James Adams is a multidisciplinary artist, storyteller, writer and educator, and performance artist. He has exhibited/performed in over fifty group and solo exhibitions/performances around the world. Of First Nations (Mohawk, Cree and Innu) and Anglo Saxon heritage, he uses the influences of his diverse background to explore the modern world through traditional eyes. Jim is a founding member of Red Bear, a collective of educator/artists who are exploring the potential of using traditional storytelling and creative inquiry to foster literacy, self-esteem and healing among First Nations people of all ages. As someone who discovered his native heritage in his adult years, he is using his own journey of discoveries as a blueprint for a book on aging First Nations elders and the wisdom and teachings that disappear with their passing.
Carol Ashton is an early Childhood Educator and Children’s Storyteller. Children and parents alike are delighted with her traditional songs, rhymes and folk tales. Her interactive workshops for early childhood educators, librarians, teachers and parents encourage the continuation of the storytelling tradition. Carol is a founding member of the Canadian Association of Storytellers for Children (CASC).
Joan Bailey tells folktales, legends, and myths from all around the world as well as her ‘Tales from a Lancashire Childhood’ about growing up in England. She has lived in many countries, including South Africa and Australia, and brought back a rich harvest of stories.
Wendalyn Bartley is a composer, vocal performer and sound energy practitioner living in Toronto. For over twenty-five years she has pursued an artistic practice dedicated to an awakening of the voice of the feminine and a restored relationship with nature. Her compositions are rooted in the contemporary chamber and electroacoustic music traditions, extended vocal practice and soundscape studies with influences from eco-feminist thought, mythic story traditions, earth-based spiritual practices and holistic healing modalities. She has collaborated with artists from the fields of visual arts, video, radio, music-driven theatre, opera and community arts, and her works have been performed and broadcast internationally. The music on her recent CD entitled “Sound Dreaming: Oracle Songs From Ancient Ritual Spaces” is created from vocalizations made at sacred temple and cave sites in Malta and Crete. She received her MMus in composition from McGill University. www.wendalyn.ca, www.awakeningyourvoice.com
Bob comes to storytelling through education (English/Dramatic Arts). He believes that sharing stories is a powerful way to strengthen students’ listening and concentration skills, to build a sense of community and to energize work across the curriculum. He has been a feature teller at many festivals around the world. His books include Poetry Goes to School, (with David Booth) The Bear Says North, Telling Stories Your Way, Mother Goose Goes To School, The Storm Wife, Tell Me Another, Trouble on the Voyage. He received numerous awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Jennie Mitchell Celebrate Literacy Award (Ontario Reading Association), Fabian Lemieux Award, for contribution to the arts in Ontario schools, and a Life Membership, Council on Drama in Education.
Louis Bird (Pennishish) is an Omushkego storyteller and scholar. He has written two books: The Spirit Lives in the Mind, and Telling Our Stories: Omushkego Legends and Histories from Hudson Bay. A member of Winisk First Nation, he lives in Peawanuck, on the west coast of Hudson Bay.
Pat loves to tell a variety of stories from two-line Nursery Rhymes to Folk Tales, Fairy Tales and her many slices of Canada’s History. She enjoys intertwining programs with songs and music. She is a member of Storytelling Toronto, Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada, Storytellers for Children and the Backseat Balladeers.
Jim Blake, who hangs his hat in Haliburton and Toronto, is a seasoned teller of tales old and new. This is Jim’s ninth year as curator of Fabled City – a series of storytelling performances recounting parts of Toronto’s history done in collaboration with the Festival and the City of Toronto Museums.
J’ai fait mes études à Rennes à la fac d’Arts Plastiques. j’ai fait mes premières armes dans l’univers de la BD en 1995 en tant que coloriste, et a par la suite j’ai travaillé pour de nombreuses maisons d’édition en colorisant plus d’une douzaine d’albums. C’est en 2003 que j’ai commencé à travailler en tant qu’auteur, en publiant le premier tome d’une adaptation de Pinocchio en trois volumes aux éditions Paquet, triptyque achevé en 2007. En 2008, je quitte la France pour le Canada, et commence à réfléchir sur le projet Entre les Ombres qui sera publié en 2010 aux Éditions Glénat.
Lorne Brown is a singer old songs and a teller of old tales. A co-founder of Storytelling Toronto, Lorne has told his tales and sung his songs from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island, as well as internationally. A former editor of the Canadian Folk Music Bulletin, he was founding editor of Appleseed Quarterly, the Canadian Journal of Storytelling. Currently, he is co-artistic director of the Legless Stocking. In 2011 the StorySave program of Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada recorded some of his songs and stories on a 3-CD album. In his spare time he wonders why his wild oats have turned into shredded wheat.
