Tom Lee is a professional storyteller with thirty years experience performing traditional stories, folktales and myths for adults and for children.
Tom’s repertoire is a rich trove of myths and stories from cultures around the world; some are centuries old, some originated thousands of years ago.
Tom began researching traditional stories while living in Scotland. His first performances were late night retellings of Grimm’s fairy tales in a tiny theater at the back of a London pub called, appropriately, “The Man in the Moon.” This program was presented at the Edinburgh Festival and, subsequently, on BBC-TV.
When Tom encounters a traditional story that intrigues him, he will research its origins, going back in time through various manuscripts, often in other languages, getting as close as he can to the origin or source of a story. After this process of research and discovery, Tom will craft his own retelling of the story in a version that is both true to the original and relevant to audiences of today.
During one such research excursion in Ireland, Tom encountered evidence of a distant storyteller in his own family; Morough O’Lee was a Galway villager in the 1700’s who, according to a skeptical letter in the Royal Irish Academy “frequently told wild tales to his credulous neighbors
As an arts-in-education performer, Tom Lee brings his deeply engaging storytelling programs to students in grades K-12, shaping each performance uniquely to suit each individual school audience. In addition to performing, Tom works with students using storytelling to enhance their enjoyment of language, their understanding of other cultures and their awareness of their own storytelling abilities.
Tom is the artistic director of artsVOYAGE at Spencertown Academy in Spencertown, NY, a unique arts-in-education program that uses performing and visual arts to enhance learning across the K-12 curriculum.
Tom Lee performs for adults in theaters and at festivals throughout the country. His richly evocative performances allow adults reacquaint themselves with the power of a well told story, and to reflect on their own response to ancient narratives.
Tom is a frequent guest artist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he brings together his passion for research, art, story, and for connection with new audiences. In addition, he is a performing arts partner with the Yale Center for British Art and the Metropolitan Opera Education Conference.
Tom was a featuredteller at the International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN in 2014; in 2015 he returned to Jonesborough as teller-in-residence.
In 2016 he was commissioned by the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas in Austin to create a performance piece detailing the history of “The Crusader Bible,” a 12th century manuscript the was created in France but was taken by monks from Poland to Russia and Isfahan, only to end up in the Morgan Library in New York City. Out of this commission came Tom’s newest piece, a retelling of the biblical saga of King David titled “Prophets and Loss.”
Tom lives in Chester, Connecticut where he cooks without fear and gardens overambitiously.