Olga Loya combines voice, body and imagination to present stories and monologues to her audiences. In certain performances she uses movement, music, and drums to enhance the story.



Nepantla (Between Worlds)
In this theater piece, Olga explores that limbo state between different worlds. Using humor, dancing, music— punctuated with a fervent honesty— she seeks to inspire conversation among the audience about issues related to living a bi-cultural life in the United States today. It addresses issues of language and bilingualism, issues of belonging and alienation, and the quest to find a place for oneself and all of one's cultural identities.

Surprises of the Heart
Stories which incorporate exploring the themes of racism, self acceptance, forgiveness and redemption, featuring a short story where a mother takes in the boy who killed her son are told. In the performance you will hear a theater piece with music, folk tales with singing and a monologue. This is a multi-disciplinary performance utilizing theater and music.

Dancing Through La Vida (Life)
A performance piece about dancing, love and survival in the barrios of East Los Angeles with music and dancing.

Love and Ghost Stories from South of the Border
Hear scary stories that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Then be soothed by tales about men and women who love each other with a strength that overcomes all obstacles.

Day of the Dead Show
Listen to the story that tells the history of the “Day of the Dead” along with family stories, myths, folk tales and legends. Join in the discovery of the power of ceremony, and an opportunity to look at life and death in a more personal way.

From the Mexican Border to East Los Angeles NEW
Join Olga Loya on a trip through her family album as she entertains us with personal and family stories about love, escapes, Pancho Villa, celebrations, broken knuckles, mustaches and more.


“Your show on Saturday at the Institute of Musical Arts was a home run! Your performance was terrific, and as you could tell, the audience loved you. Your family stories were especially timely and enlightening, given the current political discussion regarding immigration.”
Barbara Clark, professional storyteller and producer


Getting Along Together
Folktales and original stories about compassion, dealing with bullying, working together and learning about positive self image are part of this program.

Green is the Color to Be
Folktales, myths, original stories about working together to take care of our environment.

Juana Briones
In a dramatic and historically accurate monologue and dialogue with the audience, Olga Loya uses her storytelling skills to bring Californio Juana Briones to life. Olga presents this character from the 1900's in full costume.

Stories from Latin America
Celebrate the magic of los cuentos (stories) with folk tales about self image, personal stories about discovering of one¹s own culture, myths from long ago that help us to understand the present, folk tales about learning about our own strength. Learning about the Latino culture as you learn about yourself.

World Tales
Travel the world with stories from Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America.

Let's Work Together
The power of community, people working together and peace stories are just some of the themes of this show. Listen to folk tales, myths, legends and personal stories from around the world with an emphasis on Latin American stories.

The Sky Above Us
Bilingual storyteller Olga Loya tells stories from the Aztecs, the Mayas, the Incas and more. A drum and participation will be part of the program as stories are told about how the sun, moon and stars came to be.

Native People of the Americas
Folk tales, myths and legends of native people from the United States, Mexico and Central America told using drums and participation.

The Trickster In Us All
Personal trickster stories and folklore from all over the world about wily hero/fool trickster coyote, raven, anansi and more.

Scary Stories
Stories of La LLorona

Flying Skeletons, Goblins and a ghost story or two are part of this program.

Singing and Dancing Through Stories
The culture of Latin America is passed on through personal stories about family and life, stories about community, stories about taking responsibility, stories about building character. Celebrate through dancing and singing as you hear folk tales, personal stories and myths.

Healing Stories
Folklore and personal stories as a healing mirror that give courage and insight to us all


“I could see that the children and adults alike were delighted and entranced by Olga Loya's style of communication, with movement, singing, exciting stories, and high level of audience participation. I'd be happy to recommend Olga to anyone looking for a storyteller for a group of any age!”
John Weaver Youth Program Assistant, Livermore Public Library

“One could feel the sparks in the air as everyone suspended their everyday lives and activities to join you in tales of wonder and to fill the room with song and excitement.”
Doris Illes, Outreach Manager, Riverside Public Library

“Thank you for all you did to make your Teller in Residence week with us such a success. What a delight to see the faces of the Migrant Education Program participants light up as you shared your stories with them. You are a wonderful emissary for storytelling.”
Becky Brunson, International Storytelling Center

“I am so pleased that our community was exposed to tales from south of the border - including the famous “La Llorona.” It was a joy for our audience to hear marvelous stories told truly well. They also loved how you made them a part of the stories through participating with sounds and movement.”
Karen Schatz, Librarian, Oxnard library' Oxnard Public Library

“Olga Loya is great! Her sparkle and enthusiasm as a storyteller are reflected in the faces of the listeners.”
Pam Lucas, Coordinator-Migrant Education, Medford, OR

“I greatly enjoyed the liveliness and humor of Olga Loya's stories, and I especially appreciated the ways in which Olga engaged the audience's participation. She made me want to learn more about the storyteller's art myself!”
Jennifer Michael, Folk Arts Coordinator, Anthropology Department, California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, S.F

“Take one steamy Ohio summer night, a few dozen tired migrant families sprawled on the ground under a tree, one effervescent storyteller, and what do you get-- Momentos Mágicos, Magic Moments.”
Ohio Tribune, Toledo Ohio

“Thank you for performing your entertaining storytelling for the Momentos Mágicos program. It meant a great deal to offer a program which was such fun for both Spanish and English speakers.”
Karen E. Brown, Monterey Public Library


I love telling stories to students from kindergarten to high school. Each age group has its own needs, and I plan the stories appropriate to that age.