Matthew Byrne was born into a family of music makers from Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, and his repertoire is heavily influenced by this unique singing tradition. It is a tradition that thrives on the song – the weaving of a great story with a beautiful melody – and Matthew’s music reminds us how satisfying traditional songs can be when stripped down to these basic elements. His live performance offers tasteful and honest interpretations of folk music delivered with polished guitar work and powerful vocals. His repertoire transcends time and place and offers a collection of traditional songs from both sides of the Atlantic.
Jeffrey Canton has been telling stories for over two decades, taking listeners from the fantastic worlds of Hans Andersen to the madcap village of Chelm; sharing original stories that dig deep into the strata of Toronto’s history including the life and times of William Lyon Mackenzie, Spadina in the Roaring Twenties, the Internment Camp at Todmorden Mills and the early years of the Jewish community; as well as, with a little soft-shoe and a gay showtune or two, his own past. He has been a long-time member of the Queers in Your Ears collective along with Rico Rodiguez and Clare Nobbs. He’s been heard by listeners at schools and libraries across the GTA as well as at the Art Gallery of Ontario, OCAD, the Spadina Y, the Mabin School, Toronto City Hall, York University, The Word on the Street, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, the National Library of Canada and British Library.
Bruce Carmody – teller of tales, old and new – many of them borrowed and some even true. Bruce has a passion for stories and their ability to connect us with one another. A retired educator, Bruce is a bilingual storyteller who has been telling stories for over 25 years. He tells in schools, museums, churches and at festivals across southern Ontario. He has often told stories at the Ontario Science Centre and taught storytelling to seniors for 3 years at the Yonge Street Mission. He continues to tell regularly in a variety of settings, including several nursing homes in York Region. Bruce has also developed and told historical stories at a variety of museums including the Toronto Aerospace Museum, Mackenzie House, Fort York, Spadina House, Gibson House, the Sharon Temple and the Canada Aviation Museum.
Sandra Carpenter-Davis is a strong and versatile storyteller who can capture the imaginations of adult audiences as well as the very young. A member of the Four in Hand and Women Who Dare storytellers, The Ballad Project, Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada, Sandra is also a founding member of the Canadian Association of Storytellers for Children. She is a teacher/storyteller for the Parent-Child Mother Goose program and the Bedtime, Bathtime, Anytime At All Program! Using rhymes, songs and stories to enrich the parent-child relationship. She tells to all ages and in every venue: from stage concerts, classrooms, parent workshops, seniors’ centres, prisons and living room, as well as frequent appearances in storytelling festivals across Canada.
Judy Caulfield is a teacher/storyteller. She has used storytelling extensively in educational settings for three decades. Judy has presented workshops on becoming a storyteller and using storytelling with students. She has told in a variety of venues from festivals [The Storytelling Festival of Toronto, Goderich’s Celtic Roots Festival, Ottawa’s Storytelling Festival, the Sharon Temple Storytelling Festival (Sept. 2012), and Baden Guild’s World Storytelling Day Concerts (2011, 2012)], to conferences and classrooms.
Jo Blake Cave is a contemporary storyteller based in Northamptonshire, England. Her work includes performance storytelling for theatres, art centres and festivals; site-specific events that explore the stories of place and belonging; and traditional, informal storytelling sessions in libraries, museums, storytelling clubs, schools and a whole variety of other venues. Since 2010, Jo has been Storyteller-in-Residence at the Royal & Derngate Theatre in Northampton. She has performed at festivals throughout England and Europe. In 2009 she she was the youngest storyteller to be nominated for the prestigious Arts Foundation Fellowship Award. In 2012, along with Clare Murphy and Dominic Kelly, Jo established a new storytelling company, Talking Skull Ensemble. (www: joblakecave.co.uk).
Jennifer Cayley has been a storyteller for more than two decades, performing locally, across the country and internationally. With Jan Andrews she is co-founder of 2 women productions, a company dedicated to creating and producing fine adult storytelling work (www.2wp.ca) Her repertoire includes traditional, literary and personal material. She is grateful to the OAC for funding the development of Beyond Longing, her first full length solo work.
In the short time since Hugh Cotton realised that storytelling was his medium, he has told at 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling, the Thorncliffe Park Festival of Story, East Lynn Farmers Market, and Crescent Town School (where he teaches). He performed at the 2012 FOOL – festival of oral literatures, and will be telling at the Mosaic storytelling festival.
