| Jacqui Du Toit, mixing theatre, dance, and storytelling
saw a notice on the Ottawa Storyteller's Facebook page about
storytelling for children at the Happy Goat Coffee Company. So Ruth and
I wandered down on a Saturday morning at 11am. The storyteller was Jacqui Du Toit, whose storytelling
stage name is Aunty Leina. She
told us a delightful story filled with phrases from her native land. In
her telling she added movement and song. We later attended an
Open Stage for theatre at the Pressed Café on Gladstone, near Bronson
on the last Friday
of the month. It is an Open Stage for theatre, but not limited to
theatre. We watched storytelling, and improvisation theatre, and
listened to music. This evening is organised by 8th Generation theatre.
There was a nice audience. Mostly younger folks (under forty). Jacquie
performed a story about Jackal outwitting a Lion. While she was
barefooted, on stage, mixing movement, telling and song, a mother
followed her 2 year old as she walked toward the stage, then plopped
down on the floor to stare up at the teller.
To hear the interviews with Jacqui, about 8th generation, click here (4:49).
|Jacqui is from
Northern Cape, South Africa. There she studied
theatre for four years. Worked for ten. Came to Canada as a member of
Amakhosi, The Kings of Africa in June of 2008. Started
up the 8th Generation Theatre Company a year ago. Jacqui started the
Theatre nights which has occurred in a number of venues, but which has
returned to Pressed a small café on Gladstone, just west of Bronson.
To hear about how Jacqui came to Canada Happy Goat Coffee Company
35 Laurel St
Aunty Leina and Zuku
Every Saturday at the Happy Goat Coffee, stories from far far
away....with Aunty Leina and Zuku the mystical drummer! ...
Shows are 20 min each and starts at 11am and again at 2pm
$3-$5 sliding scale per child.To hear the interview click
|Stories from the
by Donna Stewart
Tuesday April 30th the National Arts Centre in conjunction with the
Ottawa Storytellers hosted an evening of storytelling with six northern
tellers: Pat Braden, Ria Coleman, Moria Cameron, Anthony Foliot, Jim
Green, and Steve McQueen.
Ben Nind did
the introductions, with a few
words from the NAC's Northern Scene programmer, and the MP for the
came from Yellowknife, Fort Smith, and from south of Great Slave Lake.
Most of the tellers
were transplants to the North, having gone up with their families, or
up to visit, and had never left. For one teller, the garage his father
had worked in closed. Someone told his father that there was a job in a
parts department up North. So he went up by himself, tried it for a few
months, then brought up his wife and children. A few had been there for
many generations. For example, Ria Coleman said that her grandmother’s
people had lived in the Territories for ten
Steve McQueen told stories about dog teams. His father has won the
world champion dog sledding five times in a row. The prize for one race
that his father won was a trip to Calgary, with all of their
dogs. they stayed in a hotel. The dogs were boarded at a zoo right
beside a cage in which lived a lion. His father's dogs
were experienced chasing lynx. His dad encouraged it since it saved
on bullets. Here in the zoo, to the dogs, the lion was just a giant
lynx. His story included poignant moments, and humour.
Jim Green lives in a small village outside Fort Smith. he told of a
friend of his that went out to the trap line. One evening while
repairing a teacup with crazy glue his friend managed to glue his
finger to his nose.
Ria Coleman told a story that used lots of native words and dancing
about her grandmother, who fell in love with this one man, but ended up
marrying the man's brother. It was a very successful marriage with lots
of children. But not what she had originally planned.
|Pat Braden told a story that was about
the house he lived in.
Moira Cameron sang four ballads, and played the dulcimer.
We enjoyed the whole evening. The people sitting in front of us were an
old couple who had travelled through the north. They were there
because it was Northern Stories. Most of the stories were funny, which
the enthusiastic audience appreciated.
Besides the good telling, the room was sold out. And there were
many people we recognised. Of course, there were a number of members of
OST. And some of the tellers we had met before when Ruth and I were at
a Yellowknife Storytelling Festival, and then a Whitehorse Conference.
All in all, I was glad I had attended this Northern Scene concert.
|A house concert,
away from the Madding Crowd, with Moira Cameron
by Kathie Kompass
A dulcimer and an auto harp sang out recently on Major street. My home
actually! Moira Cameron a
Yellowknife Balladeer who was sin Ottawa for
the Northern Scene offered to present a House Concert so as there is no
dust on us at OST I put up my hand.
OH, it was great fun. Moira played and sang and explained She told us
of Balladeers that she admires so we now know where to look for more
The listener, quickly became participant and learner as
Moira had us
help with the choruses. She shared her knowledge of the instruments,
how they are made and how they evolved as well as snippets of history
about the ballads that she sang. And were the ballads true? Based
actual happening? You might ask. They must be! Especially the one
Moira wrote and sang about Yellowknife’s Giant Mine.
at the Tea Party
As part of the ongoing Ottawa History project, three tellers took to
the "stage" on Tuesday May 14th at the Tea Party. Kathie Kompass took
us from Ottawa to the gold fields, through the States, up to Mattawa,
and back to Ottawa. We went by horseback, boat, and camel. Donna
Stewart led us into the life of a young girl in around 1860, and
she stopped J. R. Booth's lumber yard being set ablaze. Elaine
O'Reilly told us the story of how a good Father of Lowertown
helped those in need for over four decades.
