2018 Teller Bios
GET TO KNOW OUR TELLERS FOR THE 2018 ST. JOHN’S STORYTELLLING FESTIVAL!
Angus Andersen is an storyteller, activist, artist, and radio host who is passionate about his Inuit heritage and history and advocates to preserve the language through various community activities. Angus tells regularly at the St. John’s Storytelling Festival monthly story circle. There, he tells stories of his youth in the Torngat Mountains, along with stories from his parents and grandparents. As a soapstone carver, he teaches carving workshops at the St. John’s Tool Library where he helps beginners learn the old school style carving (hack-saw, files and sandpapers). His artwork can be found on his Facebook page “Andersen Arts”. As an activist, Angus began speaking publically against the Muskrat Falls Hydro Electric project when then Premier Danny Williams was pushing the project. He stands proudly with the Labrador Land Protectors and Grand River Keepers, and has created what he calls “Muskrat falls Water Bottles” which he presents to politicians and asks if they would drink water containing Methylmercury. Angus also hosts St. John’s first ever 100% Aboriginal radio show broadcasted throught MUN Radio CHMR. NunaKakKaasimajut, the award winning show can be heard in Canada, Greenland and USA. His “Inuk Word of The Day” on Twitter has passed the 1,000 following mark. There he writes an Inuk word, its translation, a definition or examples along with English phonetic words for beginners to learn how to say the Inuik words properly.
You can find out more about Angus Andersen throught CBC web page, VOCM web page and also in the newspaper The evening Telegram.
Karen Carroll was born and raised in Carbonear, on the north shore of Conception Bay. She enjoys writing and performing recitations and stories, usually in some kind of costume. A retired Registered Nurse, Karen lives in Logy Bay with her husband and her Newfoundland dog. She is a proud mother and grandmother.
Charis Cotter is an award-winning children’s author and storyteller who grew up beside a cemetery and has been living with ghosts ever since. Her first novel, The Swallow: A Ghost Story, won the Violet Downey Book Award. Her second novel, The Painting, won the 2018 Ann Connor Brimer Atlantic Canadian Children’s Literature Award. The Ferryland Visitor: A mysterious tale, with artwork by Gerry Squires, is based on a true ghost story experienced by Squires and his family when they lived at an abandoned lighthouse in the 1970s. Her most recent novel, The Ghost Road, was released September 4, 2018.
Over the years, Charis has been encouraging students to collect traditional Newfoundland ghost stories from their communities. Sponsored by ArtsSmarts, she has published two books of ghost stories written and illustrated by students in Little Heart’s Ease and Bay de Verde.
October 2018 will mark the Tenth Anniversary of her annual Ghost Tour of Newfoundland schools. Charis has also taken her performances of Newfoundland ghost stories across Canada and to Seaside, Florida.
Marion Counsel grew up on Red Island, Placentia Bay. She was a teenager when her family resettled in the town of Placentia during the “Resettlement Program” of the 1960’s.
Marion has written many recitations, stories and songs about these experiences, mainly as a keepsake for her son Michael, but also, to help preserve her memories of out port life in Newfoundland and Labrador.
She has compiled her work and created “Red Island – Resettlement Girl” and has performed it in many venues on the Avalon Peninsula
Randy Crane is a singer, songwriter, actor and storyteller. He performs in the Southern Shore Folk Arts dinner theatre. This summer he introduced his one man play “A Deadly Night”. He is a regular at the Song Circle and the Storytelling Circle and will be performing in Truump, The Musical this fall and will be acting in a play about the sinking of the cruise ship Florizel at the LSPU this spring.
Randy released a CD of original music in 2016, titled Stories Told and raised $12000.00 for the Janeway Children’s Hospital.
Chris Driedzic is a muli-disciplinary artist who grew up in New Brunswick, schooled in Quebec and settled in St. John’s with his Newfoundland wife to make art, raise kids and renovate a historic trunk factory into their home and studio. His work has a joie de vivre that engages and amuses audiences. He has rock ’n’ rolled on the stages of the St. John’s pubs, composed for dance and written and performed for the theatre in both french and english. Chris is most delighted by his last fifteen years of work creating cross-curricular art projects with hundreds of children through the ArtsSmarts program. These days you can find him developing interactive theatre pieces for Provincial Historic Sites of Newfoundland and Labrador, or sharing the history and stories of Cape Spear with Parks Canada. After decades of carrying on and holding court at parties, Chris is happy to finally get to share a tale for the Storytelling Festival.
