The Pied Piper is in Rome: An Interview with Tracey Ellert

Tracey Ellert is the Pied Piper, and she's in Rome for a bit longer.
She charmed everyone at The English Schoolhouse yesterday with her fantastic stories and the magical way she tells them. Read on to find out more, and join us at The English Schoolhouse on the following dates/times to see what all the fuss about. The girl is good.



UPCOMING SHOWS:
Sunday, December 1 - 4 p.m.
Saturday, December 7 - 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Sunday, December 8 - 11 a.m.
RSVP to info@theenglishschoolhouse.com

Enjoy the interview!

Name: Tracey Ellert
Occupation: Storyteller/Storymaker

Whew! I don't even know where to start. First of all, I sat in on the shows you did for The English Schoolhouse yesterday, and I really was amazed by how captivated the entire audience was. And I'm not just talking about the kids! You had the adults too, including myself.
I guess the first question should be how did you get into storytelling and how are you so dang good at it?

I got into storytelling because I was a nanny. The two worlds collided when I was always telling stories for the kids I nannied for. I'd end up entertaining all the kids at parties, and the parents told me I should be a teacher. And I said I don't want to be a teacher, I want to be a performer.

When was that?
That was in 2001.

Wow.
No no, I was nannying in 1997, but the birthday thing happened in 2001, which sparked everything, and that's when I realized that children have entertainment at parties because I grew up with cake and one friend at the house, and that's when I realized I could do something like that. I could have characters. So at the same time I'd already been hosting a t.v. show at a children's hospital and I told my supervisor about my idea and she told me about another woman named Dot who did the show on Wednesdays so I went to see her and she was doing what I wanted to do but I couldn't put it into words. So I started telling stories at in-home daycares. I'd go every week to the same daycares that Dot couldn't do anymore.

About how many stories do have in your repertoire?
30-40...some are better than others. Some need more work.

Which is your favorite and why?
I feel like my favorite story changes a lot. I have one about a giraffe called Greta the Great. It's about a giraffe that doesn't know what growing is so she's scared to grow. Sometimes I'm doing a story that I don't think is my favorite and then the kids are totally into it and it comes alive and it becomes my favorite.

So when did you know this idea had legs.
I knew it had legs when I was working as a manager at a day spa and I was doing in home daycares in the morning and managing in the afternoon and I started getting a lot of requests for birthday parties. So I quit managing it and I was making like $40,000 a year at age 22 and that's a lot of money but I just quit.

Tell me about Ballyhoo.
Ballyhoo started out as me performing live storytelling shows and now it's turning into a brand for parent conscious children's media.
Oooooh, I like that.
It's content that's healthy for kids. Ballyhoo is evolving into all kinds of media...it's apps, books, we have a dvd.

Where can parents find out more?
www.bballyhoo.com and another website where they can read about my dvd is www.sillyhoo.com. The first is more info about me and the second is the stuff that I'm working on.

I have taken to referring to you as the pied piper for children. Seriously, it's like you cast this magical spell of enchantment and wonder over all of these boogers and have them hooked after such a short time. Have you ever met a kid who did not like you? 
My own. My own is the only one who doesn't like me telling stories because he doesn't like to share me. We're learning about sharing.

Now the fun stuff...
Has Rome grown on you any more since we first met?
Yes it has grown on me. It has charmed me with its tiny little streets. Not the big ones.

What's the thing you think you'll miss the most after you leave?
One thing that I'll miss most but I'm also going to take it with me is the idea of exploring new areas all the time. I think that's kind of opened my eyes, in a place that I live I can explore new places. And the 80 cent expressos.
No Starbucks prices here.
We're getting ripped off!

What's the website you waste the most time on? 
Right now, booking.com looking at hotels and a mom blog called www.bleubirdvintage.com. She's a mom who homeschools her kids and posts recipes. I'm going to send her my dvd and if she likes it maybe she'll rave about it on her blog...

Yeah, tell me about the dvd.
So, it's called What's the Big Idea? and it is for 18 months+ and it's for beginning language. It's not a lot of speaking and I work with the other storyteller who was my mentor. I produced and directed it and she and I cowrote it. 
How can parents buy it?
They can buy it on my website, www.bballyhoo.com

Favorite magazine: I love any type of health magazine. Any self or shape magazine. I'm a sucker for People Magazine. That's my weakness.

Do you read the newspaper? No.

Best thing you've eaten in Rome so far? Bonci's pizzas and pizza in Naples

Shameless plug:
If you like my fb page and leave a comment between now and the the first of the year, you'll be entered in a raffle to win one of my dvds, What's the Big Idea?
https://www.facebook.com/BallyhooStories

Let me drop what I'm doing and leave a comment NOW! I've already liked the page!

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