I fell in love with storytelling around campfires at a cottage or summer camp many years ago. Last year’s Storytelling Festival brought back those lovely memories. It’s a people-to-people thing. It’s like live theatre, but depending on the performers, you can interrupt. You can ask questions. You can interact with the storyteller and with other spectators. You can boo the villain and cheer on the hero.
The Toronto storytelling festival was started in1978 and it seems to be getting more popular each year. When I looked at the schedule this time, I was overwhelmed. There were so many performances, venues, and prices from which to choose.
Some of events are free. It’s also free if you work as a volunteer. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, some events range from $5 to $15. A festival pass is $50 for adults for the whole period; for Saturday only, it’s $30. There are cheaper prices for seniors and children.
Many of the stories are Canadian and about people of Italian, Chinese, West Indian origin or whatever. Many stories are from our First Nations. One performance is in French. Some presentations are for children and others only for adults. You can learn techniques at its workshops and classes.
For free events, the March 24 Japanese storytellers are at the Japan Foundation. A schedule is at http://www.jftor.org/whatson/20120324Katari.php . An RSVP is required. Space is limited.
On March 31 and April 1, the Bata Shoe Museum has a total of three shows for children. The price is its usual admission fee. You might be able to get a free pass from a branch of the Toronto Public Library unless there’s a strike.
One of its stories is from Newfoundland; the Keewatin Native Dance Theatre performs another. For Bata admission fees, click on: http://www.batashoemuseum.ca/visiting/hours_admission.shtml.
For information about the Keewatin Theatre, there’s: http://www.kehewinnativedancetheatre.com/knprn/Welcome.html
On Saturday, March 31, The Battle of York and Other Ballads and Tales of the War of 1812 will be performed from 11am-12pm. It’s at 95 Front St. E., 2nd floor (south of the St. Lawrence Market.) This one’s on a pay-as-you-can basis with a $2 suggestion. An RSVP is required. The Market Gallery’s exhibit “Finding the Fallen: The Battle of York Remembered” will be on display there from March 3 until September 8.
On Sunday, April 1, from 10am-6:30pm, Harbourfront will host stories from Canada, India, Korea, etc. Most of these stories are free. See: http://bit.ly/AcPDWU .
If you get hooked on storytelling, the magic continues every Friday from 8 to 10pm, after the festival is over. 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling is at the Innis College Cafe. This is usually an open stage, presenting whoever shows up that evening, but sometimes with a special guest or theme. The Innis College Café is on St. George St. at Sussex Ave., U of T downtown campus. Adult admission $5. Website: www.1001fridays.org.
For details of the Storytelling Festival, dates, venues, performers, and subjects, please click on: http://bit.ly/yQHveG . To buy passes, telephone Harbourfront at 416-973-4000 or Storytelling Toronto at 416-656-2445.
For our report and pictures from the 2011 Storytelling Festival, please see: http://bit.ly/yAImmH . For other upcoming festivals and event, see: www.torontomulticulturalcalendar.com .