Judith Liberman is a French storyteller based in Istanbul. She fell in love with Turkish culture and the Turkish language and has become one of Turkey’s best-loved storytellers. She hosts weekly shows in Istanbul and tours in Turkey. She has pioneered the Turkish storytelling movement and mentored many emerging tellers through her workshops, weekly radio show, books, and passion for Anatolian storytelling traditions.

Info: Instagram account:  Judith_malika_liberman.

Facebook: http://m.facebook.com/masalhane.judithliberman/


  • March 19: International Storytalk: Back-to-Front and Upside Down at A Different Booklist Cultural Centre (12:00 PM – 1:30 PM)
  • March 20: When Strangers Come Knocking at the Door: stories of arrival and hospitality at Spadina Theatre at Alliance Française de Toronto (7:30 PM – 9:30 PM)
  • March 21: Storytellers Camp Afternoon Workshop at CSI Annex
  • March 22: Stories Without Borders – Stories from Turkey at Runnymede Library (10:00 AM – 11:00 AM)
  • March 22: Stories to Open the Heart at Ismaili Centre Toronto (7:30 PM – 9:30 PM)
  • March 23: ROM Friday Night Live at Royal Ontario Museum (5:00 PM – 8:30 PM)
  • March 25: Wondertales at Toronto Reference Library (2:00 PM – 2:45 PM)
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Eric Borrias

Eric was chosen as Holland’s Storyteller of the Year in 2016. He tells folktales, adaptations of children’s books, original stories, and life-stories. He brings a great joy and animation to his storytelling, and believes that a well-told story can change the life of both the listener and the storyteller.

Info: www.verhalenverteller.nl


Gcina Mhlophe

Nokugcina Elsie Mhlophe is a well-known South African freedom fighter, activist, actor, storyteller, poet, playwright, director and author. Storytelling is a deeply traditional activity in Africa and Mlophe is one of a few woman storytellers. Through charismatic performances, she does important work in helping to preserve storytelling, to keep history alive and to encourage South African children to read. She tells her stories in four of South Africa’s languages: English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa. She has toured the world with her storytelling performances and workshops, and has received many awards for preserving the art and heritage of African storytelling.

Info: www.gcinamhlophe.co.za


Jamie Oliviero

Jamie Oliviero is a storyteller and arts-in-education specialist. For over 35 years Jamie has worked in schools finding creative ways to animate curriculum outcomes. He has been performing professionally as a storyteller for 25 years. Most recently he has performed and given workshops in Kenya, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Canada. Coming from a multicultural background himself, (his father’s family was Italian, his mother’s Eastern European Jews), Jamie tells stories that celebrate cultural diversity. He also chooses stories that promote environmental responsibility, social consciousness, and human rights.


Judith Liberman

Judith Liberman is a French storyteller based in Istanbul. She fell in love with Turkish culture and the Turkish language and has become one of Turkey’s best-loved storytellers. She hosts weekly shows in Istanbul and tours in Turkey. She has pioneered the Turkish storytelling movement and mentored many emerging tellers through her workshops, weekly radio show, books, and passion for Anatolian storytelling traditions.

Info: Instagram account:  Judith_malika_liberman.

Facebook: http://m.facebook.com/masalhane.judithliberman/


Laura Simms

Laura Simms is a storyteller of international acclaim. She performs, teaches, and conducts projects worldwide. She is on the Advisory Council for Global Education and is co-director of Mankoro: New Life Foundation. Laura combines traditional stories with personal narrative. Her awards include the Sesame Street Sunny Days award for work with children worldwide, the Brimstone Award for Engaged Storytelling, the Oracle Award from National Storytelling Association. Her most recent book is Our Secret Territory: The Essence of Storytelling.

Info: www.laurasimms.com


Ron Evans

Ron Evans is the unofficial “Elder” of the Toronto Storytelling Festival. A regular performer and teacher at the festival going back to 1979, he carries the oral traditions of his Metis and Chippewa-Cree ancestries. He rarely chooses his stories ahead of time, since the stories he tells are in response to his listeners. His stories can be hilarious, moving, and life-changing.


Sahand Sahebdivani

Sahand Sahebdivani was born in Iran and raised in the Netherlands where he studied storytelling, screenplay writing and music. Since 2004 he operates the Mezrab Cultural Centre, a renowned centre for storytelling and other arts. He’s worked both in Dutch and Persian language media as a writer and program animator on a variety of cultural, social and political issues. When he’s not in Amsterdam he’s touring the world with his band, his story shows and/or his storytelling workshops. He recently won the Best of Fringe award at the Amsterdam Fringe Festival.

Info: www.sahebdivani.com


Adèle Koehnke

Adèle Koehnke is a member of Storytelling Toronto, Storytellers for Children, and EastEnd Storytellers. She is sole proprietor of Adèle’s Stories (www.adelesstories.com). She writes interactive stories for listeners of all ages, offers “Draw a Story” (an interactive way of creating stories), and also enables seniors to write plays which they perform. Adèle has appeared at the following venues: High Stakes Storytelling, the Distillery District, Breakfast with Santa – Living Arts Centre, and CITY TV’s Breakfast Television.

Anna Kerz

Anna Kerz is a storyteller and author who loves the tales that touch the heart and tickle the funny bone. Her stories spin a web of magic and captivate the imaginations of listeners of all ages.