Storyteller Mary Fearon has been performing professionally since 1997. Mary has performed at festivals and events across the country and has been funded through a variety of provincial and federal funding agencies to develop her art. She has facilitated workshops for children and adults from St. John’s to Australia and places in between. Mary has worked in provincial schools telling traditional stories and working with students to develop their own style of storytelling. This process has included telling their stories through spoken word, shadow puppets, hand puppets and murals reflecting their interpretation of the story. She traveled the province collecting material that was traditionally used and co-developed a book “Over The Big Fat Waves; A Collection Of Newfoundland & Labrador Rhymes, Songs and Language Games”. Mary has a particular love for traditional Newfoundland material and how Jack fits into the story, how they reflect our distinct culture and the connection they have to stories told in other parts of the world.
Tama Fost is first generation urban Inuk, born and raised in St. John’s. She is a proud mother of her eleven year old boy who has been throat singing since he was a baby. She completed a Bachelor of Arts (English and Aboriginal Studies) in 2013; prior to joining the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre team, she was employed for five years with Nunatsiavut Government, and was an electoral candidate in the 2017 by-election for the Ordinary Member (Canadian Constituency) of the Nunatsiavut Assembly. With a strong passion for Inuit culture, language and traditions, Tama is honoured to facilitate Inuit specific programming as well as cultural support to all community members.
It started with a comical tale about raisin bread, baked in an outport kitchen… without raisins. Today, Hubert Furey has been more surprised than anyone by what has followed for him. The outpouring of interest for his recitations about rural life in yesteryear Newfoundland and Labrador led to a full-length recording of stories. Concerts, live theatre performances, television and radio appearances promoting recitations, and the resurgence of the art form have been a delight for this former district superintendent of education and lifetime Harbour Main resident. Hubert and his wife, Eleanor, have five children and six grandchildren. The Most Perfect Gift is his second book. His first, As the Old Folks Would Say, earned critical acclaim .
Anne Glover has made her living as a performer for most of her adult life. From Tofino to Tokyo, Hamilton to Honolulu, she enthralls audiences of all ages with her unique storytelling style and her unforgettable string figures. Anne returns to performing after stepping aside for 4 years to work as a full-time classroom teacher.
A natural communicator, Anne followed her love of languages and studied linguistics and languages at the University of Toronto, then Université Laval in Quebec City. She ended up teaching English as a second language to adults in Quebec, and happened into performing because she enjoyed telling stories to keep her students awake during class. When she moved to the west coast in the 1980’s, she widened her audience and began telling stories for children. She toured for several years with musician David Kaetz before finding her footing as a solo performer in 1998. Since then, she has toured extensively in Canada, the US, and more recently Japan and Hawaii.
String figures are always a component of Anne’s show. They add a visual, low-tech dimension which is appealing to all ages and all “listening” styles. Anne learned a few basic string figures as a child, but it wasn’t until her late teens that she realized there are string figures all over the world, and they have been an important part of many indigenous cultures for thousands of years. Anne has observed the power of string figures to teach, create community, improve reading, inspire all ages and on occasion drive teachers and parents crazy. Anne frequently sees an enthusiastic, cooperative, all-ages tangle of strings after her programs.
In addition to entertaining in schools, theatres, festivals and folk clubs, Anne leads workshops and speaks at educational and parenting conferences. She has been a mentor to several teachers on the art of integrating storytelling across the curriculum.
Gary Green is a storyteller and author who has performed both inside and outside the province for a variety of groups ranging from youth camps to international conferences. Among the groups for which he has performed are the Gros Morne Fall Fest, Cape St. Mary’s Performance Series, Battle Harbour Historic Trust, Canadian National Storytelling Conference, Admiralty House Museum, Labrador Creative Arts Festival, St. John’s Folk Festival and Trails, Tales and Tunes. Gary has performed on television as part of the series “Legends and Lore of the North Atlantic” and on several radio stations. He has performed in the international award winning productions “Inside Outside Battery” and “Foghorns and Heartbreak”. Gary has been a consultant for the use of storytelling in the interpretation of the Battle Harbour National Historic Site, the Point Amour Lighthouse Provincial Historic Site and is very active in developing and delivering a story-based interpretation of The Crow’s Nest Officers’ Club National Historic Site. He has been a board member of the St. John’s Storytelling Festival, and a founding board member of the Soundbone Traditional Arts Foundation. Gary teaches storytelling at the annual Vinland Music Camp.
