Performance History

Performance History • Selected • 2003 – 2009
Each year I work in many schools, both elementary and secondary, throughout the Lower Mainland, elsewhere in BC, and across the country.  I do performances and sometimes workshops for either teachers or students.

2009 Myths and Memories is a group of tellers with whom I’ve worked for over 3 years, bringing weekly stories to seniors in care homes.  This year we expanded  from two homes to several.  At one lively place, I was given a margarita after the stories.  Lucky me to have come by bus!  Elsewhere, I was commissioned to tell stories about my great grandfather’s life as a pioneer in southern B.C.  He nearly drowned when riding his horse across a frozen river, and it happened before he fathered my grandmother. How odd to realize that, had he failed to make shore, my father, sister and I would not exist.  But he lived, and therefore my ex-telling partner Nan Gregory and I could team up again briefly to celebrate our 25 years of telling stories.  I was also featured at the Vancouver International Storytelling Festival.  In both events, divine or misplaced silliness kept sneaking into my tales.  I risked making a fool of myself, (well, some would say I DID make a fool of myself,) but what fun to be silly!  Another exploration: British Columbia tellers Jean Pierre Makosso, Norma Cameron and I took our first steps toward a collaborative creation.

2008 Two trips beyond Vancouver were wonderful adventures in storytelling this year, first to Winnipeg, to tell Medieval stories in concert with two musicians and another storyteller.  It was a rare chance to work with musicians and I thank Winnipeg teller Mary Louise Chown for the opportunity.  I was also a featured teller at the Storytellers of Canada/Conteurs du Canada Conference in Saskatoon, where I told a tale from the Ramayana.  I learned it as my part in Vancouver’s epic weekend, and also told it at the Vancouver International Storytelling festival.  There is nothing quite like the Story of Rama; it is full of images that I’ve not seen in other tales, and full of compassion for all, even in the midst of a battle, even for the villain of the tale.

2007 My last year as Artistic Director of The Vancouver International Storytelling Festival ended on a high note with a four-day celebration in February that left me exhausted and very proud.  Come summer, I was off on a tour in Nova Scotia. I presented in Dartmouth, Sydney and St. Peter’s, a village on Cape Breton where I was one of fourteen adults gathered round a table, swapping tales, poems, songs, and photos. Everyone listened so intensely, it was intoxicating.   A similar deep attention met my stories at two Quebec storytelling festivals. Among other tales, I performed the Medieval epic Tristan and Iseult, developed and toured since 2005 thanks to the Canada Council.  Montreal and Lennoxville honoured me by requesting it for the second time. The final adventure of the year was researching, writing and telling a story about the first woman elected to Vancouver’s City Hall.

2006 The year began with performances of The Snow Queen at schools in the Lower Mainland and Tristan and Iseult in several coastal paradises. I told it as a featured teller at the Toronto storytelling festival, where I also took a master class from Swedish teller Mats Rehnman, an exacting and exhilarating teacher.  In between times, I was busy as the Artistic Director for the storytelling festival in Vancouver.

2005 For 11 months of the 12, I was on the road. I took Tristan and Iseult to Ontario, Quebec, Vermont, BC and Alberta. I hopped off to Boston for a childrens’ literature conference, did the Williams Lake Children’s Festival and schools, zipped out to Calgary to tell at The Storytellers of Canada annual conference. The year came to a close at Christmas with a telling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen on Saturna Island. Whenever I was home, I was working on The Vancouver Society of Storytelling’s annual festival.

2004 Nan Gregory and I celebrated twenty years as professional storytellers with an evening’s reunion of our Wives’ Tales Story Tellers. I went on with the regular round of schools, festivals and radio shows, and sowed seeds for my future. In November they sprouted when The Canada Council for the Arts awarded me a grant to develop, promote and tour the epic Medieval romance, Tristan and Iseult. The grant allowed me to create a niche for its reception and bring the telling of long stories to a greater public. A wonderful twentieth anniversary present from the people of Canada.

2003 Many good things scattered over the year; telling on CBC national radio for Bill Richardson, getting an essay published in a book about storytelling, four tours. In July, I travelled with five other tellers by van from Vancouver to Ottawa and back, for the national storytelling conference. We told our Caravan of Secrets in Regina, Sault Ste. Marie and Canmore. We learned the hard way that if you are performing at night, it is best not to drive for nine hours during the day. Later that year I was chosen to be one of two storytellers included on the nationwide Canadian Children’s Book Week Tour. I did 16 shows over five days, in and around Toronto. Then I flew home and lay down.

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