Kompass and Mary Wiggin are
the two organisers of the ongoing
Tea Party series. They make sure each and every scheduled Tuesday has
tellers ready and able to entertain the audiences that keep coming back
for stories, be they tale, history, or fable.
Kathie and Mary pull together their schedule each year, sending out
suggestions for themes to the tellers amongst the OST members, and to
the newly graduated tellers who have completed the Introduction to
Storytelling courses given twice a year.
||June 15 Master Class with d'bi young: Process, Performance, and Pedagogy of Dub Theatre
by Jennifer Vincent
Locate your breath, find yourself within it, and direct it towards the
hard-working parts of your physical being which require a little more
attention as you prepare to share your story. The centring exercise
with which D’bi Young began her June 15 master class was meditation for
storytellers, and it set the stage for a highly engaging morning which
would spark creativity by emphasizing the fundamental importance of
play. Using our bodies as our interpretive medium, we, the participants,
worked together in groups to represent memories of joy and watershed
moments, and then performed each member’s story for the rest of the
The afternoon session was all about introspection, as participants sat
beneath the ‘tree of me’, a representation of the grounding parts of
self - past, present and future - which can be tapped into as we
compose and tell stories which are meaningful to us. D’bi also took us
through the method styled “S.O.R.P.L.U.S.I.”:
Self-knowledge, Orality, Rhythm, Political content & context,
Language of communication, Urgency, Sacredness, and Integrity*.
Participants reflected on how these “considerations,” many of which
lend themselves to self-directed questions like, “What stimulates/
moves me?” and “What stories are bubbling in my body?”, can nourish the
For me, the class was nothing short of enlightening. D’bi Young not
only offers a singular and rousing experience for her storytelling
audience, she is also a gifted educator who has inspired me through her
fervour, talent, and love.
*For more information, click on this Youtube link.
|Jubilee 1927, a tent show at the Billings Estate National Historic Site, May 31
Reviewed by Lynda Joyce
It is a week after Dominion Day 1927. Ottawans have been invited to the
home of Charles Murray Billings’ to mark the enormous success of the
60th anniversary celebration of Confederation. We are in the heart of
the roaring twenties where the clash of Victorian propriety with the
new flappers, flying machines and jazz is very evident. And we will
all have to sign THE PLEDGE before the evening is through.
||Written by Patrick Holloway and directed by Gail Anglin,
this show gave the audience a sampling of the issues, history and
events of 1927 in a very entertaining way. Hosted by Mrs. Ezra
Henderson (Ruthannne Edward), resplendent in a deep blue creation, we are introduced to various speakers.
First is our elegant host, the gracious Mr. Charles Murray Billings (Bob Woods) followed by local department store owner Mr. A.J. Freiman (Daniel Kletke)
who eloquently compares the new department stores with the Canadian
federation (it’s a bit of a stretch!!). We then met a rather garrulous
lady, Mrs. Hattie Badgly (Anne Nagy),
who enthusiastically reports on the day’s events, although she is
somewhat constrained by a list of topics which she Must Not Mention,
including one tragic event – the crash of a plane accompanying guest of
honour, Charles Lindbergh –which is reported solemnly by Mr. Quincy
Sunderland (Mike Enns) of the Ottawa Evening Citizen.
are introduced to Mr. Reginald Conklin (Kerry Max) of Keith’s
Vaudeville, an entertainment palace featuring the likes of Mr. Jeremiah
Pickersgill (Rodney Norman) who treats us to a series of painful
one-liners. The true crux of the times becomes evident to us as we hear
the entreaties of Miss Bessie Thorburton (Kim Kilpatrick) of the
WCTU(Women’s Christian Temperance Union) to desist from drinking
alcohol by means of signing the pledge, followed “flapper talk” from
the “bee’s knees” young Miss Zelda McIntyre (Amanda Parker) and by
glamorous jazz aficionada, Miss Isobel McCorkindale, (Lana Hummel) with
her long cigarette holder.
|This cast was completed by a gentleman’s chorus, Papa’s Friends who sang several rousing songs in close harmony.
As I munched my free bag of popcorn, watched the slide show and
listened to the various characters speak, I was transported to a time
of simpler concerns and a mix of frivolity and repression.
to transition to modern times was evident as well as the wonder at the
invention of the flying machine which we now all take for granted, and
the hero worship of Charles Lindbergh. Our dear storytellers and
friends of storytellers all acquitted themselves well on stage and
provided a believable storyline. The slides were sometimes supportive
of the show on stage and at other times were a distraction.
experience of listening to “flapper talk” was certainly amusing and the
portrayal of the two 'modern' women by Amanda Parker and Lana Hummel
was hilarious when contrasted with the more traditional characters.
show was a reminder of one of the many gifts Ottawa StoryTellers
provides to Ottawa – creative interpretations of our local history. The
assortment of colourful vignettes represented were informative,
memorable and thoroughly entertaining.
|I hope this show will be
enjoyed again and again.
Thank you to Patrick and Gail and all the actors for an entertaining
and enlightening show which will be repeated at the July conference of
Storytellers of Canada / Conteurs du Canada.
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