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather bring together tellers of all cultural diversities and ages, both professional and amateur to explore different forms of storytelling and to share stories that ignite conversation within the community. For 2018 Storyfire the theme is “The Quest” and we are thrilled to hear and speak journeys that will enlighten each other.  Rubena Sinha believes that the exploration of the cross-cultural scenario requires a common thread that binds all of us, and thereby, we all tell one story. When that happens, fear of others disappears, and we see each other as human beings, irrespective of caste, creed or colour. Her aim is to find that thread and weave our stories through music, dance and theatre. Diana Tso believes we are our stories. Her creation of Monkey Queen, journey to the east Part one and Part two débuted at the Toronto Storytelling Festival 2010 and the Ottawa Storytelling Festival 2016 and she continues telling this story at schools and festivals.  Her story The Monkey Queen has been transformed into a drama play and will premiere at The Theatre Centre November 2018 www.redsnowcollective.ca

Brenna MacCrimmon

Brenna MacCrimmon has been studying and performing the music of Turkey and the Balkans since the early 1980’s. She has performed in Turkey and abroad with Selim Sesler and Karsılama (trad Turkish Gypsy), Muammer Ketencoğlu (trad Balkan) and experimental rock group Baba Zula. She has also toured across Europe with Balkan beat DJ Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestra. She has recorded with the above musicians and has appeared as a guest on many diverse albums and film soundtracks in Canada, the US and Europe. She is a featured performer in “Crossing the Bridge’’, Fatih Akın’s 2005 documentary of the Istanbul music scene. In 2010, she found herself in Moscow as a member of the cast of Bobble with Bobby McFerrin. Her theatre work includes musical director of the award-winning Volcano production of Goodness. In addition to singing with vocal quartet Turkwaz, she plays with Zephyr (Demetrios Petsalakis and Jaash Singh), guests occasionally with Nomadica, has delved into vintage women’s blues with pianist Bill Westcott, travels widely to teach and perform and has much to do with ukuleles. With the generous support of a Chalmer’s Fellowship she has recently been exploring her Scottish-Canadian roots. www.greengoatmusic.ca

Canadian Stage: Territorial Tales

Canadian Stage hosts and produces Territorial Tales, a creative launching pad for young storytellers (ages 14-21) to share their experiences of displacement, migration and settlement.

Carol Leigh Wehking

Carol Leigh Wehking did not enjoy history classes in school. The chronology of wars and conquests is not a topic near to her heart. But as a storyteller, she loves to make eras of “ago” come alive through character and narrative. She also tells folktales and other stories. She has been a performer since 1968, and a professional storyteller since 1992. She has directed and co-directed festivals in Hamilton, Burlington, and Toronto, toured twice for the CCBC Book Week, and also presents storytelling as Artistic Director of FRESH Stories in Cambridge. https://www.facebook.com/FRESHStorieslivestorytellinginCambridge/? ref=bookmarks

Celia Lottridge

Celia Lottridge is a teller of traditional and original stories to adults and children. She is a co-founder of Storytelling Toronto, co-founder and former director of the Parent-Child Mother Goose Program and author of many award-winning children’s books including retellings of folktales and novels based on family stories. Her collection Ten Small Tales is considered by many storytellers to be the finest source of folktales for young children published in Canada.

Dawne McFarlane and Maryem Hassan Toller (and Riqq)

Dawne McFarlane‘s Scottish grandfather told her there were faeries in the apple tree when she was wee. Since then she has been telling stories around campfires, kitchen tables, in classrooms and at international storytelling festivals. Dawne loves storytelling because it opens hearts and brings people together. www.dawnemcfarlane.ca. Maryem Hassan Tollar is a renowned Egyptian-Canadian vocalist, known for her world music performances as well as original compositions. Her voice has been heard on the theme of CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie and A.R. Rahman’s Bollywood hit, Mayya Mayya. She performs with Turkwaz, whose recording “Nazar” was nominated for a 2017 Juno award for World Music Album of the year. http://turkwaz.ca/ Riqq is a tambourine that came from Egypt. Maryem learned to play Riqq in Syria and Egypt. With much more than shimmering, Riqq gallops through the Armenian countryside with our heros and rejoices with us at their wedding celebration.

Donna Dudinsky

Donna Dudinsky tells old tales and sings old songs to the young at heart. A former documentary television producer, she can be heard on TPL’s Dial-A-Story and seen at Storytelling Toronto’s StoryTent every other Saturday.

Eight Tellers

Sarah Abusarar tells stories so that she may go deep inside of the tales and find herself in far-away magical places, that she remembers, from long, long ago. Pat Bisset tells many kinds of stories from tiny rhymes to folk, fairy and her historical Sagas. She is an experienced fool being chosen for “fool” in a Mummers Play. Michale Boulger tells stories to youngsters and their chauffeurs. He improvises and engages the audience into his stories. Natasha Charles can be found at various venues telling fairy tales, folktales, myths and legends, often with dark edges reflecting the spookiness of her native Trinidadian tales. Nick Miceli is an experienced teller at 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling and Centre for Spiritual Living.  He self-published the storytelling CD Dragon on the Mountain available at available at www.store.cdbaby.com/cd/nickmiceli. Paul Nash has been telling stories of humour, wisdom and human folly from many sources for 8 years at 1001 Nights of Storytelling. This will be his fourth year with Storyfire. Maria Ordonez tells stories from Latin America and from the Spanish tradition to children and adults. She loves to tell stories about strong and mature women. Molly Sutkaitis attributes her love for storytelling to her Irish Granda continuing his traditions she tells Celtic personal and traditional folktales, delighting all ages. Cecilia Vizcaino loves telling stories to children and adults, in English, in Spanish and in both! She facilitates a monthly Story Time in Spanish for children and works at the Kitchener Public Library where stories are hiding in every corner, waiting to be found.