My goals for student education in the arts are the following:

  1. To demonstrate different types of stories-- personal, folklore, improvisation-- and, storytelling techniques
  2. To stimulate the imagination and to encourage the students to listen, read, tell, and write stories
  3. To recognize the style and mood of Latin-American tales and world tales
  4. To expand their knowledge of other cultures through storytelling
  5. To help them find their own life stories
  6. To help them work on moral strength and healing through stories
  7. To help them get more comfortable in front of an audience

I believe these goals contribute to the education in the arts by exposing the audience to a myriad of cultures through stories. Watching performances, students are able to see different styles of telling because I perform personal, folklore (myths, folktales and legends), and do improvisation as part of the program. I also involve the audience in different ways such as: Telling a personal story and then asking audience members to tell their neighbor a story; entreating them to go home and ask their family for stories; I do participation stories and improvisation, and then at the end, I tell the audience to engage in improvisation with their friends, family, and class. I also ask them to think about the story they liked the best and tell it to someone else so that the stories continue.

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of folk art. Like dancing and singing, it grew out of people's needs to share their experiences and emotions. Even though it is primarily an art form, storytelling has a sound educational basis. Children listen and, out of the words they hear, create their own mental images; this opening of the mind's eye develops the imagination. It is a shared experience that shows our willingness to be vulnerable about our feelings and values.

Studies have shown that storytelling is important in the development of good listening skills, patterns of language, vocabulary, visualization, symbol association, sequencing, insight into human behavior, among other qualities.


“Through lively performance audience participation and dramatic monologue, Olga conveyed the power of the myths, legends and storytelling to our students”
Jeanette M. Falassopoulos, M.A. Teacher, Title 1 Coordinator, Napa High School

“Thank you for giving our students such a wonderful experience. They loved everything you had to offer them. The students will never forget you.”
Barbara Souza, Principal, Slater School, Mt. View CA

“Dear Ms. Loya. Thank you for the stories. I think stories are a part of us. We learned a lot.”
Your friend Alexandra, Star School, 2nd grade Fresno, CA.

“She had the children mesmerized and totally involved in her stories.”
Graciela Fonseca, Snake River Learning Academy, Nampa, ID

Workshop Photos

Workshops and Residences

Olga Loya, a teacher for many years, founded and taught in an alternative school which has been running successfully for 30 years. As a workshop leader, Olga combines her skills as a teacher and performer to encourage participants to listen, to use their imagination, to begin to tell their stories and, most important, to develop a love for the story.

Pre-School Storytelling
Working with three, four and five year old children, Olga teaches them how to tell stories. She works with stories, story drama, finger plays, song, sequencing, learning how to be in front of an audience and learning respect for each other.

Bridging the Gap
This workshop is for at-risk groups-- teen moms, juvenile halls, group homes, prisons, etc. The objective is to help participants identify their own stories and then to tell them. Olga inspires such narratives through her telling of personal stories and folklore about life changes and finding one¹s strength through the story. She uses story prompters, plays storytelling games, and employs other techniques to elicit narratives.

Parent Literacy Storytelling Workshop
These workshops can be done in English, bilingual, or in Spanish. The goals are to help the parents remember and feel pride about their stories, to work with them on folklore, to teach them games to play with their children, to help them see the relationship between talking, reading, and the use of the library. The workshop features Olga telling stories, the parents telling stories to each other, and playing storytelling games.

Our Culture Ourselves
Storytelling is an ideal tool for discovering the links between our individual stories and the deeper cultural traditions that shape our lives. This workshop will help you find stories that you didn't know you had inside you and strengthen your appreciation of the cultural heritage running through your individual and family stories. Pride, self-knowledge, and healing can come from finding your own story. Stories, movement, improvisational techniques will all be part of the workshop

Beginning Storytelling
Olga works closely with students to help explore and develop their own storytelling styles utilizing many exciting and fun storytelling games and exercises. This workshop will focus upon folklore and discovering how to tell stories.

Zeroing in on a Story
Using the senses and listening skills, participants explore a story so it may be more clearly seen and heard.

Exploring Bilingual Storytelling
Different bilingual storytelling techniques are demonstrated. Participants tell a short story using one of the techniques as well as play some games.

Games Storytellers Play
Find new ways to share stories with small group games, large group games, games to play in many different situations. Get ready to play!

