About the Storysmith®

Frontczak head shot

"I call myself Storysmith® because, like a blacksmith crafting iron, I heat up, hammer, and craft a story with strong forces before letting it cool into a tale worth sharing. My Storysmith® motto is 'Give me a place to stand, and I will take you somewhere else.' The kind of stories I tell - or teach you to tell - depends on where you want to go. Most of my performance and teaching work delves into the overlapping worlds of living history, writing, storytelling, and public speaking."


Living History Presenter and Coach

Susan Marie's deeply researched Living History programs are the center of her repertoire. In her programs as Marie Curie, Mary Shelley, Eleanor Roosevelt, Irene Castle, Erma Bombeck and Clara Barton, Susan Marie melts, stretches, and reforms the boundaries between theatre, storytelling, and public speaking. These programs are presented with no imaginary "fourth wall" between the historical figure and the audience. The audience travels back in time to hear from and converse with the historical personage. Many of these are in the "Chautauqua" format consisting of a monologue in character, followed first by a Q&A with the historical figure, and then a Q&A out of character as the scholar.  Susan Marie has presented over 800 Living History programs  in 43 of the United States and nine countries abroad since 2001. 

Susan Marie Frontczak is among the very best Chautauqua scholars in the United States today. She has performed for High Plains Chautauqua audiences again and again, and we keep inviting her back. — Ron Edgerton, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Northern Colorado
Living History Class Photo

As a teacher, Susan Marie assists both youth and adults to develop their own Living History programs. She has coached several thousand youth across the state through Colorado Humanities' Young Chautauqua program since 2004, and has conducted adult Living History classes since 2008. A number of her adult students have gone on to present nationally.

Last night, I went to the University of Denver to see Susan Marie Frontczak, do a Chautauqua performance of Madame Marie Curie, the Polish scientist who, with her husband, Pierre, discovered radium and polonium. You might think this an obscure and difficult topic to consider, but I must say it was done with grace, insight, and excellent technique. ... I feel that there is much we can learn from a specialized and clearly excellently prepared program such as this. — Bill Gwaltney, Former Park Ranger, Curator, Chief Park Ranger, Interpretive Specialist, Chief of Interpretation, Park Superintendent, Assistant Regional Director at National Park Service


From individual stories and poems to two-hour dramas, from solo work to narrations coordinated with symphony orchestra, Storysmith® Susan Marie Frontczak works words like wrought iron to shape an image, a message, or an epic journey. She writes all scripts for her Living History programs. She has also authored numerous essays on the historical women she portrays. Beyond the living history programs, her original narrative scripts and stories include "Ground Hog" heard on Morning Edition, Colorado Public Radio; "Vanishing Voices" a collaboration with Planina Balkan Women's Choir; and "Two Hearts, Four Feet" a celebration of social dance to accompany the traveling Smithsonian exhibit "Paris in the Jazz Age."  


For over two decades Storysmith® Susan Marie Frontczak has brought literature to life, created stories from thin air, and honed personal experience into tales worth telling again and again. She plays in theatres, corporations, schools, libraries, and festivals nationwide. For a description of programs, see Repertoire For Children or For Adults. For a listing of sample clients, see her Curriculum Vitae. Custom programs available upon request.

We were spellbound by the virtuosity of her voice and gesture, intellectual challenge and emotional involvement. — Dr. Brad Bowles, Chair, Department of Theater, University of Colorado, Denver

Workshops in Writing and Storytelling explore such diverse topics as bringing sensory imagery to life, conveying and distinguishing characters, developing first-person narrative, humor, stories in verse, designing fables, delivering dialog, using all the tools in your vocal toolkit, and improvisation.

I learned so much about storytelling and I learned a lot about the art of teaching too. You are an awesome teacher! I don't know when I have ever seen students learn and apply what they have learned so quickly. (And I have been in the education field for 30 years.) This class has been a real pleasure. — Timmy Fritzer


Susan Marie impacts organizations through story and metaphor. She offers insightful strategies in three major areas:

I can hardly wait to give a presentation so I can incorporate what I learned tonight. — Virginia Belland, Sales Manager, IKON Office Solutions

Living History