High Stakes Storytelling

High Stakes Storytelling: true stories that matter. Stories curated by Sage Tyrtle. Once a month performances at the Centre for Social Innovation, 192 Spadina Ave. https://www.facebook.com/storieswithstakes/

Hugh Cotton

Hugh Cotton is a Toronto-based storyteller, originally from Hampshire in England. He has told stories in schools, markets, cafes and forests – and appeared in festivals from Brantford to Brazil. His repertoire spans the globe but has a special focus on European wondertales and, increasingly, Celtic myth. As well as telling, he enjoys helping others develop as storytellers.

Itah Sadu

Award-winning author, storyteller and owner of Toronto bookstore, A Different Booklist, Itah Sadu shares the rich oral traditions of the Caribbean, Africa and North America with students and teachers. Her stories, workshops and keynotes often address issues of racism and equity as well as demonstrating the wealth of knowledge, experience and wisdom gained from oral traditional cultures of the African Diaspora.

Judy and Paul Caulfield

Judy Caulfield has been telling stories for over three decades. From school settings, to libraries, to festivals, and to informal song and story circles, Judy delights in sharing and exploring stories with different audiences. She is a member of the Baden Storytelling Guild and Storytelling Toronto. http://badenstorytellers.wordpress.com/looking-for-a-storyteller/ Paul Caulfield is a singer, guitarist, and mandolin player whose repertoire includes ’60s folk songs, alt-country ballads and playful rockers. He is a member of Credit River Time, a Brampton-based quartet that specializes in old-tyme music and as a solo artist he’s noted for his humorous tellings of the stories behind the songs.

Katari Japanese Storytellers

Born in Tohoku, the northeast of Japan, Koko Kikuchi has been involved in Katari almost since its inception. He specializes in the folktales of his native region of Iwate, northern Japan. Aisha Masaoka is currently running her own home daycare. She is a mother to a sweet 5-year-old boy and 2-and-a-half-year-old girl. She recently moved to Listowel, Onario and is enjoying the small town life. Yusuke Tanaka is a veteran translator, writer, and director of the Katari since 1994. He has been telling Ainu people’s stories and his own adaptations of Japanese folklore in many places around the world, including New York, Seoul, Kyoto, Tokyo and Sapporo. Noriko Yamamoto is a professional dancer, mime, silent storyteller, and visual artist. Since moving to Toronto from Tokyo in 1994, Noriko has added Nia to her repertoire. She performs regularly at schools, libraries, festivals, and at various other events. Nathalie Vachon is a writer/storyteller and painter whose work is described as whimsical, magical, and heartwarming. She lived in Osaka for a year and a half and loves to share, hear stories, and travel back into memories of Japan and Asia. Rui Umezawa is a Toronto writer and storyteller. His novel The Truth About Death and Dying was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize for Best First Book. His past participation in Katari inspired his latest publication, Strange Tales Afar: Tales of the Supernatural from Old Japan.

Lynn Torrie

Lynn Torrie combines a lifelong love of stories with almost 30 years of work as a children’s occupational therapist. She loves traditional wisdom tales and has a passion for history, particularly of early Canada. She tells in schools, churches and community settings, with a fondness for child and family audiences. www.storytellingtoronto.org/story/torrie-lynn

Mariposa in the Schools

Mariposa in the Schools is a non-profit organization that sends performers into schools, libraries, and community settings. MITS has been a partner with the Toronto Storytelling Festival for many years. www.mariposaintheschools.ca

Meryl Arbing, Donna Dudinsky, Diane Bosman

This dynamic trio brings together three of Toronto’s well-respected tellers to make an engaging set with a variety of telling styles. Diane Bosman is a long-time Toronto storyteller with roots in Alberta. She tells amusing and enchanting tales from around the world. Donna Dudinsky tells old tales and sings old songs to the young at heart. A former documentary television producer, she can be heard on TPL’s Dial-A-Story and seen at Storytelling Toronto’s StoryTent every other Saturday. Meryl Arbing has been a fixture around Toronto’s 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling for 30 years. He has appeared in several Toronto Festivals.

Meryl Arbing and Karen Kaplan

Meryl Arbing has been involved in ballad singing for even longer than his storytelling. His grandmother and great aunt were singers on Prince Edward Island and several of his songs he learned directly from them. Currently a member of the Ballad Project, he has a fine repertoire of traditional songs. Karen Kaplan is a lifelong singer deeply engaged in ballad singing. She is particularly interested in the ballads that are not often heard and finds that the long ones can be the most interesting of all. She sang for many years as part of the trio Sweet Tyme and is a member of the Ballad Project.

