea and land, stored securely in the memories of the people.

Most of the stories that make up Appalachia's oral tradition came from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Germany, France, and Africa. Once in this country, many of the tales - as well as the people - mingled with the Native Americans who already were here, and had their own stock of stories. The Jack Tales constitute an important cycle in this tradition.

Many of the motifs found in the Appalachian stories are found in literary works such as Beowulf, the Arthurian Legend, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare's works (including King Lear and The Taming of the Shrew), the Bible, and Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, to name a few.

Despite the origin of the tales, the characters usually became Americanized as they were passed down in this country. For example, Jack, the Appalachian giant-killer, is likable and easy-going (except when it comes to giants), unlike his English counterpart, who is a cocksure, arrogant young hero.

This program was funded in part by a Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellowship grant.

With nearly 60 tales from which to draw, Jack's Mama is adaptable to all audiences and ages, as well as a variety of venues, including festivals, schools, libraries, museums, and churches. All of Clifton's shows are family-friendly.

Abigail Gray
Living under the Drinking Gourd

"As Abigail Gray, Clifton kept an audience of about 50 children and adults spellbound..."
~Peggy Vierebome, The Madison Courier

"Sharon Kirk Clifton presents a compelling narrative of the Underground Railroad in Southern Indiana." Spirit of Vincennes Civil War Days website

As Abigail Gray, an Abolitionist farm wife of 1859, Sharon tells the true stories of the Underground Railroad of southeastern Indiana and points north and south. These stories are full of real adventure, espionage, intrigue, and danger, sprinkled with humor as "Abigail" tells about the tricks played on slave hunters by white and free black abolitionists.

The Grays operate a UGRR feeding station in northeastern Jennings County, adjacent to Ripley County, and are part of the Flat Rock Free Will Baptist Church, a congregation that will not allow pro-slavery folks as members. The sending party to the Grays is a Quaker Abolitionist in Butler, Indiana.

With the exception of the Grays, all people named in Abigail Gray: Living Under the Drinking Gourd are real, and all events described are a matter of historical record. Sharon also includes some signal songs and spirituals in this program, including Follow the Drinking Gourd, a map-in-song that led Freedom Seekers up the Tombigbee River to the Tennessee and on to the mighty Ohio (known as the Jordan River in may spirituals), which they crossed to relative freedom.

Sharon received a Frank Basile Emerging Stories Fellowship in 2004 to develop this important program. She was one of two recipients for the year. Abigail Gray: Living Under the Drinking Gourd premiered in 2004 at the Indiana History Center in Indianapolis.

Of course, Sharon will present this program throughout the year, but it makes an excellent choice for MLK Day in January, February's Black History Month, and any time when the focus is on American history, the War Between the States, real-life heroes, or even the 1849 California Gold Rush, since it played an important role in the slavery issue.

This program was funded in part by a Frank Basile Emerging Stories Fellowship grant. It is suitable for general audiences and a variety of venues, including festivals (Civil War and historical), schools, libraries, museums, and churches. All of Clifton's shows are family-friendly. 


At Home and in Harm's Way
The Role of Indiana Women in the Civil War

Portraying a member of the U.S. Sanitary Commission from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Clifton tells the true stories of women who served during the Civil War, including the Sisters of Providence, Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods; Susan Brown of Hagerstown; a young Huntington woman who disguised herself as a man and joined the Union Army, and others.

The original program upon which this is based was commissioned by Storytelling Arts of Indiana and the Indiana Historical Society as a part of the "Sharing Indiana History through Stories" series. Clients have the option of the full program (two hours, which includes an intermission, during which many clients like to serve a Victorian tea to guests) or a shorter one hour version. but this one deals with some difficult issues. It is set at the conclusion of the Civil War and includes descriptions of battlefield and field hospital conditions.


These True Things
Accounts of Courageous Faith and Undying Hope
This collection comes from many sources including the Holy Bible, literature, the storyteller's life and experience, and various mission organizations such as Samaritan's Purse, Voice of the Martyrs, Open Doors, and Tiny Hands International. 

Of Patriot Dreams and Tory Schemes

Hear the true stories of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, accounts of the well-known and the unknown. Heroes all! Stories from this collection are great for patriotic and historical celebrations, political gatherings, and Tea Party events.


Awake Again, America!

A First-Person Account of the Second Great Awakening 
and a Plea for the Future of This Country

At the beginning of the nineteenth centure, Logan County, Kentucky, was known as "Rogue's Harbor," because every kind of outlaw flocked there because it seemed to be out of reach of the law. God-fearing folks bemoaned the situation and watched helplessly as their young people began to follow in the footsteps of the rebellious crowd. Until one day when a circuit-rider came to the settlement. He gathered the people together and presented a modest proposal that made all the difference. And so began the western arm of the Second Great Awakening.

Meanwhile, somethings was stirring in the halls of eastern Ivy League colleges. A rebellion was afoot, one that would alter the course of a nation. Hear all about it from "Sarah Farley," a Logan County settler who experienced the Second Great Awakening, and listen to her plea: "Awake again, America!"


A Very Merry Literary Christmas

Cradle your hands around a steaming cup of spiced cider, hunker down against the early winter chill, pull your wrap a little tighter, and gather close into the glow of the Storyteller's tale. Christmas is coming! Stories hang in the air, awaiting their turn to be told.

Historically, Christmas is a time for friends, family, and congenial strangers to gather to hear tales. Journey with master storyteller Sharon Kirk Clifton as she leads you through meager, scantily furnished lodgings, into a magical forest; through the doors of a crowded, raucous inn, or beside an empty manger. Some of the stories in this collection may have a familiar ring to them, others could be new to listeners, but all share one element: they are based on literary tales. The stories in this collection come from the pages of literature and include works by Charles Dickens, O. Henry, Henry van Dyke, Oscar Wilde, Walter Wangerin Jr., and others.Your audience will not hear a recitation, however, as Sharon skillfully translates literary language into oral language.

This program is recommended for adult and family audiences. All of Sharon's programs are "family-friendly," but not all are targeted at children. A Very Merry Literary Christmas usually runs about 45 minutes, but can be altered to fit clients' needs.


East of the Equator and South of the Sun
  "Global Children" Susan Tolonen, Illustrator

This program is a tapestry of tales gathered from around the world and told in the energetic, interactive style of a master storyteller. The far-flung collection is sure to please all ages, especially since Sharon can tailor a program to your needs? Want international variations on the Cinderella theme? She can do that! Favor a focus on south Asian folktales? Just let her know! Something from south of the border sound scintillating? Say so! An ark full of animal tails . . . er . . . uh  . . . tales answer your needs? Ask! (Custom crafted programs need at least 30 days lead time.)



Dragons in the Mist

Tales of Dragons and Other Fantastical Creatures from Around the World


Over There and Home Again

Vignettes of Well-Known Hoosiers from the World War I Era

Now booking for 2016-17 and beyond!   

And let the telling begin!