Rita Cox is an award-winning, master storyteller who has performed across North America, in Europe, Brazil and the Caribbean, on stage, radio and television. She teaches courses, leads workshops and seminars, and performs for adults and children. She tells stories from the Caribbean, Africa and around the world. Rita was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1997 and is a recipient of honourary degrees from York and Wilfred Laurier Universities and of the 1995 Black Achievement Award.
Ruth Danziger cultivates the practice of storytelling as a teller and storytelling workshop leader in Toronto and across Canada. She developed the storytelling wing of the Three to Three program for the Toronto District and Algoma School Boards, was a storyteller for Bloorview Hospital for many years and is currently a storyteller with the Parent-Child Mother Goose Program where she has edited Grandmother Spider, co-edited You Can Tell a Story, and collected and edited I Bring You a Story: Folktales That Have Travelled. Ruth also co-created and participated in multidisciplinary events at Spadina House for Nuit Blanche over the last three years.
Donna Dudinsky travels from the world of television to the world of storytelling. She tells old tales in English and French to audiences of all ages.
Sharada’s passion for words, spoken and written, began at an early age. She hosted her first Children’s Program on All India Radio when she was 11. A trained Indian classical musician (Carnatic School), she was part of the team representing India at the India Abroad show in Paris and New York. Sharada has been performing and teaching in Toronto and internationally, drawing on her own South Asian ancestry and heritage. Sharada is a published children’s author: her book, Ram’s Caps, was recently published by Harcourt, Canada and she is working on two graphic novels – The Close Alliance and Prince Rama and the Demon King for Rubicon Publishing, Canada. She is an Associate Artist with Theatre Direct and the Playwright-in-Residence at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa.
Ron Evans is a Metis storyteller and oral historian. He grew up in northern Alberta listening to the stories of his Chippewa Cree elders.
Alan Gasser is a singer and conductor who specializes in Georgian music. Alan has held teaching positions in several institutions including York University, Department of Music, University of Toronto, Faculty of Music, Timothy Eaton Memorial Church Choir School, and State University of New York in Plattsburgh, Department of Music. He has been involved with several ensembles such as the Darbazi Georgian Choir (founder and singer), the Trio Kavkasia, the Elmer Iseler Singers and Mendelssohn Choir, the Orpheus Choir, Tafelmusik Consort, and Opera Atelier. Alan has recorded several albums of Georgian music and received the Silver Medal Laureate of the Georgian Ministry of Culture.
Lynda Howes has been an active member of Toronto’s storytelling community since 1979. She tells myths, folktales, and literary and personal stories.
Sally Jaeger has been sharing lap rhymes, finger plays, songs and stories for over 25 years and two generations in her parent-baby programs.
In 1994, a group of Japanese teachers in Toronto area got together and started telling Japanese folklore both in English and Japanese for two purposes: to diffuse Japanese culture to the Canadians at large and to pass their heritage to the next generation growing up here in Canada. Yusuke Tanaka, co-founder and current director, continued this group by enriching their programmes with Japanese contemporary stories and aboriginal stories together with music. Their members now include Canadian storytellers of various ethnic backgrounds. They have been actively performing as a group or as individuals at community events, at schools and even delivering stories to overseas. This is their 20th anniversary performance at the Toronto Storytelling Festival!
Brian Katz is an internationally acclaimed Canadian guitarist, pianist, composer, improviser, recording artist, Dalcroze Eurhythmics specialist (a method of music and movement education) and adjunct professor of music currently teaching at the University of Toronto and York U. As a performer and composer, he draws on jazz, classical, Jewish and various world music traditions to form his personal sound. Brian has worked with various storytellers over the years, especially with Dan Yashinsky, a relationship that dates back a few decades… when the two of them jammed music and story at Gaffers Café in Kensington Market. More recently, Brian composed the score to Dan’s epic Canta Storia, “Talking You In,” which they are touring internationally. Brian’s latest recording, “Leaves Will Speak,” a solo guitar CD of original music and improvisations, will be released here and abroad this coming June.
A professional playwright and puppeteer, Mat Kelly grew up on a small organic farm just outside of Ottawa. He is a graduate of the University of Windsor Drama Program and the Algonquin College Scriptwriting Program. Matt is a co-founder and technical director of Shadow Puppet Theatre (Kitchener). With Shadow Puppet Theatre he has been involved in productions of Faust, Macbeth and their fairytale series. As a playwright, Matt specializes in writing mystery/comedies for community theatres. (www.matsmysteries.com).