Michelle Silagy

Michelle Silagy is an award-winning contemporary dance artist and teacher. She has collaborated with cross-discipline dance innovators many of whom thread text into their work, to include: Megan Andrews, Jackie Burroughs, Sarah Chase, Jennifer Lynn Dick, Andrea Nann and William Yong. Silagy’s work, noted for its poetically rich visual, spoken and movement imagery, has been presented within Toronto, Amsterdam, New York City, and above the Arctic Circle with Susan Aglukark. Silagy has also performed and worked with DanceAbility International in Montevideo, Uruguay, Vienna’s Museumsquartier and at the Cultural Centre in Baja Ca., Mexico. Upcoming projects include the creation of a talking dance work for differently abled populations: Flying Hearts is made with Theatre Direct Director Lynda Hill and dancers Tylee Jones and Jessica Runge.

Photo by Lisa Fleishman

Moyo Mutamba, Kuda Mutamba

Moyo Mutamba is a multi-disciplinary artist, Zimbabwean cultural worker, teacher and researcher. He specializes in mbira music, Zimbabwean traditional dancing and folk storytelling. His music is centered around Mbira, a percussive lamellaphone from Zimbabwe. His son Kuda is an accomplished mbira player in his own right, carrying on the family tradition.

Kuda photo by Jacob Yashinsky-Zavitz

Nathalie Vachon and Ross Lynde

Nathalie Vachon has been delighting audiences at festivals, schools, libraries, workshops and corporate events for over 20 years. She tells folktales, fairy tales, original stories and songs; taking the listener on a journey full of vibrant images, wisdom, witty wordplay, heart and humour. On the roster of artists at Prologue to the Performing Arts, Nathalie offers Imagination on the Loose for K-6 audiences and her bilingual show L’imagination en Cavale for grades K-4. www.nathalievachon.com. Ross Lynde has been performing across Canada and around the world for nearly 20 years with Juno-nominated a cappella quartet Cadence. Ross hold a BFA in Music from York University in studying piano, vocal improvisation, and world music. He also plays guitar and piano, writes/arranges/records music, teaches in his home studio and runs Camp Imagine every summer with Nathalie. www.cadence-unplugged.com/

Parent-Child Mother Goose Program

Ruth Danziger, storyteller, curator and host of this and other multilingual programs, collected and edited I Bring You a story, a book of stories that travelled to Toronto with community members.  Sarah Abusarar is a local storyteller who is interested in exploring family tales from Croatia and Palestine, her countries of origin. Maria del Carmen Ordonez is a storyteller originally from Ecuador who tells stories to children and adults in Spanish and English. Leeya Solomon speaks both the Eritrean and Ethiopian languages and was strongly influenced by the storytelling traditions she heard in childhood which she says, “were just part of life, growing up.” The storytellers all share stories and rhymes for families to enjoy at the Parent-Child Mother Goose Program and have told together at several public events, including Word on the Street, the F.O.O.L festival, previous Toronto Storytelling festivals and Canada Day at Queen’s Park.

Queers in Your Ears

Jeffrey Canton has, over the last three decades, shared original stories that dig deep into the strata of Toronto’s history as well as, with a little soft-shoe and a gay showtune or two, his own queer past. He’s a long-time member of the Queers in Your Ears storytelling collective. Most recently he appeared at the Hamilton Fringe with Marcus Peterson in “Coal from Hades: The Story of Les Mouches Fantastique” and as part of Myseum Intersections 2017 with “No More S#&%!”: Stories from the 1981 Toronto Bathhouse Raids” Eden Nameri’s renditions of Bible stories and other classic tales incorporate a mixture of traditional and original interpretation, as well as plenty of personal perspective. Eden studied storytelling in New York with Diane Wolkstein. Rico Rodriguez is a storyteller, and a percussionist. He’s a founding member of Queers in Your Ears. He tells folktales, fairytales, fables and legends from the rich and diverse Latino and Hispanic cultures. He also writes original stories about his own Queer experience as well fictional tales based on the lives of LGBTQ Latinx people. He tells in Spanish, English and in Spanglish. His storytelling presentation is energetic and highly participatory.

Rita Cox

Trinidad born author and storyteller Rita Cox has received the Order of Canada for her active role in promoting storytelling, multicultural education and literacy. Rita opens the world of books to her listeners by weaving together the oral and written word, providing the tools for lifelong love of reading and telling.

Sage Tyrtle

Story curator Sage Tyrtle teaches The Art of Storytelling in workshops and at Seneca College. Her stories have been featured on NPR and CBC Radio. She is the founder and host of High Stakes Storytelling: https://www.facebook.com/storieswithstakes.

Sandra Whiting

Sandra Whiting has been at the epicenter of activity and change in Toronto’s African Canadian community for over twenty years. She has worked with the Ontario Black History Society, Jamaican Canadian Association, and the Caribbean Cultural Committee and was awarded the Harry Jerome Award for Community Leadership in 2002. As a keynote speaker and storyteller, Sandra uses the telling of stories as a vehicle for positive social change.

