Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Get Ready For World Storytelling Day 2016! #WorldStory16 #storytelling

We are a couple months away from World Storytelling Day 2016 (March 20), with the theme of "Strong Women." This is an invite for you to start adding your events to the WSD web calendar on the WSD website:


Any website member can add an event. Put your COUNTRY (in capital letters) first in the title of the event, so that everyone can tell easily where the event is. Email me, Dale Jarvis, if you have difficulties, at dale@dalejarvis.ca

If you are promoting your events on social media, use the hashtag #WorldStory16.

Thanks all, and have fun!

Volunteer World Storytelling Day Webmaster

Monday, 18 January 2016

Owl Was a Baker's Daughter: Folk Tales That Inspired Shakespeare

In a continuation of the ancient practice of storytelling, playwright William Shakespeare adapted tales he had heard as a child for theatre audiences, and many of Shakespeare’s plays derive their plots directly from folktales. The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Merchant of Venice, All’s Well that Ends Well, Measure for Measure, Cymbeline, Romeo and Juliet, the play-within-a-play of A Midsummer Night's Dream: they all have folktales as a source. In this way, Shakespeare engaged his audience on common ground, retelling stories which were familiar to many, even the illiterate.

Today’s theatre audiences are perhaps more distant from the storytelling tradition, making Shakespeare’s use of allusion less immediately recognizable. When Ophelia (Hamlet Act 4 Scene 5) remarks, “They say the owl was a baker's daughter.  Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be,” Shakespeare’s audiences would have known the story: Christ in disguise entered a baker's shop, asking for some bread, and, when the baker put a large piece of dough into the oven to bake for Him, his daughter rebuked him, and for her unkindness was changed into an owl. For modern audiences, it is difficult to provide the context of that allusion within the staging of the play. This project is meant to provide the audience with some of that background information, and to shine a light on the folk origins of these beloved stories.

“Owl Was a Baker's Daughter: Folk Tales That Inspired Shakespeare” is a project inspired both in content and in execution by the 2016 World Storytelling Day Theme of “Strong Women.” In terms of content, the show will focus on the women at the heart of these plays -- Ophelia, Cymbeline, Cordelia, Lavinia, and Thisbe -- and allow them to tell their own stories. In terms of execution, the production will see storytelling lead Dale Jarvis work with Shakespeare theatre director Danielle Irvine to coach and guide four emerging young Newfoundland female storytellers for the final performance. It is a project about strong women and transformation, on many levels; it is about mentorship as much as it is about performance.

Project lead is storyteller Dale Jarvis. Dale tells ghost stories, legends and traditional tales from Newfoundland and beyond. Founder of the St. John's Storytelling Circle, and co-founder of the St. John’s Storytelling Festival, Dale is the volunteer webmaster for World Storytelling Day. Since 1997, Dale has been the host of the St. John's Haunted Hike, named "Event of the Year" by the City of St. John's. He has told stories in Canada, the US, Netherlands, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, and England. Author of several books on Newfoundland folklore, Dale has also taught workshops across North America on historical storytelling. He has helped hundreds of people to tell their stories, and is committed to spreading his passion for storytelling and oral traditions.

Dale will be working on this project with Danielle Irvine, who will be providing dramaturgy and overseeing Shakespearean textual work with the storytellers.  A nationally-acclaimed director and teacher, Danielle Irvine is the artistic director of Perchance Theatre Company, a Newfoundland-based professional Shakespeare company.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland and is one of four professional directors who graduated from the National Theatre School of Canada's Directing Program (English) in 1996.  She has won the Canada Council for the Arts prestigious John Hirsch Prize for Directing and the Elinore and Lou Siminovitch Protégée Prize.  In addition to co-founding two other successful theatre companies (including the popular Shakespeare-by-the-Sea Festival)  she is also the current founding Artistic Director of Sweetline Theatre.  When not in theatre, Danielle is busy in film and television, most recently as the NL Casting Director for Republic of Doyle.

