MCC Storytelling
20th Annual Kansas City Storytelling Celebration
November 13-16, 2019

Our History

Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City has been sponsoring the Kansas City Storytelling Celebration since 1999, and with the help of the River and Prairie Storyweavers, the event has grown from a small group of local tellers to a city wide event. The original goal of fostering healthy dialogue about diversity and community involvement has grown to include a wider number of individuals each year and has impacted nearly 300,000 area children and adults to date.

The event has continued to grow in size, scope and imagination, connecting the diverse neighborhoods on both sides of the river throughout the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. Each year the Celebration is both creative and innovative. The tellers share stories of personal, ethnic and family traditions. Our tellers encourage audience participation through open and spontaneous communication. As audiences become engaged with the tellers, dialogues are developed, allowing the tellers to tailor the story to each audience. Each performance is unique with tellers creatively responding to audience feedback.

The Celebration features 40 local, regional, and nationally acclaimed storytellers in 225 performances and related events throughout the Kansas City area. An estimated 13,000 people participate in these family friendly events led by professional storytellers who represent a wide range of cultures and performance styles. The event consists of several free performances by the four featured, internationally acclaimed storytellers. The performances include a spooky night of ghost stories; scores of 45-minute to one-hour storytelling performances at schools, libraries and other community venues; plus several storytelling workshops.

Why we do it

Roughly a third of participants will be from low-income, disadvantaged families for whom the Kansas City Storytelling Celebration may be their only exposure to the arts during the year. The Celebration brings together the rich tapestry of a diverse Kansas City through the art of storytelling. The spoken word can unite individuals and communities like no other art form, it lacks the abstraction that musical and visual arts sometimes possess, making it easy for audiences to take away a greater understanding of the artist’s message. Delivered with humor, music, and drama, listeners recognize and consider feelings about themselves and others. Storytelling draws audiences together as neighbors, appealing to all age groups and demographics.

The Storytelling Celebration is held over a four day period. The kick-off event is a dinner held on the Maple Woods campus featuring a private showcase from the four featured tellers. Over the next several days storytelling sessions are held city wide at multiple sites including schools, libraries, detention centers, and senior homes. The program benefits from the expertise and diverse community reach of the Steering Committee composed of members including storytellers, community volunteers, representatives from sponsoring organizations and MCC staff.

How we do it

We couldn't provide this experience to Kansas City for free each year without the help of our generous sponsors, host sites, and participating venues. Your support allows our employees and community partners to work year-round in making each festival bigger and better than the last. MCC-Maple Woods Storytelling Advisory Committee would like to personally invite you to participate in one of Kansas City's premier city-wide events as a delivery site and/or sponsor and hope to see you at some of our unique performances this year.

Event Team

MCC-Maple Woods supports the Storytelling Celebration 100%, with staff from all areas coming together to pitch in.

Marti Adams
Adam Kisler

Steering Committee

The Kansas City Storytelling Celebration takes a phenomenal amount of behind-the-scenes organization and effort, and our volunteer members of the Steering Committee put in much time and sweat to make the event memorable year after year.

Elaine Allen - Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City
Becky Everly - River & Prairie Storyweavers
Tyjaun A. Lee, Ph. D - President, MCC-Maple Woods
Kimberly Howard - Mid-Continent Public Library

Angie Mack - Mid-Continent Public Library
Adam Kisler - MCC-Maple Woods

Marti Adams - MCC-Maple Woods
Gary Kuntz - River & Prairie Storyweavers
David Thomas - Kansas City Kansas Public Library
Jamie Mayo - Kansas City Missouri Public Library
Gina Baragary - Hawthorne Elementary School, Kearney
Patricia Schoenrade - William Jewell College
Joyce Slater - Artistic Director/RAPS
Angie Wiegers - North Kansas City School District
Kathy Smith - Leawood Elementary, BVSD
Jim Two Crows Wallen - River & Prairie Storyweavers
Jeff Umbreit - George Owens Nature Park                    


Location, Location Location!

Looking for locations around the area where you can hear stories for FREE?

Kansas City Missouri Public Libraries
Bluford Branch
3050 Prospect Ave, Kansas City MO

Central Branch
14 W 10th St, Kansas City, MO

Northeast Branch
6000 Wilson Rd, Kansas City, MO

Plaza Branch, Truman Forum
4801 Main St, Kansas City, MO
816.701.3481, ext 3

Southeast Branch
63rd St & Swope Pkwy, Kansas City, MO

Trails West Branch
11401 E 23rd St, Independence, MO

Waldo Branch
201 E 75th St, Kansas City, MO

Westport Branch
118 Westport Rd, Kansas City, MO

MCC-Maple Woods Campus
Student Center, Commons
2601 NE Barry Rd, Kansas City, MO

Mid-Continent Public Libraries
Excelsior Springs Branch
1460 Kearney Rd, Excelsior Springs, MO

Lee's Summit Branch
150 NW Oldham Parkway, Lee Summit, MO

Last Modified: 11/4/19