Gretchen Murray Sepik’s storytelling career began in Mercer, PA, where her mill-worker father, told her colorful stories about the Pennsylvania coal-mines and railroads; her mother encouraged her to dress up and perform nursery rhymes. Sepik’s professional storytelling career dates from a visit to Albion Elementary School. Though shy, she was able to communicate as “Naomi Brown from the Blue Ridge Mountains.” Storytelling allows her to share history and performance with people across New York State and Pennsylvania in schools, museums, theaters, libraries and private homes.

Sepik majored in modern dance and studied acting at Point Park College in Pittsburgh. She was in Paddy Toon’s Modern Ensemble in Pittsburgh, and Flash in the Pan, a mime troupe associated with the Rochester Philharmonic. Sepik was an apprentice dancer with Garth Fagan in Rochester. In 2004, she was honored by Young Audiences of Western New York for her commitment to learning through the arts. She received a Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council grant to adapt “Erie Canal Sal” into a children’s book. In 2011, Sepik was one of the individuals featured in the book “Legends of Orleans County”.

Art Forms:
Ensemble,Literary,Theater

Programs

Mary Jemison

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Mary tells the story of her life from when she was captured by the Shawnee Indians as a youngster to years later when she was offered her freedom and chose to remain with her Seneca family and friends. She weeps as she speaks of the death of her family and throughout the program she asks, "how would you feel, what would you have done, have you ever experienced...?" in order to draw the audience into the heart of her story. Different members of the audience become her brothers and sister and her children in this comprehensive program which includes discussion on research and character development.

3 OR 4 45-60 min. PERFORMANCES FOR $680

(1 hour performance includes Q&A.)
Grade Level:
4-8
Audience Limit:
100
Performance cost (back to back):
$410.00

Beatrix Potter

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Author and illustrator of the beloved story "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" and many other children' s stories, talks of her life in England, when "my grandpapa was in the habit of walking in the garden and eating live snails." Ms. Potter narrates "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" and "The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse" with the help of the audience, who become the characters in the stories. Teachers are encouraged to read "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" prior to Ms. Potter' s visit because, as she tells the audience, "I wrote the story so long ago I sometimes am forgetful in regards to names and such. Should I forget, will you help me?" And they do, often adding their own little twist to the tale.

3 PERFORMANCES OR 4 45-60 min. PERFORMANCES FOR $680

(30-40 minute performance). Available for $460 evening and $415 community performance.
Grade Level:
Kindergarten-3
Audience Limit:
100
Performance cost (back to back):
$410.00

Erie Canal Sal

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Ms. Sepik creates a fictitious character based, in part, on Old Black Nel, a cook on the Erie Canal. Sal talks of life on the canal and tells Irish folk tales from the Erie Canal. The audience participates as passengers on a packet boat in the year 1840. One boy becomes the captain, another, the hoggee. A girl is helping to cook, another is looking for a husband. The audience laughs as they learn about the construction of Clinton' s Ditch.

3 PERFORMANCES OR 4 45-60 min. PERFORMANCES FOR $680

(1 hour performance includes Q&A.) Available for $460 evening and $415 community performance.
Grade Level:
4-8
Audience Limit:
100
Performance cost (back to back):
$410.00