News and Events
Highlights from the ST. JOHN’S STORYTELLING FESTIVAL
The St. John’s Storytelling Festival has just wrapped another year – and boy have we outdone ourselves! The mix of local and visiting tellers was so varied and so dynamic, bringing together people from all walks of life to celebrate the art of story.
Visiting tellers Anne Glover and Shoshana Litman journeyed from British Columbia to bring their wholly unique storytelling styles to the East Coast. Glover stunned crowds and transformed groups of adults into enthusiastic, giggling children with her see-it-to-believe-it string stories. Shoshana Litman told tales from all over the world with a consistent message: peace and connection. She drew audiences up into songs that are still resonating with us now. Inuk storyteller Ashley Savard stepped off an Adventure Canada cruise boat and right onto the stage with age-old Inuit tales meant to spook children away from dangerous or mischievous behaviour. And Innu elder and celebrated environmental activist Elizabeth Penashue drew huge crowds to listen to her speak about life and love of nutshimit. Her stories of hunting, cooking, and connecting with family on the land and her tales of inspiring women to stand up for their rights and culture were breathtaking and deeply compelling.
These inspiring tellers were surrounded by local talent, including the renowned recitations of Dave Paddon, a fresh take on ‘fishy’ from poet Daze Jefferies, and a contemporary twist on throat singing from Inuk storyteller Tama Fost that blew the audience away. Folk Night gave us Ships at The Ship, our annual partnered event with the Folk Arts Society, where we heard tales of spirited sirens, sombre stories of the Florizel shipwreck, and an hilarious fable about a man who buys a cow from the Devil. The week was replete with workshops, family events, solo and group performances, and open mics. We even had a special night of Ghost Tales in the crypt-like atmosphere of the Newman Wine Vaults, where Charis Cotter and Dale Jarvis really gave us chills!
This year’s festival was truly a magnificent melange of styles and content. Tradition, innovation, activism, and adventure were all under the spotlight. We can’t wait to see what next year brings!