Sashoya Shoya Oya

Sashoya Shoya Oya is an artist who channels her voice through the medium of oral – storytelling within the realm of folklore traditions. She’s currently a artist – in – residence and the Associate Artistic Director of The Watah Theatre. Sashoya is the Founding Artistic Director of The Walking Griot, a Toronto – based storytellers’ guild, where she recently facilitated the premiere Folklore Theatre Program funded by ArtReach & Toronto Arts Council. Her plays and poetry have been published in Black Solo I, 2 & 3 and From The Root Zine. She was nominated as an Emerging Artist finalists for the 2017 Premier’s Excellence in the Arts Award and recently performed in Barbados at Carifesta XIII as a representative of the Canadian – Caribbean Contingent and a ppeared in the award – winning play LUKUMI by d’bi young anitafrika. She’ll be presenting a workshop of her play Black MOon in June 2018 and coming soon she’ll be launching 30 Days of Storytelling, a project by The Walking Griot.

Solar Stage

Solar Stage was founded in 1976, and has been a cultural destination for Toronto families for over forty years. We create award-winning, progressive, original, Canadian, family theatre with a focus on inclusive, diverse, optimistic and inspirational storytelling. We follow a simple philosophy with a complex execution: make beautiful live art that everyone can enjoy. Our 2017-2018 season includes some of your all-time favourites like Jillian Jiggs, Memorable Munsch, and more! This is our first collaboration with the Toronto Storytelling Festival. www.solarstage.on.ca.

Stories We Don’t Tell

There are some stories that we get really good at telling, we tell them to our friends, our coworkers, and even strangers at parties. We tell them because they are a part of us, and in doing so they build up our sense of self. There are also stories we don’t tell, maybe because they’re sad, or weird, or just a little too intimate. These truths are just as much a part of who we are, despite being erased from our day-to-day conversation. The Stories We Don’t Tell is a monthly live event, held in living rooms across Toronto, and podcast that gives you a window into experiences that are so often left unseen. Paul Dore and Stefan Hofstetter, from the Stories We Don’t Tell, co-host the festival’s annual Storytellers Fête, celebrating the many storytelling gatherings in Toronto.

Tichaona Maredza

Swooping down from the vast Zimbabwean plains, Tichaona Maredza, a guitar in one hand, a drum in the other and an mbira in his teeth, arrived in Toronto in 2008. Singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, Tich’s music, while rooted in Zimbabwean traditional styles, has a contemporary flair.

The Shoe Project

Filiz Dogan curates and hosts a program of shoe stories told by alumni of The Shoe Projet (co-produced with the Shoe Project). Filiz Dogan is from Istanbul, Turkey. She established a career as a psychologist until moving to Canada. She works as a psychotherapist and runs a program that offers mental health service to newcomers. Reem Morsi had a career of professional scuba diving, then human rights for a decade, prior to becoming a writer/director. Morsi’s short films have won multiple awards and screened locally and internationally. Samia Hossain likes to design and build furniture. When she is not searching for happiness elsewhere, she and her daughter can be found playing barefooted in the mud. Currently, she is finishing up her MDes from OCADU. Yemi Stephanie Laotan is a blogger and mother of twins who immigrated to Canada from Nigeria, after studying in Hungary and Ireland. Elizabeth Meneses Del Castillo is a former TV reporter from Colombia. She is currently a Communication Officer with the Ontario government. She has published several articles for both Spanish and English publications. She has also worked with CNN, Spanish edition from Toronto and CityTV Toronto.

Toronto Public Library librarians

Torontonians know that our Toronto Public Library is the greatest in the world. It has been a home for excellent storytelling since it began. This tradition continues for the festival’s Storyfire program, with staff storytellers bringing their favorite stories to branches across the city.

York Storytelling Guild


The York Storytelling Guild is a collection of tellers with different specialties, interests, and a common goal: to share storytelling as an art that can entertain, teach, heal, and bring diverse people together. Featuring: Diane Bosman, Lynn Torrie, Anna Kerz, Laurie Malabar, June Brown, Goldie Spencer and Brian Walsh.

1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling

Every Friday night since 1978, storytellers and listeners have been gathering in downtown Toronto for an open evening of oral stories. Each Friday night is unique, and everyone is welcome to come and listen, come and tell. On these nights, we come as listeners and as tellers: we may ramble on, recite, relate, recount, retell, or recollect; however, we may never, ever read. You might hear traditional tales, stories of personal experience, literary stories, original stories, ballads, or episodes from history, all told through the human voice.

ahdri zhina mandiela

jamaica born and ontario based ahdri zhina mandiela is the founder and past artistic diirector of b current performing arts, and is best known as a performance poet and theatre director. her work includes several poetry books, plays, and the seminal documentary film: on/black/stage/women. mandiela’s works-in-progress: black.stage.canada, a new media project, and crossing borders: uncovering artistic roots/routes to and from canada. @azmandiela

Aubrey Davis

Before becoming a storyteller and author, Aubrey Davis worked as a logger, farmer, salesman and teacher. As a young man he traveled across Europe and North Africa where he discovered traditional Teaching-Stories. Later Aubrey began to tell these tales at a weekly gathering in Toronto; then in nursing homes, festivals, jails and on national radio and television. For over 30 years Aubrey has told stories to people of all ages. He has performed and conducted workshops across Canada and the US. A retired teacher, for 17 years he taught an oral language program to primary and special needs students. “My writing career began when I was asked to tell a Chanukah tale to a very large and very young audience. Unfortunately I couldn’t find one I liked, so I wrote one myself. The children loved it and so did the publisher to whom I sent it. Bone Button Borscht was born of necessity.” His Bagels for Benny, has won multiple awards including the Sydney Taylor Award, The Mr. Christie Award (Silver) and the Canadian Jewish Book Awards Children’s Literature Prize. Kishka for Koppel and A Hen for Izzy Pippik are his most recent titles. Aubrey has two grown children and three granddaughters. He lives in Toronto with his storytelling wife Sandra Carpenter-Davis.

