Festival 2019

Home Festival 2019


SEPTEMBER 24 – 29, 2019

“Storytelling is an art form and a cultural tradition, but it’s so much more. It’s about connection. A good story transports you to another place and time. It’s an adventure and a delight, and along the way it helps us build empathy and understanding. The Storytelling Festival is invested in preserving local traditions, but we are equally excited about propelling the art of storytelling into the future. Our programming includes recitations, throat singing, and fairy tales alongside poetic soundscapes, string stories, and unique, contemporary voices that are pushing the envelope.”

~Kailey Bryan, Festival Administrator



Blast Off! Festival Launch {7:00 – 9:00 pm} @ The Rocket Room, Rocket Bakery
$10 cash at the door  |  Cash bar

The St. John’s Storytelling Festival is a celebration of all things story! Combining tales, tunes, and even a little magic, the festival features local and visiting tellers with expertise in traditional storytelling. Kick off the festival with visiting teller Sage Tyrtle and local favs Chris Brookes, Randy Crane and host Dave Penny! Tyrtle’s style is a dynamic and compelling mixture of real life experiences and folk tales; Randy Crane brings you through history with often hilarious tales from the Southern Shore of NL, and Dave Penny is renowned for his humourous and often cheeky songs about the affairs of the province, from Chase the Ace to Dark NL. Stick around after the show for delicious nibbles by Rocket and tunes on the concertina from Dave.


Engaging Evenings {7:00 – 8:00 pm} @ The Rooms
Free with admission  |  **this venue is wheelchair accessible

Sage Tyrtle presents an animated mixture of true personal tales and extravagant fairy tales in two back to back performances: “Zablotz: the bullies of Sage’s childhood had no idea they were creating a small but determined superhero” and “Snow Queen in North Korea” – half fairy tale, half real history, what in the world does the Snow Queen have to do with North Korea? Sage’s mix of truth and fiction will warm your heart and have you rolling in the aisles!


Musings: Story & Song {9:00 – 11:00 pm} @ The Ship Pub
$5 cash at the door

Kick up your heels with a mix of story and song at Folk Night! Fabulous musicians from all over Newfoundland and Labrador will regale us with tales and tunes. Featuring Derrick Dymond, Jean Hewson, Ted and Maureen Rowe, and Christina Smith. Hosted by Gerry Strong! Feel like sharing? Hop up during open mic!



Coffee & Culture with Shirley Montague! {2:30 – 3:30 pm} @ The Rooms
Free with admission  |  **this venue is wheelchair accessible

Shirley Montague is a monumental singer and writer with Labrador in her bones. Originally from North West River, Labrador and now based in Norris Point, Newfoundland, she is also the driving force behind the Tales, Trails, and Tunes festival in Gros Morne. Montague is the recent recipient of an honorary degree from Memorial University and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the NL Folk Festival. She is known for taking audiences on an emotional roller coaster ride with humour and introspection that will bring a chuckle, touch your heart, and awaken memories. Shirley will be performing original songs from her extensive catalogue compiled over decades of writing.

Women in Story {7:00 – 8:30 pm} @ the Royal Regatta Boathouse
$15 – tickets available through Eventbrite  |  **This event is wheelchair accessible


An insightful and intimate event featuring monumental NL writers Lillian Bouzane, Helen Fogwill Porter, and Bernice Morgan. Award-winning novels, memoirs, short stories, plays, and poetry by these women have  illuminated Newfoundland histories across generations. Get the stories behind the stories in this warm and wonderful conversation hosted by author and published Marnie Parsons. Snacks and refreshments provided.

Storyteller Social: bring a tale or a tune! {9:00 – 10:30 pm} @ the Royal Regatta Boathouse
Free  |  **This event is wheelchair accessible

Calling storytellers of all ages and stages! Whether you’re an emerging teller or a seasoned performer, come share a lick of a tune or a tale with your contemporaries. Chat about techniques, share advice, and have a laugh along the way.

We adore our audiences, but this one is for tellers only!

Snacks and refreshments provided.



Stories for Kids! {3:30 – 4:30 pm} @ the AC Hunter Children’s Library
Free  |  This venue is wheelchair accessible

Join Storyteller Shayna Jones as she brings to vivid life folktales and fables from around the world. FolkPlay, the Story Show, is a smorgasbord of wise words, rhythm and song – audience participation is lovingly required!

