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SJS Mini Festival – Come here till I tells ya!: Raising our Spirits with Local Stories & Tellers

Come out and get the stink of the house off ya!

We have a wonderful weekend of activities and shows for you to enjoy ! Our SJS mini festival will take place at Gower St United Church June 10 – 12 (lower entrance). All events are free, but you can feel free to bring a donation of a non perishable food item, or a monetary donation that will go towards the people of Ukraine.

The mini festival has an array of shows for both kids and adults, and will feature a story recording booth, prizes, refreshments, and more!

Here are some of the performers you can catch at our upcoming festival!:

Jim Payne

A native of Notre Dame Bay, Jim Payne is an award-winning performer, collector and producer of traditional Newfoundland music, as well one of the province’s most prolific songwriters, whose songs and stories reflect the folklore of the province as well as historic and contemporary issues faced by coastal peoples of the North West Atlantic. He has performed on six continents.

Karen Carroll

Karen Carroll is a storyteller, writer, playwright and recitationist living in Logy Bay. She writes stories of Newfoundland based on stories of her family, her personal experiences, and those shared by friends. Karen released her first e-album, Molasses and Homemade Bread, on October 11, 2021.A frequent performer with St. John’s Storytelling at Storytelling Circles, festivals, and other events, Karen is a familiar face to many in the storytelling community locally.Karen has been a member of the St. John’s Storytelling Board since 2017. 

 Christine Hennebury

Christine’s storytelling career began at age 4 when she earnestly explained to her parents, while holding an empty bottle, that she had not spilled her bubbles on the couch. Understandably, they didn’t believe that the wet couch was the result of water shooting out of their daughter’s nose but she swears that her stories have improved greatly since then. She likes to tell a huge variety of stories, including myths, family stories, folk tales and stuff she made up, and her topics range from the story of Sekhmet, an avenging Egyptian goddess, to the story of the time that her Dad tricked her uncle out of a hotdog. Christine is a writer, storyteller, and creative life coach living in Mount Pearl, NL who spends most of her time encouraging people to explore their creativity on their own terms. She is the founder of the Association for the Arts in Mount Pearl, the President of Storytellers of Canada – Conteurs du Canada, and a past president of Storytelling St. John’s. 

Chris Brookes

Chris Brookes tells stories with his voice, his keyboard or with his microphone. With a microphone, he is an award-winning independent radio producer whose documentaries have been broadcast around the world. With his keyboard he is a published author and playwright. With his voice, he tells traditional Newfoundland stories and recitations and (regrettably) sometimes sings a little. He seems to be obsessed with narrative, which makes him keep telling stories in one form or another with hopes of one day getting them right. 

Catherine Wright

Catherine Wright is a multidisciplinary artist and arts educator who embraces
playfulness and exploration in her own work and her approach to teaching. She
has a background in storytelling, dance, voice and visual arts, and has presented
at many different events and venues including in schools, galleries, Festival of
New Dance, storytelling festivals, outdoor venues, libraries. Catherine is president
of St John’s Storytelling Inc. and provincial representative for Storytellers of
Canada (SC-CC). 

Josh Goudie

Josh Goudie’s writing has been shortlisted for the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union Fresh Fish Award, the Cuffer Prize for short fiction, and in 2021, he was awarded the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Percy Janes First Novel Award. He has previously published two children’s books Jack and the Hurricane (Breakwater Books), and its sequel, Jack and the Magnificent Ugly Stick (Breakwater Books). This fall, his collection of children’s poetry titled “Where the Crooked Lighthouse Shines” will be published by Breakwater Books. 