Bob Barton

Since his first appearance at Artpark, Lewiston, New York in 1979, Bob Barton has appeared at storytelling festivals and workshops from Baffin Island in the high Arctic to Tasmania in the South Pacific and from the island of Maui, Hawaii to the Black Forest in Germany.

Brian Walsh

Brian Walsh has passion for therapy, spirituality, and storytelling, with a background in Psychotherapy, World Religions, and Celtic Studies. As a storyteller, Brian has told Celtic stories at numerous venues, including the Toronto Storytelling Festival; while guest lecturing at the University of Toronto; on stage at Dundas Square; and deep in the woods, around a campfire with friends. Brian believes in the power of Story. Whether telling or listening, whether the story is anecdotal or traditional, sacred or personal, stories are at the core of how we make meaning, discover who we are, and connect to each other. No matter which of his many hats Brian is wearing, Story is at the heart of his practice. www.brianwalsh.ca.

Carol Ashton

A founding member of Storytelling for Young Children, Carol Ashton delights in mixing charming tunes along with original and traditional interactive rhymes and stories with young children and families.

Cathy Nosaty

Cathy Nosaty enjoys a diverse career as a musician, composer, musical director and artist educator.

Dan Yashinsky

Dan Yashinsky is a storyteller and author. He currently works as the storyteller-in-residence at Baycrest Health Sciences. He is the director of the 2018 Toronto Storytelling Festival.

Denise Booth McLeod

Denise Booth (McLeod) is a professor in the Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counsellor and Advocate program at George Brown College. In addition she holds the position as the Indigenous and Community Engagement Coordinator at The Toronto Birth Centre.  Denise is interested in the intersections of midwifery, gender based violence and Indigenous governance both professionally and through her own educational pursuits at York University; focusing specifically, on the reclamation of Indigenous culture, language and ceremony.  Denise is a proud founding member of Toronto based Indigenous Women’s comedy collective, Manifest Destiny’s Child and Ode’Miin Giizis Full Spectrum Doula Collective.

Eden Nameri

Eden Nameri‘s rendition of Bible stories and other classic tales incorporate a mixture of original and traditional interpretation, along with plenty of personal perspective. Eden studied storytelling in New York with Diane Wolkstein.

Esther Osche

Esther Osche is a storyteller and teacher of local history in Birch Island – Whitefish River First Nation (Manitoulin) where she lives. She visits schools and libraries sharing stories of the Ojibwa people that were passed down to her from her grandparents. These stories address the interconnectedness to all things through human relationships with the natural world, thunder beings, water and wind spirits.

Fabio Lisboa

Fabio Lisboa is an award-winning Brazilian author, storyteller and speaker, with a degree in Languages (Portuguese-English) from USP-University of São Paulo and a postgraduate degree in “The Art of Storytelling: “Poetic, Literary and Performatic Approaches.” He writes at www.contarhistorias.com.br.

Image by Bianca Tozato

Howard Kaplan

Howard Kaplan has been a songwriter for over 40 years, specializing in highly unusual topics (such as frogs, low flush toilets, and quantum physics) and forms (such as rather long ballads) that carry no risk of wide popular success.

Ilyan Balicki

Ilyan Balicki has been an artistic face and body painter in Toronto for the past 10 years, offering imaginative and quick designs for all events and any age. Growing up with strong artistic influences, Ilyan learned the craft from his mother, who has been painting and serving the GTA for over 20 years. Carrying on the family tradition, Ilyan’s unique painting style and passion for the art create special memories for all through the art of face-painting.

Jean Bubba and Michelle Rumball

Jean Bubba is a frequent teller at the 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling. She has written, produced and starred in several one-woman shows, namely “Serendipity at Fifty” at the Toronto Fringe, “The Wedding Ghost,” and “The Scorned Women Tea Party” at last year’s Storyfire. She has participated in marathon storytelling productions of the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Metamorphosis of Ovid, and has told biblical stories at Gospel of Mark at Christ Church Cathedral in Hamilton, Ontario. She has been a featured teller of personal stories at Dare Storytelling and High Stakes Storytelling this past year. Michelle Rumball has toured extensively across Canada, much of it by rail, playing to prison guards, drunken snowboarders, university professors, baby-adopting nuns – and anyone else in the lounge car. She’s played country music, musicals, church music, funerals, weddings, and was once paid to sing like a chicken. She has made a place for herself in Toronto’s busy music scene. In 2001, she released her debut solo album, Terrain, which was well-received by both musicians and critics.

