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My first childhood memory of storytelling is sitting around a lakeside campfire in Northern Ontario with my family, my Scottish Grandfather illuminated by firelight and silhouetted by stars as he told stories. An enchanting Gaelic brawl rolled through his powerful voice. With that gift in my heart, I have been travelling a storyteller's journey interwoven with world music and dance, with 30 years of artistic collaboration with independent choreographers, dancers, Sign Language Interpreters, musicians, and clowns. As a parent and teacher, I have been telling and teaching around campfires, outdoor bread ovens, kitchen tables, and in classrooms for 25 years. I have performed at international storytelling festivals in Toronto, Vancouver, and Edinburgh. I teach the art and craft of storytelling through the grades to teachers in Canada and abroad. My storytelling repertoire includes Scottish stories, Celtic legends and myths, Greek and Norse myth, folktales from around the world, and traditional and contemporary stories about trees, with a particular focus on strong women and environmental imperatives of respecting each other and our planet. The power of storytelling to open hearts and minds and bring people together continues to inspire me. I'm currently the Artistic Director of the Toronto Storytelling Festival.
photo credit: Jacob Zavitz