March 16: Storytelling at the Market Gallery, Bata Shoe Museum, Japan Foundation, Artscape Wychwood Barns, Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives, The Inner Garden.
March 20: The Storytelling Teacher Conference (visit www.storytellingtoronto.org to register)
March 21 – 24: Storytelling at Daniels Spectrum, the new Regent Park arts and cultural centre.
Hope you’re saving the dates for the upcoming 35th Toronto Storytelling Festival. Alice Kane used to say: “Tis a poor heart that never rejoices.” The upcoming festival is a wonderful place for tellers, listeners, and storylovers to rejoice in and with the art of storytelling.
This spring we’re honored to welcome some amazing guests. The great American storytelling pioneer Jay O’Callahan joins us from New England; Gayle Ross brings her Cherokee stories from Oklahoma; Kristin Wardetzky from Berlin brings new perspectives on the Brothers Grimm; Louis Bird is coming down from Hudson Bay with his Omushkego histories and legends; Ron Evans will be sharing his Metis and Chippewa Cree stories; Matthew Byrne is bringing ballads from Newfoundland; Eric Michaud, the “roi des menteurs” from Quebec, will be leading a liars’ contest; and Marta Singh brings her extraordinary first person story Speaking No Evil about the politics and personal consequences of silence during "la Guerra Sucia" (the Dirty War) in Argentina. Closer to home, the funny and moving Sandra Shamas is this year’s teller at the Alec Gelcer Memorial Concert (she’ll be opening the festival on March 21). On Friday, March 22, the festival partners with 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling for an evening of samplers from our out-of-town guests. The weekend features storytelling on both afternoons and on Saturday night. On March 23 Corin Raymond, one of Toronto’s finest singer/songwriters, will be performing Bookworm, a storytelling piece he’s toured across the country and had featured on CBC Radio. And you’ll be able to hear many superb local storytellers in three special programs: Grimm Remix, featuring new takes on the Grimm tales in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the publication of their book of fairytales; The Women, a mix of stories about women in history, legend, saga, and myth; Lives of the Storytellers, with personal accounts of lives lived as storytellers. I’m also delighted to welcome storytellers from Regent Park, who will bring their stories to a special stage that runs throughout the festival. Village of Storytellers: Regent Park is a project that uses storytelling for community engagement, and the storytellers from local schools and community programs will share their wealth of tales with the whole city. All of these great storytelling sessions are happening at Daniels Spectrum, the new Regent Park arts and cultural centre, on Dundas east of Parliament. There will be food on-site and at Paintbox Bistro next door, so you can make the festival your home for the weekend!
On March 16, you’ll find storytelling happening all over town: family storytelling at the Story Bop at Bata Shoe Museum, Fabled City at the Market Gallery, Katari Japanese Storytelling at the Japan Foundation, Queers in Your Ears at the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives, and a night of stories, music, and delicious food at A Caucausus Feast at The Inner Garden.
The full schedule and ticket information will be up in mid-January. Meanwhile, please hold the dates and spread the word. Hope to see you there!
—Dan Yashinsky, Director