June Brown and Anne Lederman

June Brown’s storytelling journey began when she heard on her mother’s lap, the poem Little Orphan Annie by James Whitcomb Riley. She was soon telling it to herself. At camp, she discovered that she had a talent for telling tales around the campfire, and she has been telling stories ever since. For the past 20 years she has been a storyteller in schools, libraries, museums, senior’s homes and other venues around the GTA. She has told at festivals, been part of the Story Jam project and Cultural Days. She has also been involved in developing a storytelling program for the Children’s Aid Society and running a storytelling venue for the Rotary Club of Toronto’s annual party for children with special needs. It doesn’t matter whether you are two or ninety, she will draw you into the story and leave you wanting more. Her favourite audience response is “When can you come back?” June is a member of Storytellers of Canada – Conteurs du Canada, Storytellers for Children, 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling and the York Storytelling Guild. Anne Lederman is a fiddler, singer, storyteller, and multi-instrumentalist, rooted in several Canadian and World traditions: Newfoundland, Cape Breton, French Canadian/Metis, Klezmer, Irish, Ontario and the Northwest. She has learned from the masters of Old Time music in Canada, wherever she has found them. Her performances combine stories, songs, and tunes in unique and inspiring ways. Originally from Manitoba, Anne has 6 CDs under her own name of original and traditional songs and tunes and was a founding member of such ground-breaking Canadian ensembles as Muddy York, The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, Kalimba Kalimba and, most recently, Eh?! (nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award), as well as her own group, Fiddlesong. She is known especially for her work with Aboriginal fiddle traditions in Manitoba, and recently released her own CD from this tradition: Old Man’s Table: Tunes from Grandy Fagnan. In 2016, Anne won the Estelle Klein award for her contributions to Canadian folk music.

Marco Cera

Oboist Marco Cera studied at the Padua Conservatory of Music (Italy) and at the Musikhochschule der Stadt Basel (Switzerland). In 1996 he was chosen as first oboe for the European Union Baroque Orchestra, with which he performed in Denmark, Portugal, Germany, United Kingdom and South Africa. Marco moved from Italy to Toronto to play with Tafelmusik from 2000-2002, and rejoined the orchestra in January 2007. In 2010 Marco co-founded the Vesuvius Ensemble, a band dedicated to the performance and preservation of traditional folk music from Naples and Southern Italy. As a multi-instrumentalist, Marco is a member of Canada’s premier Artic Fusion band, Ensemble Polaris.

Photo credit: Sian Richard.

Mariella Bertelli

Mariella Bertelli is a storyteller and children’s librarian, telling stories to people of all ages from babies to 99. Her rich repertoire includes folk and fairy tales, myths and legends, as well as personal and original stories. She tells in both English and Italian, sometimes blending the two in an intriguing narrative tapestry.

Marilla Wex

Marilla Wex is one of the most popular storytellers in Toronto and has appeared at True Stories (Told Live), Raconteurs, Confabulation, Dare! and Fireside Tales.  She produced and hosted Storytelling at Caplansky’s for two and a half years. It was a hugely popular show for Toronto’s storytelling community and attracted both new performers and legends on the scene (like Sandra Shamas) alike. There were an incredibly supportive bunch of regulars and the room provided a safe space for both professional and amateur performers to grow.

Marsha Shandur

Marsha Shandur is a Storytelling Coach and the host and founder of live show True Stories Toronto. She has coached over 100 storytellers and herself has told stories at everywhere from the Toronto Storytelling Festival to Portland’s World Domination Summit. www.yesyesmarsha.com

Marylyn Peringer

Marylyn Peringer tells remarkable stories in English and French across Ontario and throughout Canada. Her wide repertoire includes Canadian and world folklore of the stars and constellations, fables and riddle tales, as well as classic epics.

Michelle Tocher

Author of six books, Michelle Tocher is a master storyteller who has spent the last twenty years telling fairy tales and exploring their healing power. With a background in communications and public education, she has been an author, storyteller, and Artist in residence for many organizations, including Gilda’s Club, Casey House, the Canadian Cancer Society, and the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF).

Photo by Brad Smith.

Morgan Jones Phillips

Morgan Jones Phillips was born in the Baldwin Street Gallery of Photography in Toronto in 1971. He worked in collectively created theatre and many odd jobs for most of his life. For a few special years he was the Theatre Director of KYTES (Kensington Youth Theatre and Employment Skills). His first solo play, The Emergency Monologues, won the NOW Audience Choice Award at the Summerworks Theatre Festival in 2008. He loves cycling, canoeing and is proud to be a humble Quaker. He lives in Riverdale with his wife and three children and has been a Paramedic since 2004.

Njacko Backo

A native of Cameroon, Njacko Backo has a lifetime of practice in capturing the subtlety of dance and storytelling with his music – an essential part of the African performing arts. His programs for children and youth draw on parallels and differences between Canadian and African family life.

Pat Bisset and Kim Michele

Pat Bisset discovered the magic of storytelling through working with children. She can weave enchantment telling little rhymes to tots, stories to children or long sagas to adults. Her repertoire includes: world myth; folk and fairy tales; and historic adventures interwoven with ballads she writes. Pat can often be found at 1001 Friday Nights of storytelling where she books the weekly hosts. Pat finds daily stimulation and inspiration from the people around her and by living in the world’s most multicultural city. Highlights of her career include performances at High Park, Fort York , Harbourfront, The Native Canadian Centre, Toronto Festival of Storytelling, Schools [also in Sweden], Daycares and Daycamps. She is a member of SC-CC, Storytelling Toronto, Storytellers for Children, The Backseat Balladeers, and formerly the Buffalo Jump Artist’s Collective. Kim Michele is a diverse performer, educator and author. She blends her enchanting voice, combining storytelling amid the sounds of the ancient Harp, with tales of fairy, folklore, legends, poetry, rhyme, and original stories and songs. She has a love for traditional ballads and performs them in song and story. Kim Michele is the editor of Storytellers for Children’s Barrel of Stories and the Author of short stories including her new publication “Emma’s Garden”. Kim is a member of Storytelling Toronto, SC-CC, Storytellers for Children, and The Backseat Balladeers.

