SJS Festival 2023!

Home SJS Festival 2023!

Well, it’s almost time for our 20th annual SJS Festival! The festival will run from Sept 26 – Oct 1. Please go to our events section for dates and times of shows.

Below you’ll find a list of performers you can catch at this years festival – Its guaranteed to be a wonderful time!



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.


Jodee Richardson is one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most diverse and dynamic performers. A renowned singer/songwriter/actor as well as playwright and sound designer, Jodee enjoys traveling the province writing about the people he meets (or wishes he had). He is wildly flattered and excited to be asked to participate in the 20th anniversary of this wonderful festival and he is already googling what a “story” is. Results may vary! Be afraid…be very afraid.

Kate Story is a genderqueer writer and performing artist originally from Newfoundland, now living and working as an uninvited guest in Nogojiwanong/Peterborough, Ontario. Winner of the Ontario Arts Foundation’s K.M. Hunter Artist Award for theatre, she will be kicking off the Festival of New Dance in September with “Anxiety,” a show about growing up the daughter of a Newfoundland lexicographer, Beowulf, the English language, and the roots of white supremacy. Kate has published 6 novels, including Governor General’s Literary Award finalist Urchin; her debut collection of short stories Ferry Back the Gifts came out this year with Exile Editions. Her climate change story “Animate” has been adapted for an international radio drama and virtual reality theatre performance, performed and broadcast across Europe and at MUTEK in Montréal. She’s thrilled to be appearing as part of the SJS festival!

Ainsley Hawthorn, PhD, is an author and cultural historian who writes about forgotten events, curious folklore, and the surprising connections between past and present. Hawthorn is a columnist for CBC, a blogger for Psychology Today, and a contributor to various publications. She has received a Radio Television Digital News Award for Best Digital Opinion, and her nonfiction anthology Land of Many Shores: Perspectives from a Diverse Newfoundland and Labrador (Breakwater Books) was named one of The Telegram’s Top Ten NL Books of 2021.

Mary Fearon has been performing at festivals and events for over 25 year and is a co-founder of the St. John’s Storytelling Festival and the Newfoundland and Labrador Parent-Child Mother Goose program.  Much of her work centres around telling traditional Newfoundland stories with a particular focus on Jack Tales. She researched and collected traditionally material and co-developed the book Over The Big Fat Waves; A Collection Of Newfoundland & Labrador Rhymes, Songs and Language Games

Louise Profeit- LeBlanc is a member of the Nacho N’yak Dun First Nation of Mayo, in Northeastern Yukon. She is a mother, grandmother and a StoryKeeper. She presently lives in Wakefield, Quebec with her husband Bob. She holds her stories close to her heart and knows that they have a way of healing what needed healing, especially the separation and loneliness for her homeland & family when she first moved south to her new home. “These stories were always with me and when I shared them with my friends and colleagues, I would be transported back home!” Louise comes from a long line of traditional storytellers and her repertoire consists of ancient stories relative to her homeland, as well as her own bundle of personal stories of growing up in her homeland. Her stories depict how the land was made, how her people lived there and how they survived for thousands of years. Many of these stories make reference to how everything in nature exists in balance but more importantly the stories depict morals and teachings of how we all can learn to live harmoniously with each other, while caring for the land, the water and all living things.

Dennis Flynn is a freelance writer/photographer and a storyteller from Colliers, Conception Bay, Newfoundland Labrador, Canada.  He is the author of two books  and over 250 published articles. In 2003 Dennis received a National Writing Award of Excellence from the Canadian Community Newspapers Association and in 2021 Dennis won a Provincial Arts and Letters Award for Visual Art. His photographs and articles have featured in various books, magazines, newspapers, websites, and other publications. As well his images have been selected for numerous art shows, exhibitions, museums, and cultural tourism displays. Dennis has hosted at the St. John’s Story Circle and Festival a number of times and is thrilled to participate in the 2023 edition. This remains one of his favourite events and he is delighted to attend and congratulates all the organizers and participants on the tremendous success promoting storytelling over the years. Dennis is extremely grateful to all who generously assist his photography and writing projects in any way. He is always interested in hearing from anyone with a good story to share or a suggestion for a photograph they’d like to see.

Michelle Clemens is a writer, actor and producer born in St. John’s.  She wrote and produced the comedy, Boomerang at The Barbara Barrett Theatre, in December 2022. Michelle wrote and directed the short film, The Odds of That, which was released May 2023. She has one play, Mummering, Mischief and Murder in early production planning, for December 2023.  She has written two scripts in 2022 for 48 -Hour Film Challenges and is in the development stage for her next short film. Michelle won a Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters in 2023 for Showdown in the Dramatic Script category and for Ready, Aim in the Senior Poetry  category in 2022. Her short story Murder on Milbank won a place at the Memorial University’s /WANL Storytelling event in May of 2021. Her essay, “The Christmas Stocking”, was published in the Writer’s Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador’s E-Zine for December 2021. Michelle has  hosted events for St. John’s Storytelling and has performed her own works The RuinBra Burning and Murder on Milbanke.  She is looking forward to telling her “Jill Tale” for a St. John’s audience as she usually tells the tale to tourists on vacation. She wrote one act plays for the Children’s Theatre company, Zoo & the Moose. 

Tzu-Hao Hsu is a proud Taiwanese Townie who lives in St. John’s with her husband, twin daughters and two beagles. She is a business manager by day and creative soul by night, and regularly chronicles her parenting adventures on social media for stress relief and a laugh.