Stan Nochasak

Living in St. John’s, but originally from Nain, NL, Nunatsiavut.  Enrolled in the Faculty of Education of MUN, to be a Primary Teacher.  Am a visual artist in pencil drawing (realistic), painting (realistic & abstract whose latter’s theme is ‘spirituality’), also a writer, poet, actor, storyteller and Inuit Drum Dancer!  I am an Uncle 23 times over, love kids, family, community, meeting others, making more limpid friends!  Is a proud Nunatsiavut (“Our Beautiful Land,” in Inuktitut) Inuk, FOREVER!!!! NAKUMMEK (“thank you,” in Inuktitut)! 

Kelly Russell

A professional musician since 1975, Kelly has been a member of landmark groups Figgy Duff, The Wonderful Grand Band, The Plankerdown Band, Bristol’s Hope, Kelly Russell & The Planks and The Irish Descendants. Working closely for many years with legendary fiddlers Rufus Guinchard and Emile Benoit, learning, recording and documenting their unique music, Kelly has inherited genuine status as one of Newfoundland’s leading traditional music performers.

A prominent musical ambassador, Kelly has performed in such countries as England, Ireland, France, Sweden, Denmark, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, Spain, the USA and all across Canada. His own record label, Pigeon Inlet Productions (est. 1979), has released well over 30 full length recordings on LP, Cassette and CD.He has published a 2 Volume Collection of NL fiddle music “Kelly Russell’s Collection”, documenting over 500 tunes in musical notation. Kelly has also taught fiddle to many students, several now successful performers themselves.He has also been active in reviving the art of storytelling and recitation, inspired by his late father, Ted Russell (creator of The Chronicles of Uncle Mose – Tales from Pigeon Inlet). 

Kelly has been awarded the Nfld & Lab Arts Council Award for Music (1987), twice awarded the Tourism Industry Association Certificate of Recognition (1991 & 1997), the prestigious Marius Barbeau Award (1997) for his contribution to Canadian Folklore and the City of St. John’s Legend Award (1999). In March of 2010, Kelly was the first ever recipient of the “Tradition Bearer” designation from the Department of Tourism Historic Commemorations Program. In 2013 Kelly received the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal and is a member of The Order of Canada. In 2021 he received an honorary Doctorate from MUN.

Ellen Power

Raised in St. John’s, Ellen remains connected to the ballad-singing and storytelling traditions of her family in Placentia Bay. She has performed at festivals across Newfoundland, including the March Hare Literary Festival and the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival. Sharing stories and singing songs passed down through generations of Newfoundlanders before her, Ellen uses her voice to keep the old traditions alive.

Derrick Dymond

Derrick is chairperson and a founding member of the Torbay Folk Arts Council, as well as a member of the Torbay Folk Group, and the Killick Folk music group. After watching his good friend Gary Green tell his stories he decided to take part in a storytelling workshop and is hooked. He told his first story as part of the workshop and is now excited to be part of the storytellers circle. Because of the story he told as part of the workshop, an original he wrote himself, he was awarded the Emerging Storyteller Award for Newfoundland and Labrador. As part of the award he has also presented another original story at the Storytellers of Canada Conference in Fredericton, New Brunswick in 2019. He has performed at The Ship Inn as part of The St. John’s Storytelling Festival and performs regularly at the Torbay Folk Arts Council Folk nights and other events in Torbay.

Harry Ingram

Harry Ingram was born and raised in Arnold’s Cove Placentia Bay, or as Ray Guy would call it, “That far greater bay”. Recitations have always been a core element of Harry’s upbringing, which he now performs in various venues. He’s known to appear alongside Dave Paddon, Dave Penney, and Hubert Furey as part of the popular “Stage to Stage” group. He’s also a part of the comedy, recitation duo “The Liar’s Bench Show” with his cohort Ken Parsons. Harry writes his own original material, however, he also enjoys keeping alive the works of greats such as Leo O’Brien, John Joe English and others.

Ken Parsons

Ken Parsons loves Newfoundland Labrador, and it shows in his recitations. Spending summers growing up in Bonavista Bay, he has created “Raisin Arm”, an imaginary Newfoundland Labrador community full of “heart warming stories” and “all kinds of foolishness”. The everyday joys and fun of local culture are always “just down the Arm”. As an accomplished magician, you’re sure to see Ken pull a trick or two out of his sleeve during his stories.

