SC-CC Conference in Newfoundland
by Kim Kilpatrick
I loved my time in Newfoundland. Every storytelling conference
is unique and showcases the community in which it takes
place. Newfoundland was no exception. I especially enjoyed
Alice Lannon (not sure of spelling) a wonderful, lively,
woman in her eighties who charmed us with real Newfoundland
folk tales. I loved the fact that storytellers from other
lands joined us including tellers from England, Wales, Scotland,
Denmark, Israel, South Africa, and the United States. It
was fascinating to talk with them, take their workshops,
hear them at story swaps, and get to know what storytelling
is like in their home countries. I especially enjoyed the
workshop with Jim May about personal story and myth, and
the ballad singing workshop with Anita Best who will be
performing at our upcoming festival. It was wonderful to
meet and reacquaint myself with amazing storytellers from
all across Canada. I learned a great deal and continue to
be grateful to be a part of such a warm, friendly, and interesting
community. I encourage anyone to join SC-CC and to go to
a conference whenever possible.
(for another review of the conference see Mary Wiggins'
letter on page 7)
Storyteller invited into the classroom
from Sherly Elaine Brazeau
The JK/SK teacher I have been working with for going on
7 years now has asked me next year to teach the senior kindergarten
children (SK's) the fundamentals of storytelling as they
are expected to tell stories themselves in Grade 1 - Progress
- being faithful and just showing up and supporting the
teacher in whichever way she has needed has built up a trust
in my gifts as a storyteller - yea - early literacy and
storytelling yea. I will be there on Mondays to help her.
... this is my volunteer opportunity in my community to
the children in my neighbourhood as well as to the teachers
at my neighbourhood school - a number of whom are from poor
and immigrant children.
Kurt Vonnegut may be
known for some very strange novels. He has also lectured
about story as can be read in this link: At
OST board retreat
In September the Ottawa Storytellers board headed out into
the wilds of Quebec, past Wakefield, to the home of Bob
Woods. They brought along their easles, and markers, their
ideas, and hopes, and their appetites. After all what good
retreat forgets about the food?
Telling and a Danish
Well, tongue in cheek here. Laura Kamis Wrang is a Danish
teller I met up with at the Storytelling Conference in Newfoundland.
I asked her a few questions for CKCU-FM, and she gave me
a few answers ... click
here to listen to the interview
Telling under the stars
Moby Dick resurfaced west of Balderson, Ontario, during
the Perseied showers. The venue was a farm. After a meal
of chicken, salad, freshly boiled corn, and many selections
of dessert, the folks gathered around a huge firepit. In
the growing darkness the only thing we could see were each
other's faces in the flickering light.
After the well received telling, we gathered up blankets,
marched upa hill (with the aid of flashlights) and lay down
on our backs to look up at the sky. The hill was dark, the
farm house lights had been doused. And we watched the falling
Knocking their socks off
Alright, maybe it wasn't the audience that needed to put
on their socks. But footwear certainly was more than a title.
Alan Shain combined his experience with storytelling, comedy,
and drama to create a one-person play. The play involved
a number of people, including a set designer/builder and
After the play, the set had to be stored away for future
shows. When one thinks of most shows, we often forget that
not everything just nicely packs up and can be forgotten.
This then set Alan to looking for inexpensive storage space,
preferably in someone's dry, clean, and affordable garage.
Partnering with Shenkman
Through the efforts of Caitlyn Paxson, the Ottawa Storytellers
partnered up with the OYP Theatre School at the Shenkman
Centre in Orleans. Last year OST performed in the Shenkman's
Black Box. After the season, OST decided that room did not
fit the programming. The director of OYP had seen the shows,
and asked if there might not be some way of cooperating.
They wanted someone to run workshops in storytelling in
their school, and they had a more intimate space that would
be just right for storytelling. Listen
to the interview
Applied storytelling, an article
Brother Wolf has named one aspect of what is called
community storytelling, but I'm sure that other people would
have more and different things to say. Defining "community"
in the context of the Ottawa StoryTellers might be a very
interesting exercise and could be helpful in clarifying
where OST wants to go with the community side of our umbrella.
To read the article follow this link: Article
The Brockville Storytelling Festival is over. But it had
wonderful publicity, even here in Ottawa where Deborah Dunleavy
was interviewed by Michael Bardwash on CBC's In Town and
Out. It was a lovely interview about storytelling, the headliners,
and ended with Deborah pulling out her guitar and singing
an original blues song. She has a wonderful voice. The festival
also was written up in their local newspaper after getting
a grant. To read that article click on this: EMC
Story Slam (a competition)
Ruthanne sings with a choir in Italy, attends poetry events,
is the past Tea Party (not the American kind) organiser,
reads crystal balls, and how somehow blends it altogether
into something called a Story Slam. The Slam involves the
audience (who cheer), the judges (who are booed), and tellers
who must tell an original story based on a set theme, all
within five minutes. I asked Ruthanne about the Story Slam
over a scone at the Tea Party ... click
Partnership and ArtsBeat
As reported in the last newsletter, the Ontario Council
of Folk Festivals (OCFF) and the Ottawa Storytellers have
partnered up to place two artists in one school. Well, the
OCFF are placing many musicians in many schools, but this
particular partnership has a storyteller and a musician
working with a grade 6 class for a week, culminating in
two shows: one for the school, and one at the OCFF conference
happening here in Ottawa in October.
The musician is Alicia Borosonik. The teller is Dean Verger.
Ottawa Folk Festival and lightning
The Ottawa Storytellers were invited to run a swap at this
August's Ottawa Folk Festival. The location was in the food
court under a big tent. Other groups had also been invited
to run sessions. The Saturday weather was fine, and the
other sessions ran beautifully. On the Sunday, as the tellers
were readying to sit in the circle and share stories the
word came down that the storms were coming up the river,
that lightning was seen (and thunder heard). The electrian
closed up the tent since there were wires running along
the ground, and we were ushered into the safety of the centre.
Lynda Joyce and David MacDonald had taken the Introduction
to Storytelling course. Lynda had followed this up with
a telling at the Swap. Then Lynda and David decided to tell
at the Tea Party. They were initially nervous. What were
they going to do? As part of the OST mentorship program
they partnered up with Ruth Stewart-Verger, going over to
her home to drink tea, eat cookies, talk about telling,
and to rehearse their stories.
Their telling in August went smoothly, and the audience
gave them much deserved applause.
One thinks in terms of the groom not showing up at the
wedding, or the performer not showing up at the gig, but
what happens when the venue packs up and leaves town? Well,
as part of the Canada Day celebrations Queen Julianna park
on Carling Avenue had been slated for a weekend of activity.
But the attendance on the first days was poor. The vendors
began pulling up their stalls, and then the organisers pulled
the plug on the rest. When the storyteller arrived on the
last day, there were a few safety fences, a garbage can,
and a rented flatbed stage. Everything else had vanished.
Billings Estate Museum and Ottawa Storytellers have a wonderful
relationship. Pat Holloway has been busy writing the next
script for the October Hallowe'en show. I spoke with him
about it. To hear the interview just