Available at door, or call 314-340-5975 or 314-968-2606 to reserve
Celebrate the artistic achievements of African-Americans in the early 20th century, when art, music and poetry exploded out of Harlem! The literary and musical gifts of these pioneers inspired future generations, and continues to influence world culture today. Songs such as Honeysuckle Rose, St. Louis Blues, God Bless the Child, & Ain‘t Misbehavin; humourous skits based on writer Langston Hughes’s “Jesse B Simple” dialogues; and poems such as “The Party” and “Jump Back Honey” round out this high energy performance. All aboard!
“The Ville and The Hill” shines a bright light on the problems of race and culture in America, using St. Louis as an example. This brand new, highly entertaining and educational performance features two multi-talented St. Louisians: Bobby Norfolk, three-time Emmy award winning storyteller & author and Beverly Brennan, vocalist, educator & humorist. These popular performing artists offer unique insights into race issues, problem solving, communication and positive changes.
Bobby began his career as a stand-up comedian and used his natural talents to become one of the most popular National Park Service Interpretive Rangers at the St. Louis Arch. Using energetic animation and special sound effects, he expertly engages students and teaches through first person narratives, poetry and humor. Bobby was raised in the Ville neighborhood and relates easily to people of all ages. He is one of the few performing artists who can entertain and reach both kids and adults, keeping them interested by offering topical, creative programs. Beverly is the Director of Speech and Theater at Harris-Stowe State University. She is an award-winning master teacher who is popular with students because she uses comedy and drama in the classroom. She grew up in the Hill area of St. Louis, and her great sense of humor and easy going manner is inherited from her Father, Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck.
This performance promotes a new respect and responsibility in our city through lively and personal discussion. Communication enables healing from tragedies such as Ferguson. Storytelling is all about listening and, quite often enables those who are otherwise too racially deaf or intolerant to make positive changes. Beverly and Bobby tell both sides of the story, discovering that people are more alike than they are different, exposing issues such as stereotyping, ethnicity, ignorance, and fear, and illuminating a pathway to racial harmony. They cover St. Louis history as related to civil rights and share material from literary giants including William Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes and others. Audiences will experience different forms of performance art including storytelling, singing, prose, personal narratives, thought-provoking poetry and theater. In addition, the program offers moral education and values clarification in an intriguing fashion that is not preachy, but stimulating.
The performance is 60 minutes, and can be booked with an additional talk back workshop where ideas and themes will be further explored and discussed. The follow up workshop ranges from 60-90 minutes to half day session, and can be adapted for specific audiences and ages.
We recommend this important and relevant performance for older students & adults. This “straight talk” show is aimed at middle school, high school & college assemblies & programs, and is ideal for keynotes, libraries, conferences, festivals and museums. This program can also be booked for diversity days, in-service training or multi-cultural celebrations for larger companies and small business owners.
Bobby has been a professional entertainer since 1971. His natural talent combined with a background in theatre and comedy has made him one of the top storytellers in the country today.
As Bobby says:
We all share the exact same character traits, despite color, race or religion. I tell stories to see the happiness and joy that can be shared through the oral tradition. No fancy electronics, just teller and listener. The human brain is hard-wired for story. Once you know a person’s story, it is easier to understand and relate to them.
Bobby promotes character education traits such as: respect, responsibility, honesty, teamwork, cooperation, compassion, and self esteem. He has developed the technique of sprinkling common core curriculum lessons into his stories in a seamless flow of theatre arts in his program called: The Moral of the Story.
Additionally, he has storytelling programs emphasizing cultural diversity, literacy & nature. Favorites include Folktales from around the World, Back to the Books, Monsters, Dragons and Ogres, and the ever popular Anansi Tales.
Audiences of all ages delight in his first person living history programs that range from; Through The Eyes Of York — The Lewis & Clark Expedition, to Henry Box Brown and Other Tales of The Underground Railroad, Lincoln and The Civil War, to the poetry and prose of the Harlem Renaissance.
Bobby’s musical programs highlight the life and music of great artists such as Scott Joplin; The Ragtime King and Swinging With The Duke; The Duke Ellington Story, while The Voices and Music of Africa! and The Storytelling Express combine story, music, dance, and audience participation. He introduces audiences to the rich traditions which underlie much of America's musical landscape. These special two person programs feature Bobby with a professional musician.
Bobby’s keynotes on overcoming adversity and the importance of discipline, persistence focus, and concentration are favorites among educators and corporations. These workshops are also very popular with festivals and conferences where people want to learn how to research, learn, and tell stories.