Jennifer King was born and bred in the wonderful city of Oxford, England. Woven into a family tapestry of storytellers from the get go, she began, at a super early age, to spin the yarns herself. Not afraid of callused hands, Jennifer left her childhood at the tender age of 16, and set out to conquer the world. A rich and varied journey has brought her to her current location: a mother of two beautiful children, a relatively new ‘on the scene’ storyteller and a full time student of Drama at The University of Toronto. In her back pocket she carries the experience of owning a cafe, starting a preschool and caring for broken souls. She no longer needs to conquer the world; thriving children, happy friends and breakfast on the table by 8 is more than good enough!
Without a fur coat to call her own Kathie plunged into to the world of Grimm, and the story Bearskin. This telling falls at the end of 30 years of telling experience. Kathie has practised her craft in schools, at Toronto and Ottawa Storytelling Festivals, Girl Guides, churches and library settings. Head teacher for OST’s Introduction to Storytelling workshop for seven years, Kathie finds the students teach her something more about storytelling every time the course is offered. With Mary Wiggin, Kathie coordinates two series for Ottawa StoryTellers at the Tea Party and Collected Works, an independent bookstore. A past coordinator of the Ottawa Storytelling Festival, she enjoys a good story.
Larissa Koniuk is a Toronto-based singer and actor. Most recently, she co-founded the Bicycle Opera Project; a collective that tours contemporary Canadian opera around Ontario by bicycle. In 2012: she premiered Thin Straight Lines, a song cycle for soprano and quartet by Anna Höstman and presented the Toronto premiere of Adam Scime’s work, Images of John A Wilson, a mini opera for soprano in addition to performing in the premier of Taptoo!, a new opera by John Beckwith with Toronto Operetta Theatre and in Like an Old Tale, Jumblies’ massive multi-disciplinary puppet-opera adaptation of a Winter’s Tale with an original opera score by Juliet Palmer. Prior to last year, some favourite productions include: a modern Toronto-based La Bohème with Against the Grain Theatre as Musetta’s understudy, and the premieres of three new musical theatre works: Female Hystery, Metamorphorically Speaking, and Rhythm Is. She holds a vocal performance degree from Wilfred Laurier University, and since completing her degree, has found herself singing many genres outside of opera. Her work ranges from being regularly featured as a soloist with H2Orchestra, an ensemble of hydraulophones, and the Cantala Women’s Ensemble, to her jazz project, 13 James.
Dr. Johanna Kuyvenhoven is a storyteller and the author of In The Presence of Each Other: A Pedagogy of Storytelling, The Crocodile’s Reward: A Kuranko Folktale, and numerous articles on storytelling, literacy, and community development. She teaches at Calvin College.
Multi-instrumentalist Jonno Lightstone is an experienced performer in a variety of musical styles, including klezmer, jazz, reggae, ska, salsa, flamenco, and classical. Klezmer music remains his primary focus and he is regarded as one of Toronto’s leading klezmer clarinetists. He has been a founder and participant in many bands, including the Culture Vultures, Hu Tsa Tsa, Matzo Ball Gumbo and The Yiddish Swingtet. Performance venues include: The Ashkenaz Festival of New Yiddish Culture, The Toronto Jazz Festival, National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Roy Thompson Hall, Ford Centre For the Arts, The Art Gallery of Ontario and numerous clubs and restaurants in Toronto.
Celia Lottridge is one of the founding members of the Storytellers School of Toronto. She has taught courses and taken part in countless storytelling events, large and small in Toronto and across Canada. She is also the author of many prize-winning books, including her retellings of traditional stories and novels based on family stories. These include Ten Small Tales, The Name of the Tree, Ticket to Curlew, The Listening Tree, and Home is Beyond the Mountains.
Dawne has been telling stories around campfires and outdoor bake ovens, on stages and in classrooms for 30 years or so. She is a member of Storytelling Toronto, a Waldorf teacher, and is currently Chair of the Storytelling Department at the Rudolf Steiner Centre Toronto teaching the art and craft of storytelling.
Alan Gasser, Bie Engelen and Becca Whitla have been singing together in Darbazi, since its founding, in 1995, as well as in many other groups and situations. Each of the singers is widely experienced in a number of local groups, and the three have often sung together informally, or for ad hoc performances, as well as around the feasting table as friends. It’s the long history of their friendship that they celebrate, and the intimate pleasures of the table, home and hearth, which ring out in the Georgian songs that continue to be important and vital commemorations in their lives.
