The Toronto Storytelling Festival was launched on April 1, 1979, and has become one of North America’s biggest urban celebrations of traditional and contemporary storytelling. The 2014 festival includes the Village of Storytellers: Regent Park project, and from January to March three “urban campfires” in the community showcase local tellers. The festival opens with Storyfire on March 28 – 29 with great storytelling at venues across the city. On March 30 the Gladstone Hotel becomes a storytellers’ house, with two rooms full of family and adult storytelling. Thursday, April 3 is a Storytellers’ Symposium, exploring storytelling and social justice. Also on April 3, two free programs take place at Toronto Public Library. Renowned folklorist Jack Zipes gives the annual Lahmer Lecture at Lillian H. Smith Library. As part of the eh List Author series, prize-winning novelist, journalist, and storyteller Richard Wagamese celebrates his new book Medicine Walk with readings and tellings at Toronto Reference Library. Friday, April 4, has workshops on Playback Theatre (with Jonathan Fox), Praise-songs (with Hugh Lupton), Oral History (with Jo Radner), and Neighbourhood Bridges, a story-based curriculum approach (Jack Zipes). That night, join us for a book party as we celebrate recently-published books by local and visiting storytellers, followed by 1001 Friday Nights at the Festival. One of our featured tellers, Tololwa Mollel, had a Masai-speaking grandfather in Tanzania who taught him that storytelling is “feasting on words.” On Saturday – Sunday, April 5-6, I’m delighted that our Toronto word-feast welcomes so many great tellers from away: Tololwa, Ron Evans, Richard Wagamese, Jack Zipes, Jonathan Fox, Madeline Fox, Jo Radner, Hugh Lupton, Anita Best, Mary Fearon, Bonnie Logan. I’m looking forward to welcoming you to the feast!
Dan Yashinsky, Director, 2014 Toronto Storytelling Festival