Prior to joining Gene on the professional storytelling stage, Peggy was an award-winning reporter and freelance writer. She has a B.S. in biology and a master’s degree in journalism. On the board of the Dallas Storytelling Guild since 2003, Peggy has served as president twice and is currently secretary. Over the years, Peggy has produced a number of story concerts including Sacred Tales for the Texas Storytelling Festival and Ghost Tales at the Bath House. She continues to write feature stories for The Allen Image, edited the 2008 Healing Storytelling Alliance journal Diving in the Moon, and contributed a chapter to Team Up! Tell in Tandem! (Ed. Jonathan Hammer Wright) and Engaging Community Through Storytelling (Eds. Sherry Norfolk and Jane Stenson)
Peggy is the 2016 recipient of the John Henry Faulk Award from the Tejas Storytelling Association given "to a person who has made a significant contribution to the art of storytelling
in the Southwest."
Telling together since 2000, Twice Upon a Time Storytellers utilize the ancient art of storytelling to explore the complex and challenging issues facing us in our modern society. Through the experience of listening to and sharing stories, children and adults alike can be united in their families, schools, work places, communities and therapeutic settings. Storytelling opens us up to understanding the connections we have with others around our wonderful globe. Discover this new world with Dallas storytellers
Gene and Peggy Helmick-Richardson.
In addition to being members of the Dallas Storytelling Guild, Tejas Storytelling Association, and National Storytelling Network, Gene and Peggy have been on the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Artist Roster since 2003 and the Mid-America Arts Alliance Touring Roster program since 2006.
After earning his Ph.D. in entomology, Gene took a 10-year career detour into historical museum reenactment. It was at the Georgia Agrirama and Homeplace 1850 at the Land Between the Lakes where he honed his skills as a storyteller and historical agricultural/folklife interpreter. After a brief return to the field of entomology, Gene could not resist the siren's call of storytelling. In 1999, he was appointed to the board of the Tejas Storytelling Association and served as president in 2002. Gene also serves on the board of the non-profit Dallas Storytelling Guild, several times as president. He also volunteered as site director for the Texas Storytelling Festival for over 15 years. In addition to telling stories as a member of Twice Upon a Time Storytellers, he can sometimes be heard spinning tales and sharing history at Dallas Heritage Village's 1870 Gano Farmhouse, in the heart of downtown Dallas.
Gene is the 2015 recipient of the John Henry Faulk Award from the Tejas Storytelling Association given "to a person who has made a significant contribution to the art of storytelling
in the Southwest."
In addition to myriad schools, libraries, museums, nursing homes, private parties, churches, social and organizational meetings, and community programs, Twice Upon a Time Storytellers have shared their tales at a number of special locations and events, including:
Featured tellers for the Texas Storytelling Conference
Texas Storytelling Festival
National Storytelling Conference Regional Concert
I, Too, Have a Story: Voices of Human Trafficking at St. Edward's University, Austin
Frisco Storytelling Festival
Texas Folklife Festival
Dallas Heritage Village
Bath House Cultural Center's Very FIT Christmas
Mineola Nature Preserve
International Association of Facilitators Conference
American Bandmasters Association National Conference
Smithsonian Institution's Listening to the Prairie traveling exhibit, Allen Public Library
Dallas Children's Museum
Dallas Mayor's Summer Reading Program
Texas State Water & Conservation District Auxiliary annual convention
City of Rowlett's Camp FEAR
April Fool's Fest, SMU
Tejas Storytelling Association's Straight From the Heart
Ghost Tales at the Bath House
Denton's Scare on the Square
Richland College Emeritus Program's Holiday Spectacular
Genesis Women's Shelter
Carswell FMC, Federal Bureau of Prisons
Dallas County Jail
Several units of the Texas Department of Corrections
Cowboy Camp (Hope Supply Company and Dallas ISD)
Imagination Fort Worth's Welcome to the Fort
Among the places Gene and Peggy have presented storytelling workshops are the Texas Storytelling Festival, Texas Storytelling Conference, National Storytelling Conference, Richland College Emeritus Program, and Texans for Peace Conference.
This list is just a short sampling of what we can offer your school, library or event. We also enjoy creating unique programs to address our clients specific themes and interests.
Different Ways to Make a Story
Incorporating movement, singing, simple musical instruments, origami, string tricks, puppets and magic.
Legends, folk and fairy tales from around the world or from a specific culture or country.
Texas Prairie Tales
Stories of strong men, resourceful women and crafty critters of the Texas Prairie
Spooky Tales for Kids
Stories of ghosts, assorted monsters and things that go bump in the night for younger audiences.
Ghosts, Ghouls and Goblins
From creepy stories to tales of terror, this teen to adult program offers some spine-tingling fun.
Heart to Heart
Tales from diverse cultural and spiritual traditions, especially suited for healing and therapeutic settings.
Stories for Character Development
Just because kids and adults would rather listen to stories than a lecture
Dressed in historically accurate garb, both Gene and Peggy share the stories of famous or somewhat infamous historical Texans including Betsy McKinney (wife of Collin McKInney), Sophia Suttenfield Porter, Uncle Gus Wilson and Elder Horn.
Everyone's a Storyteller
This beginning workshop will help you hone your tale-telling skills, whether you are using them for family gatherings, library programs, business meetings or the storytelling festival stage.
First Do No Harm: Storytelling For Vulnerable Audiences
Gene and Peggy share the knowledge and resources gleaned from their years of experience with storytelling in a drug and alcohol treatment facility, domestic violence shelter, hospitals, HIV+ groups, hospice organizations, a juvenile detention center, and county, state and federal prisons.
Saving the Heritage
Wish you could preserve all those wonderful family stories? Want to make certain the history of beloved family members or someone of significance to you is not forgotten? Would you like to tell some of those stories? This workshop will offer ideas on how to best gather and preserve those stories, as well as develop the storytelling techniques to share them from the stage.
Strings 'n' Things
String tricks, folk toys and games from times past--a favorite of young and old alike. For children, this presentation offers a glimpse at what life might have been like between 1850 and 1950, before video games. For adults, this is a time to reminisce.
What's Bugging You?
Drawing on his Ph.D. in entomology and insect-related anecdotes, Gene presents an age-based exploration of the fascinating world of insects and spiders, complete with a visit from our arthropod ambassadors—Madagascar hissing cockroaches. This program is only available in the North Texas area.
For a combined 40 years, Gene and Peggy have been hosting storytelling programs with clients from Homeward Bound Inc., a drug and alcohol treatment center in Dallas. They currently share stories with the facility's Statewide program one morning a week and on Monday nights host a workshop with the clients on telling their own personal stories of recovery. This popular program has now hosted several public performances, including one at the Bath House Cultural Arts Center in Dallas.
We have been on the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Roster since 2003. This state organization provides "resources to enhance economic development, arts education, cultural tourism and artist sustainability initiatives." Qualifying applicants utilizing Touring Roster artists generally receive between 30-50% of our fee. To learn more about TCA, go here: Funding For Texas
We are also on the Mid-America Arts Alliance Regional Touring Program. If you are located in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska or Oklahoma, your program may qualify for up to 50% of our fee. For more information about this program, go here: MAAA