Blondine Maurice has trained with world class international talents in clowning. She has raised 7 children and been a Waldorf Early Childhood teacher since 1980. These experiences granted her many opportunities to find the humor in everyday life. A member of the clown team of Nose to Nose, she travels internationally leading clowning playshops. The home of her Heart Nose is Montreal.
Founder of the long-lived Fireside Epic series, Carol’s impact on Canadian storytelling has been profound. Through her courage in telling from the oldest, longest stories she has brought courage to others. Productions of The Iliad, The Odyssey and the Kalevala in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver have all had Carol’s inspiration at their hearts. For her work with saga, she has been given the honorary name Carol Karlsdottir by the Icelandic-Canadian community. She believes “storytellers come and go. It is the story that lives happily ever after.” From this comes her commitment to “Staying out of the story’s way.” She has appeared at storytelling events across the land.
In 2009, Éric Michaud took part in the prestigious “Concours international de la Menterie” (International Tall Tale Competition) in Moncrabeau, France. Created in the 18th century, the Académie des Menteurs (Liars’ Academy) picks an outstanding liar every year. That year, Éric took the prize, becoming the first non-European to be crowned King of the Liars. Starting as his pastime, lying quickly became a passion, then a veritable obsession. That’s when the idea came to him: a night of storytelling …filled with lies and exaggerations, but supported by enough evidence to convince any jury! An ode to lying! Because when you think about it, the strict and scrupulous truth will never be as interesting as a big fat lie! And yet, it is well known that behind every lie …lies a element of truth. Will you be able to tell right from wrong, especially when the wrong feels so right?
Eric Michaud est un autodidacte et la répartie est sa complice. En 1995, il commence une longue aventure dans la peau d’un personnage: Ubert Sanspré. Directeur de l’animation historique et éducative pour le compte du Musée Stewart durant plusieurs années, il a lors de cette période l’opportunité de conter plusieurs fois par semaine le tout dans un environnement muséal. Il y développe une expertise dans le conte ancien, tant médiéval que de la période de la Nouvelle France. De 1997 à 2010, il anime hebdomadairement à l’Auberge du Dragon Rouge, un restaurant montréalais à thématique médiévale, des soirées où le conte a une place prédominante. En 2009, il participe au prestigieux « Concours international de menteurs » de Moncrabeau en France. Existant depuis le 18e siècle, l’Académie des menteurs couronne chaque année un menteur hors norme. Il remporte le titre et devient le 1er non-Européen à être sacré Roy des menteurs.
Kim is a musical troubadour combining storytelling, music and song, fusing the arts of drama, music, song, dance, prose and storytelling to create a variety of programming. She is a member of Storytelling Toronto, Backseat Balladeers and Storytellers for Children.
Rainos Mutamba is a musician-storyteller from Zimbabwe who draws inspiration from traditional music, poetry, and folklore.
Clare Nobbs loves telling to listeners of any and all ages. She is equally comfortable sharing songs and fingerplays in a room filled with six-year-olds as with presenting and communication workshops to a business crowd.
Novelist, playwright and storyteller Gail Nyoka won the Chalmers Canadian Play Award: Theatre for Young Audiences with her stage play Mella Mella. This play has been produced by Black Theatre Workshop in Montreal, Young Peoples Theatre in Toronto and toured in Ontario with Carousel Players. She decided to expand the story, set in long-ago Zimbabwe, and this became a novel for eight to thirteen-year olds, Mella and the N’Anga: An African Tale. The novel was a finalist for many awards in Canada and the US: the Governor General’s Award, the TD Children’s Literature Award, the Carl Brandon Parallax Award, and the Silver Birch and Red Cedar Children’s Choice Awards.
Jay O’Callahan is one of the pioneers of the American storytelling movement. He has performed at festivals in Ireland, New Zealand, Europe and Africa. Career highlights include telling stories at London’s National Theatre Complex, with the Boston Symphony, and at Lincoln Centre in New York. In l991 the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Jay a fellowship in the solo theatrical performance category. His recording has won numerous awards, including the ALA/Carnegie Award, the Birmingham International Educational Film Festival Ward, the Indie Award, and the Parents Choice Classics Award. He lives in Marshfield, Massachusetts. Besides storytelling and writing, he enjoys gardening, walking, detective stories, theology, baseball, and above all, swimming in the ocean. He performed at the 6th Toronto Storytelling Festival and is thrilled to return for the 35th!
Maria Ordonez is a Storyteller from The Parent Child Mother Goose Program since 2007, and a member of Storytelling for Children. She is also part of the Walk Good Storytellers who volunteer at Miss Lou’s Room, Harbourfront Centre.