LYNN HAMILTON MCSHANE
In Lynn’s family they have a saying: “What comes by nature, costs no money.” She’s got a university background in English Literature and spent her career working in non-profit management, but Lynn grew up listening to stories and came to love history, heritage, culture, and folklore almost by osmosis. Whether it was hearing the stories of one grandfather mining for iron ore two miles beneath Conception Bay; or the other grandfather walking 60 miles to St. John’s for a berth at the seal fishery after serving as a rescuer at the tragic wreck of the S.S. Florizel; whether it was her social services officer father delivering a baby in the back seat of a car on the Great Northern Peninsula in the early 60s, or her mother regaling the family with the time she lit a prayer book on fire with a candle in Mass – Lynn always knew the value of a good story. Before she returned to her beloved Newfoundland, she was Manager of Volunteer Resources for 13 years at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, AB, thriving on engaging people and communities by weaving together history and the stories of long ago in order to tell tales for the present and to preserve them for the future. Her love for community engagement continues with her work as a Director with the St. John’s Mummers Festival, where she revels in memories of mummering with her huge family in Renews on the Southern Shore. Surrounded by wit, enveloped in laughter, and steeped in the ties of the past, Lynn’s nature for telling a yarn cost no money whatsoever, and is one of her passions. She can’t wait to participate in her very first Storytelling Festival.
Christine Hennebury has been telling stories every since her four year old self crafted a spectacular lie to explain how the couch got wet – it was definitely not because she had spilled the bubbles that she wasn’t supposed to have in the living room. Nowadays, more of her stories are true…or at least they have truth in them. She is especially fond of tales of vengeful goddesses or women with attitude, and she loves to tell stories that turn out just a bit differently than you were expecting.
Christine is a former president of the St. John’s Storytelling Festival and she is the founder and chair of the Association for the Arts in Mount Pearl. In addition to her flair for storytelling, she is also a writer and a creativity coach.
Daze Jefferies is a multidisciplinary artist, poet, and Master of Gender Studies Candidate at Memorial University with interests in trans health, sex work, queer archives, and emotional geographies. Her ongoing critical-creative work explores trans-species (fishy) histories, poetics, and subjectivities in K’taqamkuk/Newfoundland.
DALE GILBERT JARVIS
Dale Gilbert Jarvis is a storyteller and professional folklorist. By day, he is the provincial folklorist for Newfoundland and Labrador. By night, he is the proprietor of the St. John’s Haunted Hike ghost tour, and raconteur of local tales. Dale tells ghost stories, stories of the fairies and little people, tales of phantom ships and superstitions, and legends and traditional tales from Newfoundland, Labrador and beyond. His repertoire includes long-form folk and fairy tales, with a wide-ranging knowledge of local legends, tall tales, and myths.
Former newspaper columnist and author of several books on island folklore, he is a tireless promoter of local culture and oral history.
Eugene Kane is a fisherman from Renews on the southern shore where he raised his four children with his wife Beverly of 38 years. He has had the opportunity to tell his stories on all sorts of occasions in his hometown. Eugene toured the island as a member of the fishermen’s choir Folk of the Sea, and as well as with the play “bound in shallows”. He also performed at the national arts Center in Ottawa and the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. Eugene is the son of Tom Kane who was one of the rescuers at wreck of the Florizel.
Sharon King-Campbell is a storyteller, writer and theatre artist based in St. John’s. She is delighted to appear in her third St. John’s Storytelling Festival and has worked as an actor with companies across Newfoundland. Recent performances include Women Playing Hamlet (PerSIStence Theatre), Brazil Square (Girl Power), Fuddy Meers (Best Kind Productions), Looking, Spamalot!, and Tales of Ti-Jean (Stephenville Theatre Festival). Sharon was the 2017 recipient of the Rhonda Payne Award. Her solo show, original (PerSIStence/skc originals) will play at the LSPU Hall in November 2018.
Peter spent 31 years as a professional educator in a variety of schools on the Avalon Peninsula, serving as a classroom teacher, a social studies consultant and a school administrator. In addition he served, for 2 years, as school principal in Igluligarjuk, Nunavut.
Peter plays hockey in an adult recreational league, is a loyal Montreal Canadiens hockey fan, rides a Gold Wing, is a novice accordion player, as well as, an enthusiastic participant in traditional Newfoundland dances such as the lancers.
