Laura Simms

Laura Simms is an award-winning storyteller, recording artist, teacher, writer and humanitarian based in New York City. The New York Times has called her “a major force in the revival of storytelling in America.” Remarkable performances of traditional stories interwoven with personal narrative have earned her worldwide recognition and honors since 1968. Laura has created an irresistible cutting-edge performance style that bridges ancient oral tradition and performance art. Her storytelling is meaningful and uncannily entertaining for her international audiences. Her warmth, depth of understanding, profound effect on listeners, diverse material, humor, gorgeous voice, and range of characterizations are her trademarks.

Her most recent one-woman show, Mercy into the World, premiered in 2008 at the Barbican Theater in London, University of Oslo, and Frontier Theater in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has performed at venues worldwide, including the Khan Theater in Jerusalem, Royal Festival Hall in London, The Central Theater of Manila, and Victory Theater and Town Hall in New York City.

Laura works with international organizations to train teachers and humanitarian workers. She received the Brimstone Award for Engaged Storytelling and is co-faculty with Terry Tempest Williams New Generation Environmental Project. She is the mother of Ishmael Beah, bestselling author of A Long Way Gone. Under a grant from Mercy Corps, Laura twice took her storytelling work to New Orleans for teachers and children in post-Katrina New Orleans. Most recently she began a storytelling project with International Medical Corps in Haiti.