Mary Lawrence

Mary Lawrence

Mary grew up in the Midwest as the youngest member of a loud and dramatic family of dinner-table storytellers who used celery stalks for microphones and silverware for sound effects. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, Mary continued her acting training in London. Mary has worked as an actress, drama coach and theatre instructor, while writing, directing, and producing plays for children.

Mary’s interest in teaching also extended to the academic classroom. She earned a master’s degree in education from Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York and worked as an elementary school teacher in Stamford, Connecticut, and three different school districts in California. She was recognized as 2009 Teacher of the Year for San Luis Obispo County, California.

Mary discovered storytelling while teaching first grade in San Miguel, California. An instructor from Cal Poly University led a twelve-week, all-school storytelling project at her school. The experience of storytelling was so powerful for Mary and her students that she was eager to learn more. At the time, the instructor was enrolled in the storytelling master’s program at ETSU and encouraged Mary to apply. She did, and graduated with a master’s degree in storytelling in 2018.

While teaching full-time and pursuing her storytelling studies, Mary was a frequent teller at festivals, schools, libraries, theaters, and parks along the northern California coast. During summer trips to ETSU for coursework, Mary and her husband fell in love with Northeast Tennessee and moved to Jonesborough last August.

Mary’s intention as a performing member of JSG is to share the joy of storytelling with as wide a variety of audiences as possible. Mary may be reached at:


Types of stories: Folktales, personal, literary, historical, tall tales, ghost stories

Preferred settings: Festivals, schools, libraries, parks, family gatherings

Preferred audiences: Children, adults, families, mixed ages