Based in Chapel Hill, NC, Milbre Burch is a GRAMMY-nominated, spoken-word recording artist and an internationally known storyteller. Her work in physical theatre and kinetic storytelling was honed under the tutelage of Doris Humphrey protégé dancer/mime Meli Davis Kaye in Atlanta, GA and Merce Cunningham-trainer dancer Carol Richard in Durham, NC in the seventies, and Etienne Decroux-trained mime Tony Montanaro at the Celebration Barn in South Paris, ME in the eighties. Since 1978, shas taught and performed across the US, Europe and Asia.
Also a produced and published playwright, Milbre holds a PhD in theatre and performance studies from the University of Missouri (MU) and has taught at MU and California State University-Los Angeles. A scholar as well as an artist, she performs and publishes research on the use of storytelling strategies to highlight social justice issues.
Milbre’s venues have included schools; libraries; community, residential and correctional settings; coffee houses; castles; art museums; black box theatres; churches; synagogues; hospitals; senior centers; folk music, storytelling, spoken word, and theatre festivals.
Through her work with storytelling collectives on two coasts, and her efforts as a producer and presenter, Milbre has actively championed the cause of “good storytelling as good theatre” for adult and family audiences. In the course of nearly four decades she has worked to move storytelling out of the school cafetorium, the church basement, the festival tent, and onto the proscenium stage. To complement her storytelling “chamber concert” work in low-tech, educational and community settings, she created the Theatre of the Spoken Word in 1991. Her Theatre of the Spoken Word productions are developed as fully realized solo theatrical performances with sets, props and staging, geared for the mainstage.
Her one-woman shows have been presented by Caltech Public Events; Cafe Patachou in Indianapolis; the Hollywood Literary Retreat; the Hiddenite Center in North Carolina; the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival; National-Louis University in Evanston, IL; adult storytelling series at the Beverly Hills Library and the Monterey Public Library, as well as By Word of Mouth in Pasadena, and Tales by the Sea in Malibu. She has also performed at the 14th Street Playhouse in Atlanta; the High Point Theatre Cabaret in North Carolina; the Mark Taper Forum of the Los Angeles Public Library; Appalachian State University in Boone, NC; the Indianapolis Art Museum; the University of San Diego; California Plaza Presents; the Family Business Seminar of Kennesaw College in Georgia; the Solo Visions Festival at Sushi Performance and Visual Art in San Diego; Occidental College in Los Angeles; the Washington (DC) Storytellers’ Theatre; the Del Norte Association for Cultural Awareness; the Ackland Art Museum at UNC-Chapel Hill; the PSI Theatre in Durham, NC; the North Carolina Stage Company in Asheville, NC; Columbia College in Columbia, MO; Culver-Stockton College in Canton, MO; the Fort Lauderdale Art Museum; the Caldwell Theatre in Boca Raton, FL; the Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Missouri-Columbia; SUNY-Plattsburgh; NYU’s Provincetown Playhouse; Georgia College and State University; the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh; Stephens College and Dixon Place in Manhattan.
Milbre has been featured at storytelling, spoken word and theatre festivals in 36 states and eighteen European cities in Austria, Spain, Ireland and England. Her festival appearances and conference performances can include commissions of new work, keynote performances on a conference theme, ghost stories (for adults or for families), spoken word artist interviews, workshops for conference and festival goers, themed solo sets (or tandem sets with other tellers), material from her signature one-woman shows excerpted or in their entirety, and more.
In 2019, she’ll be a teller in residence at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, TN and a featured performer at the Provincetown Playhouse at New York University, the STAR Theatre in Kittery, ME, Footlights Theatre in Falmouth, ME, the Celebration Barn in South Paris, ME and selected venues from coast to coast.
She’d like to bring her Theatre of the Spoken Word mainstage productions, her workshops, residencies and spoken-word chamber concerts to a venue near you!
Her storytelling albums can be purchased from Kind Crone Productions or downloaded from Audible and CD Baby.