Jennifer Morgan was born on the doorstep of the Grace General Hospital here in St. John’s (but that’s another story). After fourteen years teaching high-school (and telling stories to keep her students’ attention) Jennifer returned home to become a full-time visual artist. She is honoured to be a part of the St. John’s Storytelling Circle where great stories are shared, and a wonderful audience can be found.

Catherine Wright is a storyteller, multi-arts practitioner and educator living in St John’s and Port Kirwan. She finds joy in sharing folk and fairy tales, ballads, personal narratives and her own imaginative stories inspired by NL experiences. She has presented at schools, festivals, theatres, galleries, outdoor venues and online, for audiences from preschoolers to seniors. Catherine is past president of St John’s Storytelling and provincial representative for Storytellers of Canada (SC-CC).

Addicted to teaching and learning, Jan Buley shares her love for literacies and drama education with teacher candidates at Memorial University’s Faculty of Education. Jan’s Ph.D. from the Steinhardt School, New York University,  examined the assumptions, beliefs and contradictions associated with family engagement in schools. She believes that curiosity and finding beauty are necessary for survival and in her spare time, she adores gardening, storytelling, hiking and writing.  She also believes that some of the best teachers on the planet are 6 and 7 years of age.  Jan has never made a pie that anyone raved about.  She is enormously grateful for the cooking skills of her partner David.  Jan is happily owned by Nellie, a border collie and two really weird cats who wish that the dog would move out.

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.

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 & Homemade Bread, in 2021. Karen was born and raised on the North Shore of Conception Bay in Carbonear, NL. 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. She is the current President of SJS. 

At the age of six, Myles Murphy left his family on Bell Island to be educated at the residential school for the Deaf in Montreal, Quebec. At bedtimes, students shared their visual stories by flashlights. Living so far from their families, these stories were a great comfort to young children missing their homes. Myles is the Executive Director of the Newfoundland & Labrador Association of the Deaf and a recipient of the Order of Newfoundland Labrador. He is a passionate advocate in the preservation of American Sign Language (ASL), Deaf Culture and history. The Deaf Community has many stories unheard by hearing ears. Myles loves to share these stories so people can better understand more about the Deaf.

Daunt Lee is a veteran of the local and Japanese music scenes.  He’s played in a variety of acts from Japanese folk / rock group Quadromoto to the role of straight man for NL songwriter Dave Penny.  He is a versatile acoustic instrument player who has mentored for Young Folk at the Hall, emceed and hosted Folk Night at the Ship, and has no internet at his house, but does have a piano and two accordions.  Daunt can be found most nights around the table at various sessions in St. John’s.

Dave Penny has established himself as a Newfoundland and Labrador comic  songwriter/storyteller, which over the past 25 years has brought him around the  province as well as parts of Ontario, PEI and New England. He chronicles current  events, or makes up stories loosely based on personal experiences or news articles using his unique brand of clever satire.  Whether the issue is localized to Newfoundland and Labrador, such as a state of  emergency following a record snowfall, or a more global issue such as the COVID-19  pandemic, Dave ties them with humourous narrative and catchy melodies. His 2017  release, All Turned Around, was nominated for a MusicNL and a Canadian Folk Music  award for Traditional Artist of the Year. In October 2020, Dave released Chip Wagon  Ahead, another album of original songs, which has been nominated for a MusicNL  award for Celtic/Traditional Artist of the Year. Since 2018 he has been collaborating with multi-instrumentalist Daunt Lee, allowing  Dave to write songs in different formats to add to his already extensive collection.  Together with Daunt they have performed and recorded various folk festivals and small  stage venues, most recently the Diamond House in Glovertown, NL.  Dave lives in St. John’s and continues to write and perform solo and with Daunt Lee and  From Stage to Stage.

Tony Power was born in Branch, St. Mary’s Bay.  His parents Anthony and Mary Power were great storytellers, singers and dancers. Theirs was a special way of life; Tony remembers and tells about life before there was electricity in Branch. Evenings, after school work was finished, the kerosene lamp was lit and his family would sit on the end of the couch, listening to his father tell of the day’s events singing songs – some that were passed down from generations from Ireland; others others more recently composed. His mother told stories from when she lived in Golden Bay – stories of hidden treasure, fairies and ghosts, along with remedies for cuts, nose bleeding and infections. Tony will tell you some of these tales. You don’t believe in them? He just might change your mind!

Ntombizodwa Mercy Muyanga was born in South Africa in Soweto during the Apartheid years. She speaks all 11 official languages. Mercy is a wife and mother to five adult children and a Gramma to two little granddaughters. They came to Newfoundland 2003 for work.  Mercy loves the arts and that includes sharing her culture through storytelling.

Dan Yashinsky is a storyteller, writer, and community animator.  His books include Suddenly They Heard Footsteps – Storytelling for the Twenty-first Century, The Golden Apples, and I Am Full – a read-aloud requiem for Jacob Evan Yashinsky-Zavitz (to be published in winter, 2023).  He has worked as a storyteller-in-residence at Toronto Public Library, The Stop Community Food Centre, and Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care.  Recent projects include collaborations with dance artist Annemarie Cabri on a series of “danced stories”, and developing a documentary film called The Wisdom of Solomon/s.

Storyteller and folklorist Dale Jarvis is the creator and proprietor of the award-winning St. John’s Haunted Hike. Mixing history, humour, and traditional storytelling, Dale has been winning over audiences and throwing in the odd scare since 1997. He is the author of eight books on Newfoundland and Labrador ghost stories, folklore, and quirky local history, and has been featured by a wide variety of local, national, and international media.

Christine Hennebury’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.

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.