For 33 years, Toronto-based Marylyn Peringer has been telling stories in schools, libraries and community centres throughout Canada. Her wide repertoire includes world folklore of the stars and constellations, riddle tales and classical epic, but she is best known for her bilingual presentation of French-Canadian folktales and legends. She has toured several provinces through Canadian Parents for French, and has shared her tales with audiences at numerous storytelling and folk festivals across the country. In November 2000, Marylyn represented Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada during Canadian Children’s Book Week, touring Newfoundland. Marylyn also teaches adult storytelling courses through The Storytellers School of Toronto and George Brown College.
Norman Perrin runs Four Winds Library, Toronto’s only storytellers’ library, out of his two-bedroom apartment in the Junction. Anyone is welcome to drop by and borrow a book from his collection of folktales from around the world. Norman does this for his love of stories and the desire to spread them. Norman’s love for sharing stories is also evident through his skill as an oral storyteller.
Jo-Ann Ras is a music therapist for very young challenged children at Adventure Place in Toronto. She has been telling for over 25 years. Her stories range from playing ragtime music and telling Scott Joplin’s story to stories for the very young to Celtic tales. She has told at festivals from Goderich to Toronto to Ottawa. As well as being a storyteller, Jo-Ann is an accomplished rag time pianist.
Toronto-based singer/songwriter Corin Raymond is adding ‘storyteller’ to his long list of entertaining talents. Last year’s appearance (and show premiere) at the Hamilton Fringe Festival led to a busy 2012 summer promoting and touring Bookworm. Corin has toured the show to London, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Victoria, Vancouver, Owen Sound, and is pleased to perform it for the 2013 Toronto Storytelling Festival. Bookworm is a story about a father reading to his son, growing up in a library, Spiderman, Ray Bradbury, and meeting the Minotaur just outside of Wawa.
Rico Rodriguez is a storyteller, performer and percussionist. He is also a counsellor, teacher, facilitator and a consummate Master of Ceremonies. He tells folktales, fairytales, fables and legends from the extremely rich and diverse Latino and Hispanic cultures. He also writes and tells stories about his life, his family and his trials and tribulations with a soccer ball. You will be delighted to hear the one about how he was named after a famous character of a well-known 1950’s TV show. He tells in English, Spanish and Spanglish. He works with at risk youth and he listens to their stories and encourages them to draw on their experiences to achieve healthy changes in their lives. Rico has performed in schools, conferences, theatres, pubs, festivals, living rooms, parks and on CBC, CKLN, CIUT, CJRT radio shows also on MuchMusic and through the World Wide Web. Rico is the first recipient of the Storytellers School of Toronto Anne Smythe Travel Grant. He is a founding member of “Queers in Your Ears.”
Gayle Ross is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation and a direct descendant of John Ross, Principal Chief of the Cherokee during the infamous “Trail of Tears”. Her grandmother told stories and it is from this rich Native American heritage that Gayle’s storytelling springs. Gayle has appeared at almost every major storytelling and folk festival in the United States and Canada, as well as theaters and performance arts halls through out the US and Europe. The prestigious National Council of Traditional Arts has included Gayle in two of their touring shows, “The Master Storyteller’s Tour” and the all Indian show, “From the Plains to the Pueblos.” Gayle also produced and directed an all-Native show entitled “Full Circle”, which featured the Grammy award-winning Mohegan musician Bill Miller, as well as the singing and dancing of Rob Greyhill, Jennifer Meness and the Great American Indian Dance Theater. Gayle was invited by then Vice President Al Gore to perform at a gala at his residence entitled “A Taste of Tennessee” and she was chosen by the Clinton White House as the only Native American speaker at the giant “Millenium on the Mall” celebration in Washington D.C. She is the author of five children’s books.
Called a “Canadian treasure” by The Star, Sandra Shamas has toured Canada, the US, and England with her one-woman shows. She’s known as a fearless, funny, and sharp-edged comedian whose stories use humour to open audiences to both hilarious and poignant places in her own life and the lives of each listener.
Bob Sherman tells stories that are mostly for adults, deep stories that tend to bring out feelings that we all share, but that we don’t always spend as much time with as we could.