When called upon, he has been known to do a recitation, play a tune, sing a song or tell a story… or two or more. Peter grew up in a household “around the bay” in Cupids, C. B. at a time when storytelling in the kitchen was part of the evening routine – an endearing exchange of give and take – a place where one learned to both “take the floor” and be “quiet as a mouse” for fear of being banished from the storytelling session. While he loves to spin a personal yarn, he is also an avid listener, and loves to provide opportunities for those in group gatherings to become engaged by sharing stories/anecdotes/songs/poems.
When you meet him his pride in this place we call “home” and in “the people who live here” will become both evident and contagious.
Shoshana Litman has told insightful tales to audiences of all ages since 1997. She became Canada’s first ordained Maggidah (Jewish storyteller and teacher) in 2008, highlighting universal truths through participatory stories and songs.
Shoshana performs regularly in BC and has participated at many festivals and story events including TALES: The Alberta Storytelling Festival in May 2017, the Forest Storytelling Festival in Port Angeles in 2016, the Nelson Storytelling Festival in 2013, the TD Canadian Childrens’ Book Week Festival in Montreal in 2012, and a tour in New Zealand in 2013. Please visit www.maggidah.com for more information.
During the festival, Shoshana will be featured at various storytelling events, will visit schools and will conduct two workshops, the first for adults and the second aimed at youth.
Gaurav was born and raised in New Delhi, India, where he spent Nearly 25 years of his life before leaving in search of himself. He is a storyteller, writer, Global Peace Ambassador and loves to run ultramarathons. Still fresh in Newfoundland for his Graduate Research in Ocean Sciences and Climate Change at Memorial University, he has performed in Delhi, Montreal, Toronto and Kingston, that includes Montreal Intercultural Storytelling Festival. A facilitator for meditation and self-exploration workshops, he started his storytelling journey while running across the Indian subcontinent in pursuit of wisdom and sharing compassion. He shares all true stories from his life as a spiritual adventurer, researcher, and a kid who has refused to grow up.
Fergus O’Byrne is widely acclaimed for his musical legacy, as a member of Ryan’s Fancy, Tickle Harbour, his long time partnership as a duo with Jim Payne, his appearances with his son Fergus Brown-O’Byrne and as a solo artist. He proudly celebrates the songs and stories of his adopted province, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Ireland, England, Scotland and the Maritimes in his performances. He has received many awards acknowledging his contribution to folk music including an ECMA Lifetime Achievement Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Folk Arts Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, and an NLAC Arts in Education award. Besides touring nationally and internationally, he works extensively mentoring young folk music enthusiasts and students throughout the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Dave Paddon is a retired airline pilot originally from Northwest River, Labrador. He grew up listening to the songs and stories of the trappers and attending many a late night “session” around many a kitchen table. In 1986 he married a Gander girl and subsequently became immersed in Island culture. As a result he accumulated a store of material which suddenly bubbled to the surface when he and Kim returned to Newfoundland and Labrador in 2005 after 20 years upalong. He wrote his first recitation in 2007 and has now written 25. Five of these have been published in handmade chapbooks and his work is available on a CD or through electronic download. His recitation “Ralph:Flying Hound” was recently released as an illustrated children’s book.
Dave lives in St.John’s and is a regular at festivals and fundraisers throughout the province.
From Notre Dame Bay, Newfoundland, Jim Payne is a leading performer, collector and producer of traditional Newfoundland music. One of the province’s most prolific songwriters, he is also a singer, storyteller, writer, actor, step dancer and traditional dance instructor. He has performed extensively on radio and television in Canada and abroad, and toured throughout North America, the US, Europe, Japan and Australia.
An ECMA award winner, Jim owns and operates the largest traditional music record company in eastern Canada. SingSong Inc. has released 31 titles featuring traditional and contemporary music that reflects the Newfoundland experience, including recordings by legendary traditional musicians as well as contemporary folk and traditional artists.
He is a veteran of Rising Tide Theatre’s annual REVUEs, one third of the musical comedy act, Wicked Altogether with Pete Soucy (Snook) and Fergus O’Byrne, and a member of the traditional music group, A Crowd of Bold Sharemen. He is a past recipient of the NL Arts Council’s Arts In Education and Outstanding Cultural Achievement Awards, and a Cultural Tourism Award from the provincial Dept. of Tourism and the federal Dept. of Canadian Heritage. He teaches at the MUN School of Music, and, for the past several years has toured oil installations on the Grand Banks during Christmas week with musical partner Fergus O’Byrne. In 2011, Jim was one of five world musicians, and the only one from North America, invited to a symposium in Kagoshima, Japan, on writing contemporary music and song that becomes part of local traditions.