Red Pepper Spectacle Arts

Red Pepper Spectacle Arts is a not for profit community arts organization in the city of Toronto, Canada. We are located in the heart of Toronto’s historic Kensington Market. They are long-time collaborators with the Toronto Storytelling Festival.


SlBoucaud is a member of Storytellers of Canada – Conteurs du Canada and Storytelling Toronto. She has published several books – which can be located at www.boucaudinthestory.com. Often found listening and telling stories at 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling in Toronto, she is a strong believer that stories choose the channel to be told and possess the power to enable moving beyond the barrier.

Sally Jaeger

Sally Jaeger is a passionate advocate of children’s early literacy. In 1981, Sally created programs for babies, toddlers, their parents and caregivers, including Lullabies and LapRhymes and Mr. Bear Says Hello. Sally’s CDs and DVDs are available as early literacy resources.

Sarah Abusarar

Sarah Abusarar comes from a long line of storytellers on her paternal side. Because Sarah grew up in several countries, she tells stories from all over the world with a focus on Palestinian and Croatian stories, where her roots lie.

Small Print

Small Print Toronto is a non-profit organization that stages interactive literary programs for children between 2-12 years old. All of our writing workshops and author showcases are designed to inspire kids 2-12 to explore a vital question:  How do stories work?  Learning to tell one’s own story and to understand those of others builds self-confidence and develops intellectual curiosity. Our programming cultivates an ongoing dialogue between professional creators and their primary audience that invites young people to participate in the diverse imaginative landscape of their city. Toronto is a hub of stories; we empower young people to contribute theirs. www.smallprinttoronto.org

Stories, of Course tellers

Stories, of Course features students from Storytelling Toronto’s workshops. It is hosted by the three lead faculty: Celia Lottridge, Marylyn Peringer, and Lynda Howes.

Story Planet

Story Planet is a community hub that brings together artists, writers, and volunteers to support young people in nurturing their voice and building communication and literacy skills. Our workshops integrate art, digital media, and writing to inspire mentorship and community. www.storyplanet.ca

The Dare Collective

Brian Finch is a longtime storyteller, world citizen and co-producer of “Tales of…”  He earned his “Dare Emeritus” status in storytelling back in the 1980/90s through sharing his personal stories about living with HIV in a time when one dared never to do such a thing.  “Brian Finch effortlessly brings us directly into the scene as he relates his true stories. And because he’s packed more life experience into any given month than most people dream of, those stories are fascinating.” Sage Tyrtle, storyteller  Joel West is a comedian and writer and has been known to talk to lamp posts. He was born in Montreal in 1961 and as a child appeared in the Oscar-nominated film “Lies my Father Told Me”. In 1976, while Joel was at summer camp, his parents moved to Toronto. Having tracked them down, Joel also relocated. At the University of Toronto he received several scholarships and awards, made the Dean’s list and, fearing that he might actually complete something, dropped out in his third year. Joel has performed extensively in the Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto corridor and has also performed in Vancouver, Kitchener, Waterloo, Hamilton, London and Niagara Falls. Joel has recently lost close to 100 lbs and is writing a book about his experience. Spreading his style of high-energy humour to new audiences is Anto Chan’s life passion. Being present and engaging, he strives to bring groups of people together with his relatable amusings. His versatility in performance lies in owning the moment. A true hype man at heart, he brings hilarity, excitement and true emotion to the stage.  He was awarded the “Open Mic Hero” award, the “Smile” award for visiting patients, and his Comedy night at the Shanghai won “Best Alternative room” at the Ottawa Comedy Awards. Opening the mic to new performers has been a constant inspiration for him, starting multiple series including “The 13th Story”, “O’pun Mic” and “Varietea Party” in Hong Kong. Inspiring others to share their personal stories through whatever form they feel comfortable pushes him to continue hosting poetry, comedy, storytelling and variety shows in the name of free speech.  Kei Bai  is our newest member! Please welcome came and look out for her stories and hosting. More to come!

Theatre Direct: Firefly Tales

Now in its 41st year, Theatre Direct Canada is one of the Country’s leading theatres for young audiences whose award-winning productions have reached audiences in schools and theatres touring throughout Ontario, across Canada and overseas. The Firefly Project has engaged thousands of Kindergarten students across Toronto since it began in 2012. Drama, play and stories are tools that the students can use to examine their social and emotional worlds as they learn to communicate. The children’s stories are then dramatized with the help of the class. www.theatredirect.ca

Valentina Gal

Valentina Gal writes: At the age of six, I was sent to the Ontario School for the Blind, one of the few places in Canada where blind children were educated. From then on, I lived a double life where my worlds were as far apart from each other as the North Pole is from the South, though the park in which the school was situated was but twenty-five miles from home. The stories about my time at what is now known as an “institutional school” talk about both good and bad experiences and how they helped me become the woman you see today.