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Debra Olson-Tolar is an accomplished storyteller who has delighted audiences from kindergartners to senior citizens. Her world folktales and personal stories are empowering, educational, and entertaining. Whether telling stories of strong women and girls or tales of wisdom and wonder, her enthusiastic style sweeps listeners into another time and place. According to one reporter, "This talented lady has certainly perfected the art of storytelling. She had us all on the edge of our seats waiting for her words." 


Debra was the first storyteller asked to join the J. Paul Getty Museum's initiative to pair original story with pieces from their permanent art collection. She has told stories in schools, libraries, churches, coffee houses, and bookstores. She has shared her tales at festivals, conferences, retreats, dinners, and meetings. In addition to telling in California, she has traveled to Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas to tell stories and present storytelling workshops. Highlights include the Los Angeles Storytelling Festival, The Texas Storytelling Festival, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. 


Debra's background includes a B.A. degree in Acting, an M.A. in Communication (both from the University of Northern Colorado) and a Ph.D. (from the University of Denver) in Speech Communication. She was a Professor of Communication Studies at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, CA, for 19 years, where she taught "The Art of Storytelling" and "Studies in Storytelling” as well as other courses in communication.  


In addition to performing, Debra conducts workshops for teachers on using storytelling in the classroom, teaches intensive weekend workshops for other storytellers, and conducts individual and small group coaching sessions for those who want feedback on their storytelling skills. 


Debra is a proud member of the National Storytelling Network, the Healing Story Alliance, Rocky Mountain Storytelling, and the Tellers of Tales (Tucson). 



Storytelling Highlights include: 

  • Los Angeles World Storytelling Festival 
  • J. Paul Getty Museum 
  • The National Storytelling Network Conference 
  • Children's Museum of La Habra 
  • Texas Storytelling Festival 
  • Summer Solstice Traditional Music, Dance and Storytelling Festival 
  • Yuma Storytelling Festival 
  • Central Louisiana Storyteller’s Guild Coaching Workshop 
  • City of San Fernando Tree Lighting Ceremony 
  • College of the Canyons International Women’s Symposium 
  • Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Women's Retreat 
  • The Woodland Hills Community Church and Rincon Congregational Church 
  • Numerous schools 




Stories of Gifted Girls and Wise Women 
Tales for the Journey of Life 
Around the World in . . . 45 Minutes! 
The Value of Story:  Tales to Build Character 
Wisdom Tales 


A Beginner’s Guide to Storytelling 
Teaching Through Telling Tales 
The Power of Personal and Family Storytelling 
Tales to Nurture the Spirit 
Digging Deep:  Improving Your Storytelling 
Small Group and Individual Coaching Sessions 


Finding your Path by Finding Your Story 
Telling Stories, Creating Community 


Contact Debra for more information about creating a performance, workshop, or keynote specifically for you! 


Buy Debra's Storytelling CD, "The Stars in the Sky," on CDBaby!