Storytelling school

The Nebraska Storytelling Festival scheduled for November 12

Nine storytellers will take to the mic beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 12 to share a personal story with an audience at the Nebraska Storytelling Festival at the Lincoln Community Playhouse, 2500 S. 56th St.

Storytellers will come from all over Nebraska, and some even have international roots in Nigeria and Ukraine. Their stories can all be considered a slice of life as they observed or lived it.

“Lincoln has such a rich cultural scene, but one thing we were missing was an opportunity for people to share stories,” said festival co-founder Mary Kay Roth. “And one of the reasons stories are such a valuable cultural activity is that when stories are shared, we connect with each other on so many levels.”

After several months of planning, Roth and co-founder Randy Bretz issued a call for storytellers, which resulted in the nine selected for the November event.

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“As we read the applications, we got more and more excited,” Roth said. “A person will talk about something that impacted their life almost 15 years ago. Another will share what she observed in war-torn Ukraine.

The list of storytellers includes Jenny Okoliko, a Nigerian living in Lincoln and attending UNL; Milan Wall, North Platte native and longtime Lincoln resident; Jackie Ostrowicki, assistant vice president at the University of Nebraska; and Toni Heimes, who teaches at Lincoln Southwest High School. Following their selection, they recently came together for a storytelling workshop to help them prepare for the event.

“I love stories,” Bretz said. “I like to hear them, I like to read them, I even like to write them.”

Bretz invited Roth over for coffee and recruited her to help plan the event. Both have recruited others, including Jan Bretz and former Nebraska poet Twyla Hansen, who work with Roth to help groom storytellers.

Others involved in the event include Pat Leach, retired director of Lincoln City Libraries, Jodene Glaesemann of Lincoln City Libraries, Morrie Enders of the Lincoln Community Playhouse, Doug Dickeson – a local musician and media producer, William Anderson of Nebraska Public Media, Mark Stephens of Bob Stephen Associates, and Rich Claussen of Olsson and Associates.

Other storytellers include Marcia White, Madison Hager, Craig Larson, Barb Schmit and Jennifer Pool. The event’s emcee is someone with his own interesting history as TV and radio host, public speaker, beatboxer, and TEDxLincoln speaker, D-Wayne Taylor.

A limited number of tickets are available by searching Nebraska Storytelling on

For more information, contact Mary Kay Roth at [email protected] or Randy Bretz at [email protected]