“Owl Was a Baker's Daughter: Folk Tales That Inspired Shakespeare” will open in April 2016.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Call for Auditions - Owl Was a Baker's Daughter: Folk Tales That Inspired Shakespeare

Call for Auditions
Owl Was a Baker's Daughter: Folk Tales That Inspired Shakespeare
Sweetline Theatre Company

Award-winning director Danielle Irvine and noted storyteller Dale Jarvis are joining forces to develop a new work combining theatre and storytelling traditions. The show is inspired both by the 2016 World Storytelling Day theme of “Strong Women” and the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare.

In a continuation of the ancient practice of storytelling, playwright William Shakespeare adapted tales he had heard as a child for theatre audiences, and many of Shakespeare’s plays derive their plots directly from folktales.

“Owl Was a Baker's Daughter: Folk Tales That Inspired Shakespeare” will mentor four emerging female performers through a creative process merging classical theatre and traditional storytelling.

We are look for four female performers, aged approximately 18-35 with a background in either theatre or storytelling.

Auditions will be held Sunday, January 24th. Location will be sent with confirmation of audition time.

Performers are asked to prepare one Aesop’s Fable (www.aesopfables.com) told in their own words, and one Shakespeare monologue.

This is a profit-share production, opening in April.

To book an audition time, please contact stage manager Kelly L. Jones at kellly@sweetlinetheatre.ca

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Ghost story writing program for youth! Sept 25, St. John's

Calling all aspiring young writers! Hone your writing skills for this year's St John's Public Libraries Ghost Story Writing Contest with our friend, author Charis Cotter.

Charis has toured Canada from coast to coast, entertaining and educating children with her lively, engaging book presentations. Her latest novel, The Swallow: A Ghost Story, won the IODE Violet Downey Book Award and was named an Honour Book of 2015 by the Canadian Library Association.

Program suitable for children and youth ages 9-17.
Friday September 25 @ 3:30pm

For more information about this event, call (709) 737-3020

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Ghosts of Signal Hill returns with new actors Brad Stone & Chris Bishop

Daring escapes, murdered pirates, ghost ships, buried treasure, tragic drownings, and headless phantoms: it is all in a night’s work at Signal Hill National Historic Site!

Ghosts of Signal Hill is back in full swing, running every Friday and Saturday night at 8pm for all of July and August. Tickets are limited for each show, and available in advance (cash sale only) from the Signal Hill Visitor Centre.

The show returns this year with two new actors taking on the role of the dashing Lieutenant Ranslaer Schuyler: Brad Stone and Chris Bishop.  Brad takes to the stage for the first time this summer on Friday; Chris takes over for Saturday night's show. Show creator Dale Jarvis will also fill the role select nights in August.

Despite being a busy realtor and a father of two, or perhaps because of it, Brad Stone has spent over twenty years on, off, and near the stage. Recently he has performed in the Twilight Zone episodes Escape Clause as Walter Bedeker and To Serve Man as Michael Chambers. He has also played Elwood P. Dowd in Harvey, The King of France in King Lear, Lennox in Macbeth, Mortimer Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace, Tranio in Taming of the Shrew, Oedipus in In Your Dreams Freud, and more. Despite the fact that this is certainly not his first show on the hill, he still hasn’t gotten used to the cold.

Chris Bishop is a native of St. John’s and is graced with a wonderful and supportive fiancée, Sabrina Roberts, of whom he is eternally grateful. Chris would also like to extend a thank you to Ghost Conservationist, Dale Jarvis. Chris recently performed in the St. John’s Players’ production of VIMY which traveled to the NL Drama Festival in Gander, where Chris took home the award for Best Actor. When not on stage Chris enjoys working to help families as a Child Management Specialist.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Haunted Hike news for the week of Canada Day

Happy Canada Day from all of us here at the St. John's Haunted Hike!

And yes, we will be running our regular "Ghosties and Ghoulies" Tour tonight, Wednesday, July 1st, and Thursday, July 2nd.

Also, starting this week, is our "Ghosts of Signal Hill" program. We open this Friday and Saturday, at 8pm.  Tickets are limited, and are available in advance from the Signal Hill Visitor Centre on Signal Hill Road. Tickets are $15, cash sale only. Then we are back downtown on Sunday with our "Sinners and Spirits" Tour!

