The festival is upon us!

OCTOBER 9 – 14

After months of planning, we’re just a day away from the start of our Festival and we are so excited to get the stories going.

As always, we look forward to welcoming our story circle regulars and some special guests for our week of stories. We’re thrilled by every single teller who is joining us and we’d like to extend a special welcome to some of our visiting tellers and people who are participating the Festival for the first time:

Anne Glover (BC) will be sharing some of her string stories with us,  Shoshana Litman (BC), Canada’s first Maggidah (Jewish Storyteller and Teacher), will be here to bring us some participatory stories and songs. And we’re welcoming to the stage some new local talent as well! Daze Jeffries has a folklore, music, and trans activism background and will be telling in a non-traditional, poetic format; Gaurav Madan, who has come by way of Montreal and Kingston but was raised in New Delhi, India will be evoking the sights, sounds and smells of places far removed from our chilly Fall evenings. And teller Tama Fost will be combining storytelling and throat singing like you’ve never heard it before…

…and that’s just the beginning of the variety of stories and tellers you’ll see at this year’s Festival!

Are you wondering how all of those styles and ideas will blend?

The answer is that they will blend PERFECTLY. It happens EVERY time.

We just love the way all of the tellers mix during our Festivals. It doesn’t matter whether they are meeting for the first time or if they have known each other for years, their passion for storytelling lets them find common ground and encourage each other.

Have you ever watched a storyteller relish another teller’s stories? It’s incredible to see. It might be that they have heard this story develop through various retellings, so they know all the ins and outs and enjoy the familiarity of the tale. Or this story or style might be new to them and they enjoy it both for the novelty and for the skill involved in telling it. If you watch a teller listen to someone else share a story, you’ll see smiles of recognition, sparks of surprise, and nods of appreciation because storytellers can admire the craft even as they get caught up in the tale.

The fun of seeing tellers immerse themselves in each others’ stories is just one of the joys of of the Festival for us. Another thrill is seeing the audience get carried away by a story.

When everyone first sits down, they get to chatting and there is a friendly buzz in the room but once the tellers get started a certain wonderful quiet falls. It’s almost like the room falls under a gentle spell and you can see everyone smiling, nodding, jumping in surprise together as the storyteller’s magic takes hold. Bringing that sort of ‘caught in the moment’ peace to a group of people is one of the reasons storytellers enjoy their work, and it’s definitely one of the reasons we host the Festival.

Another joy of hosting this festival comes from seeing all kinds of people jump into the fun and challenge of our Festival workshops. New tellers taking their first brave steps towards the stage, established tellers gathering new threads to weave into their tales, teachers, youth group leaders, actors, writers, and all kinds of others trying out some new techniques for their own work, and on then, the workshop leaders cheering them all on – it’s just amazing to be part of the whole thing.

We hope to see you this week, in the audience, on the stage or in a workshop, and we hope you enjoy our Festival just as much as we do!

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