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Academia Hernando: Tales of Old Tampa & Interactive Storytelling

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The region of old Tampa is an area of rich heritage, holding many tales and legends in its history. To hear the tales of Tampa from master storytellers join the Academia Hernando community learning series when they present “Storyteller of Old Tampa” at 10 am on Friday, Nov. 4, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

Academia Hernando is a not-for-profit lifelong learning organization providing quality instruction and learning experiences for adult students throughout Hernando County, and beyond. Their goal is to inform, educate and inspire adult learners through a series of weekly lectures on a wide variety of topics.

There will be two parts to this presentation. Part A will consist of live storytelling for grown-ups with Ross Tarr and Wanda Stuart. This will be a fun and informative program, bringing tales of Florida ghosts, historic characters, special Florida women, and a personal story giving insight into Life with Santa in Malls and Homes. Part B will consist of family stories with notes on how to find and preserve your family stories, and an Interactive storytelling with the attendees. The presentation will conclude with a Q & A.

Ross Tarr, M.S. is a professional storyteller and educator who has appeared at the Florida Storytelling Festival, St. Pete StoryFest, World Storytelling Day Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Tellabration, the National Storyteller’s Association annual gathering in Kansas City, and at colleges, community centers, theaters, campgrounds, museums, and libraries. He has told tales and conducted storytelling workshops twice for international Santa Claus conventions, appeared in films and commercials, conducts periodic storytelling workshops and numerous storytelling sessions for students of all ages.

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Ross Tarr, M.S.

Wanda Stuart, M.S. is a dedicated storyteller who applies her skills as a program director, teacher and educator for public schools, park districts and senior centers in Pinellas County, Florida. She is active with theatrical groups, has appeared in commercials, and is a frequent teller for monthly and annual story concerts by the Storytellers of Old Tampa Bay.
“Our presentation will feature two parts,” explained Ross Tarr. “First we will tell stories of old Tampa. Then we will prompt the audience to create and tell their own story.”

Wanda Stuart, M.S.

Because, as Tarr believes, everyone has a story to tell. He explained, “My main goal is to encourage everyone to discover, tell and preserve their family stories before they are lost.”
Tarr, a storyteller for decades, loves the fluid nature of his art. “Storytelling is interactive,” he shared. “You can build stories around a campfire and adjust them according to your listener’s response. Also, every story has a message. It’s a great vehicle for teaching.”

Sharon Printz, board member of Academia Hernando, looks forward to welcoming Ross Tarr and Wanda Stuart to the program’s musical stage. “Ross Tarr is so comfortable in his subject, having been a storyteller since childhood and having performed for all audiences,” she said. “Wanda is an educator, a storyteller, a musician, and so many things of interest. They have so much to bring to our audience.”

Coming up soon at Academia Hernando will be a Friday, Nov. 11 Mystery Bus Excursion that will culminate the series.

The Academia Hernando lectures begin promptly at 10 am and lasts for 2 hours with a 15 minute intermission. Walkin admissions are available at $15 per presentation. Visit https://www.academiahernando.org/ for more information or call (352) 345-8345.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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