"I open my eyes to see,
I open my ears to hear,
I open my heart to feel,
I open my mind to think,
Let the stories come!"
Barry joined the world of Storytelling in 1991 on a tour through New York's Lincoln Center Institute, and has been telling tales ever since. He is a member of the National Storytelling Network and the Southern Order of Storytellers, and in 1999 was named the “National Storyteller of the Year.". Barry has told in hundreds of schools, libraries, festivals, camps, senior centers, museums, and beyond. A rich variety of voices, expressive movement, colorful props, puppets and costume pieces, and opportunities for audience participation abound as Barry draws on his theatrical training and experience to bring stories to life!.
A World of Stories
"The Mirror" from Japan, "Why Possum's Tail is Bare" from the Cherokee tradition, "The Fingers and the Thumb" from the Hausa of Nigeria, "Dinewan and Brolga" from Australia, Aesop's Fables, Jataka Tales, and many more, are among Barry's extensive repertoire. For any program, stories are selected to suit audience, age group, theme, or curriculum. Barry also includes, when appropriate to venue and audience, personal narratives from his life and travels, including "Shah Tzin Nam," a tale of nearly-missed communication across the language barrier in southern China, "Taureau Piscine," high adventure in the bull games of Southern France, and "Venus Venay," a wistful reminiscence exploring race in society.
Un mundo de cuentos
The world of stories in Spanish and English - tales from the Spanish-speaking world told fully bilingually or with a sprinkling of Spanish, including "Juan Bobo and the Pig" from Puerto Rico, "Mama, Mama, Ayúdame!" from Mallorca, "Coyote and Mouse" from Mexico, "Cinco Huevos" from Ecuador . . . , y mucho más!
Barry getting help from a student volunteer in a retelling of the Chinese folktale "The Empty Pot."
Mr. Bugaboo's Bugazoo (pre-K-1); various SCI and ELA GSE) - A whimsical collection of stories, songs and poems about bugs, including "The Ant and the Grasshopper," poems from Ogden Nash and Jack Prelutsky, and an original adaptation called "Eric Carle's Garden Party."
Smarty Barty's Arty Party (pre-K-2; various ELA and Fine Arts GSE) - The arts are front and center in familiar stories retold from favorite literature, including "Harold and the Purple Crayon," "Olivia", and "Amazing Grace", with musical verse from Seuss and Silverstein.
Lazy Louie's Lucky Day (pre-K-2; various PE GSE) - Meet Lazy Louie, who loves to lie around and stare at his screens all day. But after a series of text messages from favorite authors, including Shel Silverstein, Jonathan London, and Jack Prelutsky, he explores their stories and poems and learns valuable lessons about staying active and fit.
My Mouth Is Exploding! (K-2; 1st Gr.ELA GSE) - Farmer Phineas McPhonic leads a fun-filled exploration of the world of phonics—from sounds that pop, hiss, and vibrate., to expressive vowels with Big Mouth Arty Q. Later, and demonstrations from popular books including "Hop on Pop" and "Giraffes Can't Dance."
Peace Pipes and Talking Leaves: Cherokee Leaders and Lore (1-5;: 2nd Gr. SS GSE) - Folklore and lifeways of the Cherokee are shared through the voices of three famous figures - Sequoyah, Nancy Ward and Dragging Canoe - sharing a creation myth cycle, the Seven Clans, the Green Corn Dance, Cherokee Stickball, and the development of the Syllabary.
Who Put the Fizz in My Pop? Stories About the People and Science Behind Stuff We Love (1-5;; 2nd Gr.SCI GSE) - Explore the origins of fireworks, soda pop, popcorn and television through inventive and interactive stories that honor their inventors and the process of scientific development and discovery.
Barry as Sequoyah, the inventor of the Cherokee syllabary, from "Peace Pipes and Talking Leaves."
Far-Flung Fairy Tales (1-5; 3rd and 4th Grade ELA GSE) - Enjoy world variants on familiar fairy tales, including Lon Po Po, the Chinese Little Red Riding Hood; Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, a Zimbabwean Cinderella; Paco and Giant Chile Plant, and The Girl Who Spun Gold, a Caribbean Rumpelstiltskin, through retellings with vivid cultural elements,
Shakespeare's Fun House (1-5; various ELA GSE) - Barry becomes the Bard and then some of the his most popular characters - Puck, Romeo, Cleopatra, Falstaff, and Dromio - to share their stories in accessible, interactive retellings - a great introduction to the foremost poet and dramatist of the English language.
