Jefferson Elementary to Host Acclaimed Australian Storyteller and Musician for 5-Day Residency

Published August 9, 2016 at 3:15 p.m. 

KINGSPORT, Tenn.Thomas Jefferson Elementary School is proud to announce they will be bringing Paul Taylor, acclaimed performing artist, educator and famous didgeridoo player, back to Jefferson Elementary for a 5-day Artist in Residence program the week of August 15.

Taylor helps bridge cultures by sharing the stories and music of Aboriginal and European Australia with audiences throughout the U.S. He performs for all ages and conducts school residencies, combining storytelling and music with dance and painting.

For his second visit to Jefferson, Taylor will be working with the entire school, grades K-5 (approximately 475 students). The residency begins on Monday, August 15 and continues until Friday, August 19. It will conclude with two K-5 student-based performances. This program is being funded through Jefferson’s Parent Teacher Organization and is further supported through supply donations from local Home Depot, Lowes and Wal-Mart stores.

For Taylor, creating and performing traditional arts of Australia is more than just entertainment—it’s also documenting and celebrating one of the world’s fastest vanishing cultures. Taylor is mentored by Yidunduma Bill Harney, last male custodian of the Wardaman culture in Australia's Northern Territory. Now based in Laramie, WY, Taylor returns to Australia on sabbatical each year to spend time with family and to travel and study with Mr. Harney.

“In ten years of performances and art in education residencies all over the United States, I have actively brought and applied the essence of play to my programs. We sing, dance, paint and tell stories while learning about my homeland of Australia. The results have been very powerful—both personally and for the students—kids and adults alike. I continue to be amazed at the energy, joy and sense of community that emerges from a residency,” Taylor shares.

Trained as a social worker, Taylor has spent his life traveling and experiencing cultures from around the world. Wherever his journeys take him, he studies and shares in rich traditions of song, dance and stories. As a performing artist, Paul trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England He worked professionally as an actor, stage manager in Australia’s regional theaters, and clown in a circus show performing throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

Taylor has been endorsed by the state Arts Councils of New York and South Carolina; United Arts North Carolina, Texas, Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota, and South Dakota; and he has been honored for his work with Arts in Education by being appointed Adjunct Professor in the University of Wyoming, College of Education. Taylor has produced four (4) recordings Cooee!, Walkabout, Matilda & the Dreamtime and Doo Bee Doo. Cooee! has won six (6) National awards including NAPPA Gold Award, Parent's Choice Gold Award and Storytelling World. His credits include the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Kerrville Folk Festival, Clearwater Revival Folk Festival, National Geographic, Festival Internationale de Louisiana, Wyoming Symphony Orchestra, the National Storytelling Festival and Disney Music Center L.A.

You can learn more about Paul Taylor at Please contact Jefferson Elementary at (423) 378-2270 for additional information.

Kingsport City Schools (KCS) is a public school district located in Kingsport, Tenn., serving students in Sullivan and Hawkins county. The district is comprised of 13 schools, including a Pre-K, eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school and a non-traditional school; with total enrollment over 7,100 students. The vision of Kingsport City Schools is to be, Student Focused … World Class.

KCS has been named the top school district in Tennessee as winner of the 2014 SCORE Prize District Award by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) and has earned the 2014 Achievement Award in the annual Excellence in Tennessee Recognition Program by the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNPCE).

For more information on KCS, visit, listen live on WCSK 90.3 FMThe Voice of KCS, read our blog, We Are KCS, or call (423) 378.2100. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook (Kingsport City Schools), Twitter (@KCS_District) and check out our YouTube Channel (KPTSchools).