Violet Drake

Violet Drake is a queer, trans, and multiply disabled artist and writer from the coastal community of Lawn on the Burin Peninsula. Now based in St. John’s, her multidisciplinary practice blends life narrative, self portraiture, illustration, and performance through her conceptual framework of trans+corporeal cartographies and existential ecologies. Her work has been exhibited and performed at artist-run centres, galleries, stages, festivals, and classrooms throughout Ktaqmkuk (colonially Newfoundland) including Eastern Edge, St. Michael’s Print Shop, Unscripted Twillingate, LSPU Hall, St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, and Memorial University. Co-author of transVersing, she has recent and forthcoming publications locally and nationally in Riddle FenceUnderstoreyHELDNewest Magazine, and Home Out of It podcast.”

Brian Cherwick

Brian Cherwick is a multi-instrumentalist who has performed throughout North America, Europe, and the Caribbean as a soloist, with a number of folk ensembles, and as leader of the speed-folk band Kubasonics. His solo shows are a fascinating excursion through the world of Ukrainian folk music with a unique blend of entertainment and educational experience, spiced with a healthy dose of humour. A natural extension of his onstage banter, Brian branched out into the world of story-telling and has shared tales at the St. John’s Storytelling Festival and other festivals.


SJS is proud to announce that we have two fabulous videos now available for your viewing pleasure. First up, we have ‘In my Time: Stories from Labrador Elders’. We had our very own Dave Paddon collect these wonderful stories from Labradorians Garland Baikie, Sarah Baikie, Morris Blake, Alex Saunders and Jean Crane. And we had our very own Ken Parsons put together this great video for you to enjoy!

We also are chuffed to announce that we have a second part to this series for your enjoyment, “In My Time: More Stories from Labrador Elders’. It has the same tellers as before, but with new stories for you to hear!

You can find Parts 1 and 2 on the SJS YouTube channel also, as well as on our social platforms.

We thank all of the tellers who shared their stories with us, and both Ken and Dave for making this a reality!

We really hope you enjoy!!!


We have some great news to announce to you today! Some of you may have already watched SJS’s ‘In my time. Stories from Labrador Elders’.

The reaction has been so great that we’ve come up with a Part 2 for you all! It’s the same original 5 tellers (Garland Baikie, Sarah Baikie, Morris Blake, Alex Saunders and Jean Crane) but with different stories this time. We have also re-formatted Part 1, and this will be the standard for further episodes. Both episodes will be available on our SJS YouTube on May 15th as well as here on our St.John’s Storytelling website and our social media platforms.

Here’s a promo for the release and if you’re originally from Labrador some of the scenery might make you a little homesick!

We hope you will tune in and enjoy the videos on May 15!


Mark your calendar, friends – You will NOT want to miss what we have coming up for you!


SJS presents “Storytellers Preserve the Past, Reveal the Present and Create the Future’ hosted by Taffy Thomas MBE!
SJS is hosting a series of three training sessions for you to pick the brains and share the repertoire of the UK’s First Storyteller Laureate, Taffy Thomas. Taffy is keen to pass on his tales and skills, rooted in the oral tradition, after over 50 years professional experience.

Session 1 – June 12, 12-2 pm: Storytellers Preserve the Past – The Storyteller’s Journey
Session 2 – June 19, 12-2pm: Storyteller’s Reveal the Present – The Relevance of Stories
Session 3 -June 26, 12-2 pm: Storytellers Create the Future – Reaping what you Sow

Cost: $60 for all three training sessions.

Space is limited and booking up fast – To sign up, please email us at storytellingstjohns@gmail.com. To find out more about Taffy Thomas, please visit http://www.taffythomas.co.uk/


Our April Story Circle will take place online through Zoom on April 13 at 7:30pm NL Time.

