News and Events

Guelph Guild of Storytellers 2023 Year End Report

Below is the End of Year Report for 2023, from the Guelph Guild of Storytelling.

While cognizant of clichés, 2023 has been a stellar year for the Guelph Guild of Storytellers.

Our two major events have seen successes unequaled in the past, with promises of an even better 2024.

Tea ‘n’ Tales, our major summer event was held over 13 weeks at the Guelph Enabling Garden in Riverside Park, with 28 tellers, and an audience ranging from a rainy day 64 to close to 200. The extra performance on Canada Day, featuring James Gordon and Robert Munsch, drew an unheard-of crowd of 750, including our MP, Lloyd Longfield as well as several other local politicians. At each of these performances, audience members were treated to a free coffee’ courtesy of a local business.

Also, the use of prelude performances was expanded to all 14 of the above events, ranging from professional instrumentalists and vocalists to indigenous drummers and local choral clubs.

It ahs – and will continue to be – an honour to have co-founded this event and, as host and organizer, watched it grow from humble beginnings to the success it has become over the last 15 years,.

Three Family Day Saturdays were added, with tellers from the previous day, as well as performances on each of those Saturdays by the Guild’s patron, Robert Munsch. Such is his continued popularity that the three sessions brought crowds of 180, 700 and in excess of 1,000 people, many of whom endured a long line-up to have Munsch sign books after the performance. Sya VanGeest is to be commended for her creation and organizing of these three events.

From January until May, and then again from October until December, Tales from the Hill has continued every second Thursday evening at the Guelph Civic Museum. Highlighting mainly our local members of the guild, we were often entertained by guest tellers. Again, Robert Munsch has been a regular teller at each of these performances. The evening is arranged so that there is time for the audience to chat with the tellers and each other before and after the programme. In November and December, the evening has been reconfigured to allow for a brief intermission to be scheduled. Again, these evenings have been organized by Sya VanGeest.

After a hiatus of almost two decades, By Word of Mouth, a local celebration of World Storytelling Day, was resurrected with another special performance at the Civic Museum, featuring local tellers, along with guests Sarah Abushar and Norman Perrin, along with Robert Munsch. A ticketed event, it was sold out with a waiting list.

The museum also arranged a week of activities for local schools that included tellers as part of the programme.

The Guelph Public Library, Main Branch, hosted three tellers for a seasonal telling.

We welcomed a new member to our Steering Committee in Larry Gibbs, as well as several non-telling volunteers.

To close, we must thank the personnel at the Guelph Civic Museum for their willingness to accommodate us, and for including Guild members in their programmes.

Tea ‘n’ Tales would not be possible without the cooperation, support and active participation of Trevor Barton and his team at the Guelph Enabling Garden. Not only is Trevor our go-to person in applying for grants for the festival but is the steadfast coffee man every Friday.

Nor would it have happened without the many tellers, generous with their time, who came to be part of this wonderful event on the banks of the River Speed.

Our sponsors, whose contributions allow us to provide tellers with a gift bag include the Woolwich Arms Pub, Borealis Group, Royal City Brewery, Downtown Merchants Association, and Roothams Jams.

Our thanks also to Exhibition Park magazine for featuring stories and reminders of our programmes, along with Guelph Today, Vocamus Writing Community, and CBC (both Kitchener and Toronto) for their features and reminders.

And to Councillor Phil Allt, for his unwavering support of the Tea ‘n’ Tales festival as a positive programme for the area seniors.

Here’s to a wonderful 2024. I can “tell” that it will be.

Brian Holstein
Guelph Guild of Storytellers.

Forgot password?