Called “one of the most important voices in the storytelling revival,” Milbre has appeared at the National Storytelling Festival seven times since 1984 and received a “Storytelling Oscar,” the Circle of Excellence Award, from the National Storytelling Network in 1999. She has been featured at storytelling, spoken word and theatre festivals in 36 states and in fifteen European cities. Most recently she was a featured teller at the Festival at the Edge in Shropshire, England in July of 2012.
She is known for the versatility of her repertoire from folktales to fantasy, fiction and fairy tales to personal stories, one-woman shows and original monologues, and for her consummate skill in coaching novice and seasoned storytellers. Her virtuosity extends beyond creating and directing solo performance.
Her ensemble-driven play, Holding Up the Sky, produced at the University of Missouri in the fall of 2009, was a Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival regional finalist in the winter of 2010. She appeared in, and assistant-directed a production of John Pielmeier’s Agnes of God in the Corner Playhouse of the University of Missouri in 2008. And her CD, Making the Heart Whole Again: Stories for a Wounded World, received a 2007 GRAMMY nomination for Best Spoken World Album for Children.
As a PhD candidate in the Department of Theatre at the University of Missouri, she is an emerging scholar of solo performance and storytelling studies. She has been the performance review editor of the academic journal Storytelling, Self, Society since 2009. While at the University of Missouri, she created and taught classes in “American Storytelling in the 21st Century” and “Auto/Biographical Performance Writing and the Body.”
In addition, Milbre has served as an adjunct professor or guest lecturer at California State University-Los Angles, Northwestern University, the University of San Diego and Central Methodist University. She has published articles, book reviews and performance reviews in Storytelling, Self, Society, Theatre Journal, Ecumenica and Storytelling Magazine, and she was a contributor to The Storytelling Classroom – Applications across the Curriculum, edited by Jane Stenson, Sherry Norfolk and Diane Williams, for Libraries Unlimited in 2006.
Milbre spearheaded a collaborative production entitled Justice Served, three short plays about women confronting violence, and coordinated numerous interdisciplinary outreach symposia events related to the performance on the campus of the University of Missouri in March 2012. The entire production grew out of dramaturgical research she had done in 2010 on Pulitzer-Prize- winning playwright Susan Glaspell’s 1916 one-act play, Trifles, and resulted in her writing and performing in Sometimes I Sing, an original monodrama written in the voice of Glaspell’s unseen protagonist, Minnie Wright. The Justice Served symposia events included lectures, classroom visits and post-show talkback sessions led by Hurston scholar Valerie Boyd and Glaspell scholar Patricia L. Bryan, as well as scholars from the fields of law, journalism, women’s and gender studies, social work, black studies, English and theatre.
Besides many plenary and workshop presentations at the National Storytelling Conference, Milbre has presented papers and performances at the American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, Kean University’s International Conference on American Drama, the National Popular Culture Association/American Culture Conference, the Mid-America Theatre Conference, and the Central States Communications Conference. In the summer of 2012, she both presented papers and performed at The Romance of Theater (the IV International Conference on American Drama and Theater) in Seville, Andalusia, Spain, and at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference in Washington, DC.
Since 2007, Milbre and her staff at Kind Crone Productions have produced several multi-disciplinary residencies featuring nationally known writers, storytellers, performance artists and auto-ethnographers. Through her fundraising and programming efforts, Ishmael Beah, Laura Simms, Holly Hughes, E. Patrick Johnson and Jane Yolen have appeared on the campuses of Stephens College, Columbia College, the University of Missouri, and in the community.
Milbre premiered Changing Skins: Folktales about Gender, Identity and Humanity, exploring the wealth and persistence of gender-bending images in folk tales and folk practice around the world, in June, 2010 at Columbia College. Since then it has toured to Atlanta, Austin and Nashville, Dixon Place in New York City and to SUNY-Binghamton and SUNY-Plattsburgh, and to the Women and Theatre Pre-Conference of the Association of Theatre in Higher Education.
She has been an artist-in-residence since l978, working for local and state councils in Utah, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Rhode Island, California, Kansas and Missouri. Her students have been mainstream Pre-K to 12th graders as well as gifted, ESL, hearing impaired and developmentally disabled children of all ages; at-risk teens; well elders; mentally challenged adults; minimum and maximum security prison inmates; college students, conference attendees, fellow tellers, family business owners, therapists, ministers, rabbis and lay-people, and countless teachers earning CEU’s. She has taught or toured with the Lincoln Center Institute in New York and the Music Center on Tour, the Performing Tree and the University of Phoenix in CA, and was a teaching artist for the National Conversations Project of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
In the late nineties, Milbre designed and implemented a storytelling residency for the Walden School in Pasadena, CA, which ran for ten years, and has presented workshops on the creation of that residency model at educational conferences from coast to coast, and at the Betty Weeks Storytelling Conference for Educators at National-Louis University in Evanston, IL. More recently, she conducted a Missouri Arts Council-funded residency for the Triple E Program (Gifted Program) of the Columbia Public Schools, and subsequently presented on that residency at both the Gifted Association of Missouri and the National Conference for Gifted Children. In June of 2012, she taught a workshop on storytelling in the classroom for Storytellers of Ireland in Dublin.
Milbre has released fifteen audio-recordings, fourteen on her own single-artist spoken word label. Besides her GRAMMY nomination, these have garnereda Film Advisory Board Award of Excellence, the Storytelling World Award as well as its Honors designation, a Parents’ Choice Gold Award, a Parents’ Choice Approved Award and two Parents’ Choice Classic Awards, NAPPA Gold Award, NAPPA Honors, and two INDIE Award nominations.Her poems, short stories and retellings of folktales have appeared in magazines and print anthologies since the late eighties. Milbre’s short story “Sop Doll” was included in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: Fifteenth Annual Collection in 2002.
Milbre lives with her family, two cats named after the Weasley Brothers, and a Border Terrier named Zoe under the huge blue sky of Columbia, Missouri.
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This kit includes information on the St. Louis Storytelling Festival, bios of the featured storytellers, and information about all the special events.