Eshu changed our lives for the few days he was here. His effect has stayed with us. Children can still be heard singing, "Palm tree dance, dance... All around the market place, dance... He is the best storyteller I have ever heard".
Susan Friend, Cultural Arts Coordinator and Teacher - Green Acres School - Rockville MD
Eshu Bumpus captivates his audience by telling a variety of African, African-American and World folktales leavened with music, humor and mystery.
Eshu is a renowned storyteller, an accomplished jazz vocalist and a master at physical characterization. He has performed on the Exchange Place stage at the National Festival (1998), and performed 36 sold out shows in 13 days at the Smithsonian (1997). After appearing at the 10 Annual Connecticut Storytelling Festival (1991), Eshu was acclaimed as," … a fresh, responsible and knowledgeable voice... distinct and compelling... the hit of the Festival.
Eshu Bumpus' love for working with children began when he was just a child himself. At the age of 12, he began tutoring young children in math, nurturing their understanding and encouraging learning. In 1976, while a student at Hampshire College, he began teaching at an alternative elementary school housed at the University of Massachusetts. He would write stories based on the children's history assignments that they would then perform as plays. It was then that he realized working with children and the arts would be his calling.
In 1980, together with a group of parents and educators , he began an after-school program in Amherst which served four of the town's five elementary schools. This program which emphasized the arts and world cultures, grew into a summer program entitled Adventure Playground that is still operating. In 1982, he created and directed a program called Summer Theater Arts (STARTS) Which evolved into the program we now know as Capacidad. At the heart of the program were the folktales that the children would select and Mr. Bumpus would turn into scripts. Throughout that time, he also became know as a storyteller, visiting schools and offering writing workshops and drama residencies throughout the area. To date, this multitalented artist has presented programs in 26 different states across America.
Among his other interests are coaching chess and working with incarcerated young people and computers. His work with juvenile offenders in Maryland led to a pilot program in which young people learned to build computers.
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