Full details on all our programs available at www.hauntedhike.com

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

What I've learned in cultural tourism: Seven storytelling tips.

I’ve been running the St. John’s Haunted Hike ghost tour and working as a professional storyteller since 1997, and along the way, I have trained many other storytellers, guides, museum workers and interpreters, volunteers, and docents about telling stories in museums, historic sites, and parks. I was recently asked for a list of things I have learning in a cultural tourism context.

So, in no particular order, here are seven of my tips for anyone in the cultural tourism sector. We are all storytellers, in one way or another!

1. People want to hear good stories, well told. Take the time to find and invest in good, engaging storytellers. These might be local experts or tradition bearers who know more than anyone about their particular topic. Or they might be professional storytellers, cultural interpreters, or actors. Find and use the best!

2. Tourists want to feel like they are in on something local, or something secret. I have had many people say “I would never have gone down that alleyway by myself.” Even locals have told me, “I’ve lived here all my life, and I never knew that place existed.” People love to explore and discover things and places that are new to them. Be their guide into a new realm!

3.  Tell real stories about real people. Don’t fake a story, or make up a lie about a place, when there are so many real historical stories, or honest expressions of local folklore, begging to be told. These can be stories from archival accounts, from newspaper clippings, or from interviews conducted with living residents. Local tall tales and legends are great, too, if they are part of a living oral tradition. Stories need to be true, even when they aren’t!

4.  Tell a story you love, and your audience will love it too. We have all been stuck on that tour (you know the one) with a guide who has memorized information they care nothing about, and who are almost as bored as you are in the telling of it. Find the story that speaks to you, one that you are passionate about, and share your love!

5.  Don’t be afraid of difficult stories. They need to be told, and people want to hear them. When people come to Newfoundland, as an example, they want to know about the collapse of the cod fishery from people who have lived it, they want to know about the seal hunt. Sometimes painful stories need and deserve to be told, just as much as the fun stories.

6.  Stories are a living thing. Stories need to be told in order to be stories! Dances need to be danced, songs need to be sung. Stories can not just live in a book, or on a signboard or museum panel. They are meant to be told in person, in the words of an old Scottish proverb, “eye to eye, mind to mind, heart to heart.” Storytelling is a participatory art, and people love to feel like they are involved in the telling.

7.  Be mindful of whose stories you are telling, and whose stories are not being told. Certain stories are sacred, and you should be careful about expropriating someone else’s voice. At the same time, all voices and experiences need to be heard. Pay attention to which stories are silent, and find ways to help share them.

Got a question? Or want a workshop? Email me at dale@dalejarvis.ca.

Monday, 27 April 2015

The Devil at the Dance: a contemporary legend from Spaniard's Bay

Last week, friends over at DanceNL asked if I'd tell a story for International Dance Day. I had just the story!  Here is the video they recorded of me telling a story from Spaniard's Bay, about a girl who danced with the Devil Himself.

If you want a print copy, I wrote the story up a while back for the Telegram.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Announcing the themes for World Storytelling Day 2016 and 2017!

World Storytelling Day is a global celebration of the art of oral storytelling. It is celebrated every year on the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, the first day of autumn equinox in the southern. On World Storytelling Day, as many people as possible tell and listen to stories in as many languages and at as many places as possible, during the same day and night.

The annual theme for World Storytelling Day is identified by and agreed upon by storytellers from around the world using the WSD listserve, website and facebook page.

The discussion this year produced a large number of suggestions, everything from Adventure and Battle, to Wonder and Youth. The suggestions were collected, and then everyone was allowed to pick for their favourites. There were some strong contenders, such as "Around the World in 80 Stories" and "Crossing Borders" but two themes won out in the end. The top pick will be the theme for 2016, the second pick will be the theme for 2017. And here they are, chosen by 443 storytellers from every part of the globe:

2016 - Strong Women

2017 - Transformation

Thanks to all the contributors, volunteers, storytellers, and story lovers who have been participating!

- Dale Jarvis, WSD webmaster.

World Storytelling Day logo by Mats Rehnman.