Our fabulous guest host will be Don Dunphy!

As always, we have room only for about 10 to 12 tellers – If you would like to tell a story at our April Circle, please email us at storytellingstjohns@gmail.com to reserve your spot, and I urge you to act quickly, as space fills up fast!

As for anyone wondering how to watch the show, I will be sending out the Zoom link the day of – In order to receive the link, you need to be on our mailing list! If you haven’t done so already, please visit https://www.storytellingstjohns.ca/contact/ to subscribe.

See you all on the 13th!



St. John’s Storytelling invites you to celebrate World Storytelling Day 2022 with us!
Join us March 20 at 3 pm (NL time) for an amazing  Zoom event!
We are proud to announce a fabulous show that features Mara Menzies (UK), Margaret Bennett (UK), Taffy Thomas (UK), Miriam Sheikh (NL), and Santiago Guzman (NL).

To watch the show, you need to be on on our mailing list – If you haven’t done so already, please visit https://www.storytellingstjohns.ca/contact/
You wont want to miss this show, as is it guaranteed to be quite the time!
We will send out the link to the show the day of, and we can’t wait to see you there!

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Join us March 9 at 730 pm (NL time) for an amazing International Women’s Day Story Circle Zoom event!

We are proud to announce a show with all women tellers, featuring Donna Washington (USA), Clara Dugas (NB), Ellen Power (NL) and Shirley Montague (NL). To watch the show, you need to be on on our mailing list – If you haven’t done so already, please visit https://www.storytellingstjohns.ca/contact/.You wont want to miss this show, as is it guaranteed to be quite the time! We will send out the link to the show the day of, and we can’t wait to see you there!


SJS’s Karen Carroll Promotes Her New e-Album in this Month’s Downhome Magazine

Well, what a great article featured in this month’s issue of the Downhome Magazine! Our very own St John’s Storyteller, Karen Carroll, talks of her brand spankin’ new e -album, Molasses and Homemade Bread. Karen gives great insight as to how storytelling became such a big and important part of her life, as well as how her fellow storytellers inspired her.

Well done, Karen! 👏

Check out the article HERE


February Story Circle

Our monthly Story Circle is an open mic event, formerly taking place live at Gower Street United Church and now virtually through Zoom while we navigate through Covid times. Storytellers from Newfoundland, Labrador and other parts of Canada and the world share their stories. True, mythological, fictional, rhyming – all kinds of stories are welcomed! On any given night we enjoy tales that tickle our funny bones, invite us to be contemplative, and remind us of our resilience.

Please e-mail storytellingstjohns@gmail.com if you would like to share a story!

EPISODE 3 of HOME OUT OF IT: Tonic Tales for Troubled Times is out now!

 

On Sept. 29, 7:30 pm Newfoundland Time, join in as Dave Paddon hosts some wonderful tales from The Big Land.

The show features Jean Crane, daughter of Gilbert Blake who guided Mina Hubbard across Labrador in 1905. Jean tells of her family’s role in guiding the Kyle to a safe anchorage at North West River.

Alex Saunders was born in old Davis Inlet and has a lifetime of stories of his own as well as some told to him by previous generations, such as the time an old woman defeated a hungry polar bear.

Sarah and Gilbert Baikie live in Rigolet and have seen many changes. Sarah demonstrates the traditional craft of grass basket-making and Gilbert relates a harrowing hunting trip.

Morris “Pop” Blake lives in North West River and was one of the “Mission Men”. They were a multi talented group of individuals who helped build and maintain the International Grenfell Association station in North West River.

All of storytellers experienced the massive cultural change from the hunter/trapper/gatherer era to the modern wage economy. It wasn’t always easy but they were, and they remain, resilient.

For all you story lovers out there, you won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to tune into these wonderful stories of life in Labrador – from the comfort of your own home.

Click HERE to redirect to the video


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