Summi has performed at Harbour Front Storytelling Festival 2011-12. She was also a finalist for ‘Storytelling Slam’ at The Writer’s Community of Durham Region (WCDR). Growing up in a family of poets, writers and artists, educated in London, India, Paris and Italy, Summi has immersed herself in different cultures and stories from all over the world. Little wonder this Montessori teacher became a storyteller connecting cultures. She has organised lectures, workshops and storytelling sessions in Canada, India, Sudan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Oman. Summi has held her sessions in the British Council Centers of Tripoli, Dubai and Jeddah, Khartoum University and Cambridge International Training Center in Sudan, Dubai Medical Collage for Girls, Dubai Community Theatre and Art Centre Library, Al-Ghubra School in Oman, Jawahar Children Palace, Hyderabad, India and the Institute of Social Services for Youth and Women Welfare, the National Book Week and the Khoj Foundation in New Delhi, India.
Summi lives with her family in Ajax and has told her stories in the Libraries of Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, Peterborough and Toronto. She has participated in the Ajax Festival of the Arts, Whitby County Town Carnival, Stellar Literary Festival Oshawa, Oshawa Simcoe Hall Settlement House, Canadian Unitarians Council, St. Jude Catholic School and the Play staged by the Kalalu Folklore Theatre Oshawa.
A passionate storyteller born and raised in Argentina, Marta brings luminous magic, poetic language, and deep emotional impact to traditional, literary, and personal material. In 2011, 2 women productions premiered Landscapes of Silence: A Daughter’s Story, Marta’s first solo performance, developed thanks to the Emerging Artist Grant awarded to her in 2009 by the City of Ottawa. In 2010, Marta debuted in her native city of Buenos Aires, where she’s been hired to perform at schools, concert series, and book fairs. Since 2005 she has performed regularly at the Fourth Stage of the National Arts Centre and at Canadian storytelling festivals.
Rubena Sinha is a storyteller based in Toronto, Ontario, who uses her extensive knowledge and experience of South Asian myth and dance to weave stories of life, love, heros and demons. Her stories are often interwoven to incorporate her own personal experience as an immigrant. Rubena has extensive knowledge of the classical art and dance forms of North India. Founder and Artistic Director of Fusion Dance Theatre for many years, Rubena began her training in dance theatre in India under the direction of the interantionally reknowned Udaya Shankar. She has performed at festivals throughout Canada.
Goldie believes that storytelling will open the minds of children and allow their imagination to blossom. Her passion for the environment comes through in her stories of conservation, peace and unity. Her varied program also includes traditional folk and fairy tales, medieval and ancient civilization stories. As well, she has a historical program “Women of the Yukon” depicting famous women in the Gold Rush. Goldie has performed at festivals, schools, churches, earth day programs and community groups. She also teaches “The Art of Storytelling” at Act II Studio, a part of Ryerson University, which is a 50+ program with courses in all aspects of drama/theatre performance.
Leah crafts poems that reflect her grounding in storytelling, using imagery, language and rhythm in unique ways. These literary nuggets reflect her social consciousness, and are born from the urgency she feels about the topics and experiences that inspire her. Many of her poems also include melodies and some of her stories have hand drumming as an integral element.
Yusuke Tanaka has been telling Japanese stories accompanied by his distinctive guitar playing, both in English and in Japanese, since 1994 when he co-founded the Katari Japanese Storytellers of Toronto. Yusuke brings to his storytelling two influences: that of Western rock music (Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel to name a few) and the mythology of the Ainu, the indigenous peoples of Japan. With the inclusion of the Ainu mouth harp called the “Mukkuri” his storytelling makes for a unique experience. Aside from the annual Toronto Festival of Storytelling, he has performed at many events such as the Buffalo Jump Artists’ Collective, St. Mary’s Storytelling Festival, spring festival at the UN International High School in New York and the storytelling festival in Seoul, South Korea, to name a few.
Maryaleen Trafford, a retired teacher, has found a new passion in storytelling. She was a Walk Good volunteer at Harbourfront from 2011 to 2012, telling to families in the Miss Lou Room. At the 2011 Toronto Storytelling Festival she told “The Best Weekend Ever”, a personal story developed in Celia Lottridge’s Master Class.
Janice Turner has been a storyteller since 1990. She has worked in Festivals, schools and libraries telling stories and teaching the art of storytelling. She founded the Newmarket Storytree and is one of the founders of “Gather Round” Newmarket Storytelling Festival which ran from 2000 to 2004. She studied Puppetry in the U.S. with Sandglass Theatre and co-founded Gypsy Moon Theatre along with Lois Hayes. In 2002 Janice performed in the Vagina Monologues as well as being part of this CBC production of the Christmas Carol. Janice’s passion is telling the stories of Women. She created “A Night in the Red Tent” an annual International Women’s Day Celebration in Newmarket that ran from 1999 – 2006. Janice also trained as a clown with John Turner of Mump and Smoot. In 2011 she self-published the first in a series of books called Eve/Lilith. She has performed/told these two stories over the years. Sarah and Hagar the second in this series will be available soon.