Chavez and Johnson: The Parallel Lives of Two Civil Rights Icons (2-6; 3rd Grade Social Studies GSE) - The parallel lives and achievements of these two inspiring leaders are brought to life through alternating monologues highlighting key milestones and accomplishments of their lives as leaders in the Civil Rights movement.
From DeWitt’s Ditch to the Golden Gate: Landmarks of American Engineering (3-6; 4th Grade Social Studies GSE) - This cross-country journey explores the stories and science behind four landmarks of American Engineering: the Erie Canal, the Transcontinental Railroad, the Hoover Dam, and the Golden Gate Bridge – with lively visuals, and demonstrations.
The Living Labyrinth: A-MAZ-ing Myths of Ancient Greece (2-7; various ELA GSA)) - Favorite myths come to life, including "Daedalus and Icarus," "Persephone in the Underworld," "Narcissus and Echo," and "Atalanta's Race."
First Contact: European Explorers Come to North America (2-7; 3rd Grade Social Studies GSE) - Partner Mari Martinez joins Barry to dramatize first meetings between explorers - Columbus, Cartier, and Hudson - and the native communities they met - the Taino, Huron, and Mahicans - with primary texts, authentically-styled costumes, and questions for audience reflection.
Barry as Cleopatra in "Shakespeare's Fun House."
Shakespearean Love: The Courtly Tradition in Shakespeare (6-8; ELA GSA) - Barry and partner Mari Martinez share the Romantic tradition through three of the most popular sonnets and key scenes from The Tempest and Much Ado About Nothing, presented both in the original language and accessible contemporary phrasing, and culminating in a romantic sword fight.
The Highest Office: Campaign History of a Small-Town President (6-8; 8th Grade Social Studies GSE) Barry presents Jimmy Carter's rise from the farmhouse to the White House, through multiple voices including Carter, Hamilton Jordan, Lester Maddox, George Wallace, and Gerald Ford, and artifacts and projected images from the period. (Originally commissioned by the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.)
Passion, Power and Poetry: Women and Men, Love and Desire in Shakespeare (9-12) Partner Mari Martinez joins Barry to convey the myriad emotions and relationships between Shakespeare's men and women in scenes from Cymbeline, Measure for Measure, and Antony and Cleopatra, culminating with a modern retelling of Othello from Iago's point of view.
Taken Hostage: Carter and the Iran Hostage Crisis (9-12) A critical episode of American History comes into focus through multiple viewpoints: President Carter, Shah Reza Pahlavi, Walter Cronkite, diplomats, hostages, guards and operatives, against a backdrop of historical images, in this program originally commissioned by the Carter Presidential Library.
Young Jimmy Carter, in a photo that is part of the documentary background of "The Highest Office."
Each summer, Barry creates original storytelling programs to align with the Collaborative Summer Library Program's Vacation Reading Program themes. For 2020, the theme was "Imagine Your Story," and Barry offered two programs (both live and virtually): Dragons & Kings & Wild, Wild Things and Far-Flung Fairy Tales. For 2021, the theme is "Tails and Tales," and Barry is offering two brand new programs: "Tail-Wagging Tales," a collection of retellings from popular children's literature, and "The Dancing Kangaroo: Folk-Tails from Every Land." Both will be offered via whatever mode or format the summer's health protocols allow. Gallop over to the Contact page and write or call for more information or to book a program.
A storytelling super-hero from the 2011 Summer Reading Program, "CultureMan to the Rescue!"
This two-minute video gives an overview of the program about Cherokee leaders and lore, featuring state standards and photos from the performance.
This two-minute video gives an overview of the program about European explorers - Columbus, Cartier, and Hudson - coming to North America, and the Native American peoples they encountered, featuring state standards and photos from the performance..
This three-minute video show clips from storytelling programs with English-language learners at a school in Buenos Aires.
This is a 13-minute bilingual retelling of a delightful Mallorcan folk-tale about courtship, communication, and confusion.
This 8-minute video features an original autumn story told to a group of pre-K children.
This 12-minute video offers excerpts from a variety of virtual presentations - storytelling, lessons, tutorials - created during the spring and summer of 2020, during the early months of the pandemic.
This video offers an exciting option for the era of social distancing - customized birthday puppet shows for children, providing a unique performance on a virtual platform that can include friends and family in the celebration.