About Greathall Productions
JIM WEISS has been a storyteller for over 25 years. In June, 1989, Jim decided to do something more with the craft that he had formerly practiced solely for pleasure. He and his wife, Randy, formed a production company, Greathall Productions, and have thus far produced forty seven (47) storytelling recordings with enticing titles from classical literature, such as Greek Myths, King Arthur and Sherlock Holmes. Jim's Greathall line is the recipient of more than 100 major national awards from The American Library Association, Parents' Choice Foundation, NAPPA, the Parents' Council, The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, The Film Advisory Board, Parents' Guide to Children's Media Award and more. Weiss' newest releases are "Julius Caesar and the Story of Rome" and "Carry On, Mr. Bowditch."
June, 2009 marked the 20th Anniversary of Greathall Productions.
Real live storytelling
Jim travels extensively throughout The United States, giving live performances at stores, libraries, schools and community events. He has hosted and starred in a PBS television pilot that won a Northern California Emmy for "Best Children's Show," and has even performed at THE WHITE HOUSE Annual Easter Event. As a storyteller, Jim's performances have been described as exciting and enchanting. His connection to his audience is magnetic and interactive, proof positive that storytelling today rejuvenates one of the first and most personal forms of entertainment. Adults and children alike leave the performance feeling that they have really met characters from a wide range of classic literature and folk tales. Jim's presentations garner heightened respect for the art of storytelling and the literature itself.
Awards & Honors
Jim Weiss and Greathall Productions
is the proud recipient of the following awards:
- Parents' Guide to Children Media Award
- Parents' Choice Foundation Gold and Silver Awards
- Film Advisory Board Award
- Oppenhiem Best Audio Award
- The American Library Association Notable
- Children's Recording Award
- Storytelling World Award
- Booklist Editior's Choice Award
- Pegasus Award
- AudioFile Earphones Award
- The Old Schoolhouse Award
- Practical Homeschool Readers Award
- Children's Music Web Award
- Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice and Seal of Excellence Award(s)
- INDIE Award
- NAPPA Silver and Gold Award(s)
A wise man once said, "A child is the greatest resource our republic possesses." In 1989, sharing this sentiment, we started a company called "Greathall Productions" to bring to life for children the greatest stories from classic literature and history.
That first summer, Jim created five, hour-long recordings while Randy began organizing the business side of our efforts. Our daughter, Danna, stuck gold stickers on the outside of the cassette tape boxes—there were no CDs yet—and less than three months after we had the idea, we had five finished recordings packaged, shrink wrapped and ready to go.
We had never heard of "a professional storyteller," did not know if there was an audience for what we were doing. We know only that the classics, from Aesop to Shakespeare, from Greek mythology to King Arthur through Dickens and Dumas, were often ignored or presented in a way that radically changed the original stories. We knew from experience, however, that a story well told would ignite a love of learning in a listener. Our goal then, as now, was to instill in children the lifelong love of great literature by telling the stories on a child's level without altering the authors' intent.
Those first recordings began to fly out our door from the very first day. It turned out that there were millions of people hungry for what we did. Now, years later, we have dozens of different recordings, all of which have won national awards, and there are far too many copies for our daughter (now grown up) to sticker. We receive letters, e-mail and phone calls from all across America and from other countries that tell us, "My daughter is a reader thanks to you" or "After listening to you, my sons came home from the library with five books on mythology." We love the letters that tell us, "We were in the sculpture section of the museum, and my husband and I had no idea what we were looking at. Then our six-year-old began to identify each statue. He told us he had learned all about these characters 'from those Jim Weiss CDs'." The children are using what they have learned.
In addition, scientists have now caught up with what we instinctively knew was true: Reading comprehension soars skyward when a child learns the structure of stories or develops the listening skills associated with hearing a story told or read aloud. So in addition to helping those among us who learn best through hearing (auditory learners), our recordings help visual learners, too.
Meanwhile, with Greathall Productions recordings, children and adults experience in entertaining form the tales we need to know in order to be literate. Represented here are the two most common sources of English language quotations, the Bible, and the works of Shakespeare. Journeying among our Greek mythology recordings, you will learn the origin of such terms as "a Midas touch" or "a Herculean task." For a Greathall listener, phrases that pop up every day in conversation, or on the evening newscast, become meaningful.
Best of all, Greathall recordings are fun for the entire family. Play a Greathall recording in the car and everyone will want to listen, and then hear another. If mom or dad has the original book waiting at home, the child will want to read it. We know it works because thousands of families attest to it.
We love what we do. We love meeting, and hearing from our listeners, many of whom become our friends. We love the live performances, the keynote addresses, the sessions on how to tell a story or how to teach history and other subjects through story...we could go on and on, but we won't. We'll let the recordings speak for themselves. We hope you enjoy them.