Sage Tyrtle draws from a rich well of experience – including living in a tent for two years, her schizophrenic lesbian mother, almost-killing people with her mind control (NO REALLY) – to draw her audience in and enthrall them with true stories. Her audiences step into her odd life for fifteen minutes at a time, and sometimes their stomachs hurt from laughing and sometimes they have to go re-do their make-up because they were crying so hard. She tells stories on stage in Toronto, Montreal, and anywhere else she’s asked to go. She’s been producing the show “True Stories, Made Up Plays” for over a year.
Nathalie has delighted audiences in Canada, the United States and Asia with her whimsical and imaginative tales. Whether you are six or sixty, her stories enchant; taking the listener on a journey full of vibrant images, wisdom, witty wordplay and beautiful reminders of life. Your heart will be won over by Emma May’s quirky adventures and you will be mesmerized by stories such as How the Mountain got its Spirit and Mischief and the Moon.
Phyllis Walker tells stories for all age groups, especially the stories of Anansi — the first Spider Man. She also enjoys telling multicultural stories from some of the countries that are represented here in her adopted land — Canada.
Dr. Kristin Wardetzky is a recently retired professor, specializing in storytelling, who taught in the Theatre Department at the Berlin University of the Arts. She founded and continues to support a long-term project with professional storytellers-in-residence in primary and secondary schools, working with more than 6000 students to date. She founded a weekly storytelling open mic in Berlin. She has written and lectured extensively on fairytales, children’s theatre, myth, and children’s responses to oral storytelling. Her visit to Toronto is sponsored by the Goethe Institut.
Kirk Weixel is professor of English at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, where he teaches short story writing and modern Irish literature and shares Western Pennsylvania ghost stories with Saint Francis students at Halloween. For fifteen years, he has attended the Celtic Roots Festival, in Goderich, Ontario, where he studied Storytelling at the Celtic College under Jo-Ann Ras. In conjunction with the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad, he has directed programs in Ireland and taught Irish literature and travel writing there. With Judy Caulfield and Jo-Ann Ras, he now tells Celtic stories at the Goderich festival.
Heather has been creating programs and performing storytelling and music to both children and adults for close to twenty years in just about every venue you could imagine! She is a diverse, versatile performing artist for both children and adults and is experienced with small and larger audiences. Her unique performances, either on or off stage, are a blend of original and traditional stories and songs that are entertaining, cultural and educational. She travels, with her props and guitar in tow, presenting programs and workshops to schools, libraries, festivals and special events throughout Southern Ontario and has been featured in many Canadian provinces, and in California, South Carolina, and Argentina. Heather was presented with two prestigious awards through Storytelling Toronto in 2011, The Alice Kane and Anne Smythe Awards for the creation of an innovative project working with translation, and for travel to Buenos Aires. She performs at festivals, concerts and several public venues throughout the GTA.
Sandra has been telling stories from the time she could talk. She revels in the spoken word, the well-paced narrative, the stage, the public performance. Her stories draw upon the rich oral traditions of West African mythologies, folklore, and traditional tales from the Caribbean. She is also known as one of Toronto’s best emcees, and has worked with Luminato, the Jamaican Canadian Centre, and community groups throughout the city.
Renowned for her exquisite sense of language, Mary is a subtle master of the literary tale. Her wit flashes with quicksilver humor; her insight unveils hidden truths in poetic turns of phrase. She favours folktales and fairytales with strong heroines and sound plots, but her listeners should be ready for some surprises. Her rock-solid, no-nonsense delivery style is the perfect set-up for the uncanny and the fantastic. Mary has entertained numerous audiences at the Fourth Stage, the Tea Party, the Shenkman Arts Centre, the Billings Ghost Walk, conferences, workshops and adult education programs. With Kathie Kompass she coordinates two series for Ottawa StoryTellers at the Tea Party and Collected Works, an independent bookstore.
Harriet has been sharing family stories for twenty years, at times weaving them seamlessly with Greek Myths, Aesop’s fables or folktales. She has captivated a wide range of listeners at various venues and festivals including The Toronto Festival of Storytelling, The Ottawa Festival of Storytelling, and has toured throughout Quebec during the Canadian Children’s Bookweek. She is a regular at 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling and a frequent host at the Wychwood Barns Storytelling tent.