Gods, Virgins and Death
Learning about the history of Latin-American folklore, telling a story, and playing storytelling games are all aspects of this workshop.

La Llorona (The Wailing Woman)
Many different types of La Llorona stories are shared, plus a discussion of why the La Llorona stories have remained so popular and what they have to say to us. This workshop is a combination of Loya telling La Llorona stories, a group discussion about La Llorona, and everyone telling stories.

Las Tres Mujeres (The Three Women)
A comparison and contrast of three Latin-American icons, La Virgin de Guadalupe, La Llorona, and La Malinche, and how they relate to our own stories.

Storytelling and Literacy
This workshop shows the connection of literacy and storytelling through telling stories either personal or folklore and playing games that connect the two themes.


“Olga recreated accounts of mystery, suspense, humor, and surprise that triggered our own experiences. She truly instilled in all of us the power of telling tales, writing tales and reading tales.”
Jeanette M. Valassopoulos, M.A. Title I Coordinator, Napa High School

The children learned many valuable lessons from her such as taking turns, becoming better Listeners, how to retell stories (as well as how to act them out and becoming more proficient in English”
Molly Brisbane-Ramirez, teacher, Grant Academy, San Jose School System.

The youngsters at Mission Y were entranced by the wise Latina storyteller Olga Loya. She started with a wonderful "welcome" song that everyone sang and then went on to tell her stories, seamlessly alternating between English and Spanish. She draws the kids in with the stories themselves and involves them in one way or another-singing, moving, or answering questions. She knows exactly how to keep the audience rapt. When the storytelling was over, the children eagerly crowded around her wanting to tell her their names and about their favorite stories.”
Barbara Berry, Bread and Roses Project

“We really enjoyed “the Magic of Los Cuentos.” Thank you for starting our season off with your wonderful stories and songs.”
TJDyer, Mesa Public School Creative Arts, Mesa, AR

“Olga Loya has an amazing capacity to engage the students in story listening. They then in turn begin to learn about themselves as they tell their own stories. They learn how to be in front of an audience, how to cooperate with each other and share. ”
Portia Harvey,Teacher in Charge, Osborn School, San Jose Juvenile Hall, San Jose, CA

“Thank you for coming to Osborne School. I really enjoyed your energy and enthusiasm. You really made me feel at home.”
Student, Osborn School, San Jose Juvenile Hall, San Jose, CA

“She strengthened listening attentiveness and fostered the love for a well told tale. She stretched our students' capacities to perform before audiences carefully chosen to stimulate self esteem and minimize stage fright”
Janet Welsh, 98-99 Title VII Coordinator, Anderson Village School, San Jose, CA

“If only we could all have the ability to create the electricity of communication that you possess.”
Pamela Moore, San Jose State University, CA

Author Festivals


Excite your children about books and stories. Bring Olga Loya, Storyteller and Author, to your event. Her 45-minute author assemblies celebrate the Latino culture, language arts and literacy. She shares stories from many different books. Olga's books include:

Three personal stories in book/video published by SEL Media: “Growing Up in East Los Angeles” grades 4 through 12, “Left Out”, K through 12, “The Ghost House” k-6

“Momentos Mágicos”, Magic Moments is an award winning bilingual collection of myths, legends and folktales from Latin America. Published by August House, K-12.

Momentos Mágicos, Magic Moments bilingual Spanish/English book reviews:

“Extensive notes about sources and variants make this a particularly useful resource in classrooms.”
School Library Journal

“Loya's characters are humorous and animated, and tell the tales with their own magic voices.”

“A charming bilingual collection of 15 Latin American Folktales retold by a popular Mexican-American Performance artist. Several are variants of stories familiar to us from such earlier taletellers as Aesop, Hans Christian Andersen, and Joel Chandler Harris (e.g., “The monkey and the Crocodile,” “Uncle Rabbit and Uncle Tiger”). More specifically indigenous material includes the famous “The Virgin of Guadalujpe,”a selection of Aztec and Mayan creation myths, and some genuinely creepy ghost stories (especially the wonderful “the Rooster's Claw”). A very attractive volume, and an ideal holiday gift.”
KIRKUS Reviews

Her stories are in the following anthologies:

More Ready to Tell Tales - “The Belly Button Monster” published by August House, k-3.

Scary Stories - “Evita” (an urban legend from Mexico) is part of a collection of scary stories published by August House, grades 1 through 12.

She also shares how the book “Magic Moments” came to be published and always makes sure to leave time for question and answer.

Olga gives tailored age-appropriate presentations to grades pre-k through 12.


“We really enjoyed “the Magic of Los Cuentos.” Thank you for starting our season off with your wonderful stories and songs.”
TJDyer, Mesa, AZ

“Thank you for performing your entertaining storytelling for the Momentos Mágicos program. It meant a great deal to offer a program which was such fun for both Spanish and English speakers.”
Karen E. Brown, Monterey Public Library

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