In the early 1990s storytellers, primarily from the St. Louis area, began to organize to promote storytelling and storytellers across the region. These efforts resulted in the formation of Missouri Storytelling, Inc., popularly known as MO-TELL. Many important activities and programs came into being over the decade, several of which have continued to enrich storytelling not only in Missouri, but across the country.
Some of these programs include:
- The Missouri River Storytelling Festival in St. Charles, including Ghost Telling. The festival was originally held on the historic Goldenrod Showboat and later moved to the Katy Depot at Frontier Park, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition Museum. The festival brought in noted tellers from across the country and also always featured our own Missouri tellers.
- MO-TELL saw that NSN’s Tellebration was held in a variety of locations across the St. Louis area, and MO-TELL brought the first Tellebration event to Columbia.
- In a special relationship with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, several Missouri State Parks were provided access to the best of MO-TELL tellers, typically in the Fall or Halloween season of each year.
- The MO-TELL Register newsletter regularly provided valuable information and connections to tellers, initially in print and later also in digital format.
- MO-TELL was a consistent partner in the annual St. Louis Storytelling Festival, the largest and oldest free storytelling festival in the country.
- For many years the annual Spring Storytelling Retreat provided an opportunity for tellers to network, develop new skills, and enhance creativity in a camp or conference setting held in various locations. In later years, this retreat rotated leadership among the active guilds around the state.
- Workshops, Concert Series, an Annual Auction and Dinner, and many other special events were organized and provided by MO-TELL and its members. Through the years membership in MO-TELL linked hundreds of tellers not only in Missouri, but neighboring regions as well. MO-TELL provided motivation, support, and opportunities for dozens of new tellers as well as renewal for experienced tellers.
- The various storytelling guilds and organizations were connected through these activities and other communications of MO-TELL. Some of these organizations included: Riverwinds, Gateway Tellers, By Word of Mouth, MOST, RAPS, and others.
The newly organizing MO-TELL would appreciate your contributions of history, artifacts, and personal recollections as we will be putting together a digital archive of MO-TELL’s wonderful past and its productive traditions.