Storyteller Harlynne Geisler

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About Storyteller Harlynne Geisler

I have been described as "a one-woman show with a cast of thousands." I perform holiday stories, fairy tales, and international folktales for children and families in all kinds of places. I start with stickers, string figures, puppets, riddles, and knock-knocks to engage the kids. Then, together the audience and I tell the story. Go to my website for more information.

"Harlynne Geisler has a pixie-like look as she stands before an audience of adults and children. She seems almost to draw the stories from the air around her as her hands reach and gesture.

Her eyes gleam with intrigue and delight at the tales she is spinning before her audience. Without props, she creates an imaginary world, telling the story and becoming the characters.

Her eyes and expressive hands move from this imaginary world to the audience, weaving the two together. Small in stature but forceful, Geisler uses whatever dialect is necessary.

Her facial expressions and her gestures are finely wrought in excitement, confusion, passion, joy or fright—whatever emotion is called for by the story or the character."

"...she has entertained children with her stories in libraries and throughout the city school system; she is a consultant to the city schools' Gifted and Talented Education program.

"Recently," she adds, "a young man was sitting in the front row at a storytelling session. His face was shining. It was as if that was his story. It was so real to him. I wanted to shake his hand and say, 'Thank you. That is why I tell stories.'"

"And she told happily ever after."

San Diego Tribune


5361 Javier St
San Diego, CA 92117


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  • 5/5 stars

    All of the students loved the presentation! By all, I mean my English proficient kids, my English Language Learners, and my Special Education kids. All were thoroughly engaged. One of our teachers even read the "Two Bears" version of the story to her team time group after the assembly...they were able to compare and contrast the two folktales...which is a standard right in the new second grade Common Core! Thank you!

Question and answer

Q. What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

A. I have taken numerous workshops at conferences and festivals and subscribe to journals on storytelling. (I've also given workshops and edited and written for those journals!)

Q. Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.

A. How much do you charge?

It depends on what type of stories you want, whether I have to do special research, how long I am to tell or teach for, how far I have to travel, how large the audience is, what your budget is--many factors determine a fee. I no longer have time to donate my services, preferring instead to donate money to my favorite causes.

Q. How did you get started doing this type of work?

A. Well, like all of you, I have been a storyteller all my life without realizing it--sharing incidents of my life, jokes, the plots of movies that I enjoyed, etc. But I was lucky enough to see a freelance storyteller and realized that I wanted to learn more. I read every book I could find, attended classes and workshops, helped found a storytelling group and festival, practiced on everyone I met, and finally put out my first business card. That was in 1980, so my adventure has lasted for a long time.

Q. What types of customers have you worked with?

A. Elementary school assemblies
Private parties for children, families, or adults
Library shows
Festival performances
Workshops for parents, grandparents, museum docents, clowns, etc.

Q. Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?

A. I am the resident storyteller at the Timken Art Museum in Balboa Park in San Diego, where I perform 9 times a year. Generally I pick a painting, learn and perform the story of the artist's life, and then tell a fairy tale that I feel goes with the picture. Recently I picked a painting of a ship by Thomas Birch, an artist from the early 1800's. When I found out that little is known of his life, but that he painted battle scenes from the War of 1812, I told the story of how the National Anthem came to be written. Even the adults were informed and entertained by the tale!

Q. What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?

A. Be straightforward about exactly how much money you have to hire a performer. I can't read your mind, and I'd rather work within your budget.

Q. What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?

A. I wish they knew how important it is to provide a quiet space with no distractions for the storytelling. It is hard for one voice, even if it is miked, to compete against a drum troop or a clown blowing bubbles. (Luckily, it is seldom that this happens!)

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