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About Cynthia

Cynthia Watts Reviews
Cynthia Watts, American Griot

As a child Cynthia Watts remembers her grandmother, Mary Ogburn Boyd, telling wonderful stories. The stories usually involved animal characters; ant, grasshopper and ber' rabbit. There were Biblical characters too, and of course people she knew growing up in Virginia. Beyond entertainment, Cynthia was beginning to see significance. Her great, great aunt, Susan Jones for example, was born in Virginia in 1866, the year after slavery ended. Susan Jones shared rich memories of a previous time in history. She lived to be 108 years old and willingly told what she knew of family history and the times immediately following slavery. It was much, much later that Watts read Aesoph's Fables and found that her relatives' stories transcended time.

While these learning experiences at the feet of traditional storytellers prepared Watts as a storyteller, other experiences greatly enhanced her creative artistry. In college while studying sociology and speech, she spent many hours engaged in theater programs as a back stage technician, and later as an actress. Upon completing college, Watts began a career teaching in colleges in the rural south, later teaching in Atlanta.

In addition to teaching Watts has traveled extensively in United States and abroad. On two occasions she spent time in West Africa and has visited Mexico, Britain, South Africa and many Carribean Islands. A highlight of a trip to Jamaica was telling stories at the American Embassy there. Watts has traveled throughout rural Georgia conducting school residencies for the Georgia Council of the Arts and other independent Arts Councils. She has been a participant on the Alternate Roots/NEA tour which offers a subsidy to presenters. She has performed in California, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C. and many other states.

Preschoolers have participated with her, as well as senior citizens at festivals, banquets, colleges, museums, hospitals, churches and other civic organizations. She not only performs, but she instructs in the art of storytelling through workshops, seminars and continuing education courses.

Her artistry has been recognized by the city of Atlanta; she was selected as one of eleven artists to present workshops to inner city school children. Through a grant she has had success in helping delinquent children take a new look at their world via storytelling.

Through using insights from many cultures, storytelling helps audience members transcend their own experience, time and culture for universal truths which are life enriching. She refuses to talk at people, but carefully involves audience members as imaginative, creative listeners. Cynthia recreates the intimacy of the storytelling art form which allowed its survival through the ages. The telling of her tales speaks to our time.

Cynthia currently belongs to Southern Order of Storytellers and Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia.

Contact Cynthia Watts

(404) 758-9873 Phone

(404) 758-0800 Fax