Homespun: Tales From Rural NL {8:00 – 10:00 pm} @ Gower St. United Church lecture hall
$15 cash at the door  |  This venue is wheelchair accessible

Always a festival highlight, join us for warm and wonderful evening of tales and songs woven in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. Throat singing, drumming, story and song come to us from Labrador tellers and musicians Gary Mitchell, and duo Sophie Angnatok and Tabitha Blake. Recitations and tales of small town Newfoundland, past and present, from Karen Carroll, Harry Ingram, and host Dennis Flynn are sure to stir memories and warm hearts.



Telling Compelling Personal Stories: Workshop with Sage Tyrtle {10 am – 12 pm} @ Gower St. United Church lecture hall
$25 cash at the door or e-transfer to storytellingstjohns@gmail.com
**this venue is wheelchair accessible

Please e-mail to register in advance to reserve your spot!

This workshop focuses on high stakes content: a personal story with big emotional investment, relationship, and change, and the mechanics of writing and performing that story with lyricism and investment. We will discuss what makes a strong high stakes story, story structure, editing, the importance of detail, and connecting with the audience. High energy games form a large part of the learning process.


Story Walk {2:00 – 3:30 pm} @ MUN Botanical Gardens
free with admission

Discover tales of enchantment in forests, gardens, ponds and fairy lands along the beautiful trails of the Botanical Gardens. Hosted by Catherine Wright, featuring Mary Lynn Bernard, Shayna Jones (BC), Sharon King-Campbell, Shirley Montague, and emerging tellers. A fun event for the whole family! In the event of rain stories will take place inside the Botanical Garden building.

Tales From Near & Afar {8 – 10 pm} @ Gower St. United Church lecture hall
$15 cash at the door  |  **This venue is wheelchair accessible

Catch the big finale show of the 16th annual St. John’s Storytelling Festival, with a powerhouse lineup of the very best local and visiting storytellers. It’s a riveting night of tales and song from Uganda to British Columbia, from St. John’s to the fictional Newfoundland town of Raisin Arm. Old classics meet new ones: traditional Newfoundland tales like Peg Bearskin bump up against true tales from childhood in Uganda; African folk tales dance alongside songs that pour out love for the landscapes of Newfoundland and Labrador. A star studded lineup featuring Andy Jones, Shayna Jones (BC), Grace Okwera, Ken Parsons, and Sage Tyrtle (ON). Hosted by Shirley Montague.



FAMILY SHOW with Shayna Jones & Sage Tyrtle {1:30 – 2:30 PM} @ Lee York Kids
$8/adult, $5/child or $20/family  |  Ages 6+  |  **This is a wheelchair accessible venue

Travel around the world with folk tales for the whole family! Shayna Jones and Sage Tyrtle are fun, high energy performers with lots of rhythm. Listen in awe to tales of creatures and from far away lands, and cheer on strong and brave kids who are the superheros of their stories! You’ll be singing and clapping along before you know it!

CANCELLED – YOUTH WORKSHOP with Shayna Jones {3:00 – 4:30 PM} @ Lee York Kids
$15/person, ages 10+  |  **This is a wheelchair accessible venue

Unfortunately this workshop has been cancelled.

Our visiting tellers for 2019

The St. John’s Storytelling Festival is thrilled to be hosting visiting tellers Shayna Jones (BC) and Sage Tyrtle (ON)  alongside the kind of high caliber local talent you’ve come to expect.

Photo credit: Louis Bockner

Shayna Jones, founder of We Are StoryFolk , is a professionally trained and passionate performing artist. With professional credits as an actor, singer, and dancer, she imbues her work as a Storyteller with craftsmanship, and precision. She trained at Trinity Western University (Langley, BC), apprenticed with Pacific Theatre (Vancouver), and has performed with the Arts Club Theatre Company, Stone’s Throw Productions, and the University of British Columbia to name a few. She has honed her skills working with acting and vocal coaches, performance workshops, and hours of dance instruction of various forms. As a Storyteller, her performance credits include regional festivals; regional library districts; elementary schools; highschools, community events, summer camps, private functions , and more!

Sage Tyrtle is a professional storyteller who tells stories all over the world (most recently in India). She has taught The Art of Storytelling at Second City and Seneca College. Her stories have been featured on NPR and CBC radio. She is a Moth StorySlam winner.

Shirley Montague – Originally from Labrador, and having resided in Norris Point/Gros Morne for most of her life, it is no wonder that Shirley’s writings are filled with nature’s imagery. Through recordings and performances, she has reached into the hearts and homes of many. Her songs are stories in and of themselves. Her song introductions take the audience on a path of musical adventure that includes culture, history, landscape and more.

Shirley is the founder of the annual Trails Tales Tunes Festival and she continues to be very involved in the growing arts and culture scene in the Gros Morne region. She still makes time for performing, and particularly enjoys making music with others.