Bobby's innate ability to read and connect with audiences of all ages makes him one of America’s premier storytellers. Using dynamic movement and vocal effects, Bobby creates vibrant characters who come to life through imaginative, creative story, living history programs that highlight the African-American experience, and toe-tapping musical shows that feature song and live musicians. His stories promote character education traits (such as respect and responsibility), cultural diversity, and literacy. A great role model and mentor, he inspires and motivates kids, telling stories “to see the happiness and joy that can be shared through the oral tradition. No fancy electronics, just teller and listener.”
Bobby began his career as a stand-up comedian at the Funny Bone, and as an actor with The St. Louis Black Rep and Imaginary Theater Company in St. Louis. He also worked ten years at the Gateway Arch as a National Park Service Ranger. In 1979, Bobby made his first appearance as a storyteller at the St. Louis Storytelling Festival, and discovered that through storytelling he was able to combine his theater and comedy background to be-come a “story-performer.”
In television, Bobby won three Emmy awards as the host of the CBS TV show “Gator Tales” and also hosted the Emmy nominated series “Children’s Theater at Bobby’s House.”
In October 2009, Bobby Norfolk was given the national Circle of Excellence Oracle Award, an honor presented by the National Storytelling Network, which recognizes the very best storytellers in the country. This prestigious award is given to artists for exceptional commitment and exemplary contributions to the art of storytelling, who set the standard of excellence to their craft.
Bobby’s has created over ten CD’s, many having won the prestigious Parents Choice Gold Award. He has co-authored eight children’s books, and won first prize from Foreword Magazine. His book The Moral of the Story: Folktales for Character Development is a popular reference handbook for using story in the classroom. (See www.augusthouse.com for the complete catalog.) He is also contributing author to The Storytelling Classroom: Applications Across the Curriculum, Libraries Unlimited (2006), and Literacy Development in the Storytelling Classroom, Libraries Unlimited (2009.)
Bobby travels both nationally and internationally presenting performances, keynotes, and workshops. A past member of the Board of Directors for the National Storytelling Network, he currently serves on the St. Louis Storytelling Festival Advisory Council and is a featured artist with Springboard to Learning and the Missouri Arts Council. He also owns Folktale Productions, a storytelling company started in 1989, which can be found at www.bobbynorfolk.com.