Jim is also an adventurer who has circumnavigated the island of Newfoundland more than 20 times, sailed through the Northwest Passage and back, and travelled widely throughout the Canadian and Scandinavian Arctic, including Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard. He has also crossed the Drake Passage between Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica several times to travel to the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.
In 2016, Jim was inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council’s Hall of Honour, and in 2017 was presented with the Stompin’ Tom Connors Award by the East Coast Music Association for a long history of contributions to the music industry. He was also a guest presenter at a symposium on the cultural connections between Newfoundland and England in Devon, England while touring the UK.
TSHAUKUESH (ELIZABETH) PENASHUE
Born into a nomadic family, Elizabeth Penashue learned to write in Innu-aimun as a child and began keeping diaries systematically in the 1980s during the Innu campaign against NATO low level flying and weapons testing on Innu land. She is well known in Nitassinan as well as nationally and internationally as a cultural and environmental activist. For many years she led an annual weeks-long spring walk on traditional Innu hunting trails and a summer canoe trip on the Mishta-Shipu to teach people about Innu culture and respect for the land. Elizabeth’s work has been recognized by a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, an honorary doctorate from Memorial University and, most recently, a Labradorians of Distinction award. She has featured in numerous film and radio interviews and profiles, newspaper and magazine articles and consultations, including testifying before the International Human Rights Tribunal in the Hague and speaking at Harvard University. She recently completed a book based on her diaries, stories and essays (forthcoming from the University of Manitoba Press) and she continues to speak publicly about environmental, cultural and human rights issues. She states: “I don’t like to walk on pavement. I want to be connected to the earth, to feel the moss and the forest floor beneath my feet. I believe the spirits of those who have gone before us are still there in nutshimit and I have a responsibility to them. I will never give up my work, which is to protect the animals, the trees, the children, everything in the circle of life.
A professional musician since 1975, Kelly has been a member of landmark groups Figgy Duff, The Wonderful Grand Band, The Plankerdown Band, The Irish Descendants Working closely for many years with legendary fiddlers Rufus Guinchard and Emile Benoit, learning, recording and documenting their music, Kelly has inherited genuine status as one of Newfoundland’s leading traditional music performers. Kelly performs his solo show Tunes & Tales of Pigeon Inlet weekly in summer at The Crow’s Nest in St. John’s. He has been designated the Province’s first Tradition Bearer, awarded The Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal and named to The Order of Canada.
Ashley Savard is a Inuk artist & storyteller from Iqaluit, Nunavut. Having grown up in such a rich
storytelling culture, Ashley has always know the importance of sharing stories and most
importantly, preserving traditional Inuit legends and myths that have been passed down orally for hundreds of years. Ashley has completed the acting essential program at Vancouver Film School and has done storytelling and acting workshops at the Labrador Creative Arts Festival 2017. Ashley has a passion for all mediums of storytelling, she is an aspiring film maker and is in the early stages of making her first short film.
Catherine Wright is a multidisciplinary artist and storyteller from St. John’s, NL where she works as a performer, arts educator and creator of works on silk. Catherine tells a variety of stories including folk and fairy tales, personal stories and her own imaginative tales. Her performances often interweave storytelling with movement/dance and song. She enjoys stories for their ability to transport, inform, entertain, transfix… They remind us of commonalities and help break down boundaries, allow us to be in the moment while taking us to another time and place. Catherine has presented independently and in collaboration with storytellers, dancers, musicians at many community events, festivals and venues (outdoors, galleries, theatres, libraries…) for a range of audiences from preschoolers to seniors.
For many years, Catherine has been a versatile arts educator. She has conducted diverse projects and has toured to provincial schools. She was recipient of Memorial University’s Arts in Education Award for 2016, administered by ArtsNL.
Catherine is NL provincial representative for Storytellers of Canada and President of the St. John’s Storytelling Festival.
YOUNG TELLERS 2018
Julianne Taylor is a Grade 6 student at St. Mary’s Elementary. She enjoys playing the piano, singing, dancing and basketball. She has appeared in Kittiwake’s “The Nutcracker,” Peter MacDonald Productions’ “Oliver,” and Best Kind Productions’ “How Do You Get to Jellybean Row?”
Benjamin Wright is 11 year old member of an artistic family. He has enjoyed stories from a very young age, loves imaginative play and pursuits. He performed at SJSF’s Young Tellers event in 2016, and at the Botanical Gardens Story Walk in 2017. He enjoys nature, fencing classes, working with clay, and playing saxophone.