There’s nothing so pleasurable as a good story and we feast on them constantly. While we can devour our stories as literature, television, film, video, visual art, or via another art or media, we also love them the way they were meant to be served: orally. The popularity of podcasts/radio shows like the Moth (true stories told live without notes), This American Life, Risk (stories you’d never dare to tell), and Snap Judgement (stories told with a beat) indicates that storytelling is huge these days. Montreal has its share of live storytelling nights that are well-attended and long lived. Yarn and Confabulation are two that come to mind, but there are others.
If you’re a fan of storytelling or have lost touch with the part of you that loves a good tale, the Québec Intercultural Storytelling Festival (Festival Interculturel du Conte Québec) is worth checking out. Lend your ears and imagination to a master storyteller for an hour and see how easy it is to live someone else’s experience. There are over 75 different storytellers participating in over 80 events over 10 days. For the full calendar, click HERE.
While most of the events are in French, every single day of the festival features English language and bilingual programming as well. Some events are geared for kids, but many more are not. Some events are free, others aren’t. They take place all over the city. Lend them your ears and you won’t be disappointed.
Here are some events to check out:
The Opening Night Gala has a mix of storytellers. Brian Katz provides musical accompaniment to Dan Yashinsky, Marta Singh, Ron Evans, Jan Gregory, and Roman Pylat (October 16, 8 p.m., Victoria Hall Westmount (4626 Sherbrooke W, $15/10)
Toronto storyteller Dan Yashinsky and Brian Katz continue the journey the next day with Talking You In, about a father’s relationship to his prematurely born baby. He tells the baby stories, Scheherazade style, to try and build a connection. (October 17, 8 p.m., Maison de la culture NDG (3755 rue Botrel), free)
Gilgamesh seems to be on everyone’s mind these days when a fifth tablet of the Mesopotamian epic was discussed on the internet recently. Find out what Nadine Walsh, Franck Sylvestre, and Jean-Sébastien Bernard have to say on the theme Sacré Choeur de Gilgamesh. (October 19, 8 p.m., Espace La Risée, $10).
We’re super psyched to hear the many stories told by Métis storyteller, mythteller, and oral historian, Ron Evans. He appears in multiple shows throughout the festival, including Stories and Myths from the Métis (October 22, 6 p.m., Concordia School of Community and Public Affairs (2149 Mackay St), free), stories about Wesakechak the Trickster (October 23, 2 p.m., Reginald J.P. Dawson Library (1967 Graham Blvd), free), Stories and Songs about the First Peoples done with singer Jose Brown. Brown gave up a career in British fashion design to study with Ron Evans and other elders so she has her own life story to tell too! (October 23, 8 p.m., Maison de la culture NDG (3755 rue Botrel), free). The Metis and the Mi’kmaq will meet when Ron and Robert Seven Crows come together for a night of shared storytelling (October 24, 2 p.m., Stewart Museum (20 chemin du Tour de l’Isle), $10).
Speak No Evil has Marta Singh telling tales of Argentina, a country where citizens were told “Silence is health.” Growing up in such a politically charged place, she explores how the illusion of perfection is often naive innocence (October 20, 2 p.m., Cote st Luc Library (5851 CAvendish Blvd), free).
Everyone loves stories of love and they exist worldwide. Les plus belles historires d’amour is the theme of Les Grandes Soirées on October 20. Taxi Conteur comes from the Ivory Coast, Najoua Dariwche comes from Lebanon, Michel Hindenoch from France, and Renée Robitaille comes from Quebec to tell these stories (October 20, 8 p.m., Maison de la culture Frontenac, free, in French).
Marta Singh returns again with a tale that blurs the line between truth and fiction in A Dubious Blessing. The premise is that two old women tell tales to their loved ones. While the tales are lies, they reveal truths. (October 21, 6 p.m., Concordia University Hall building (1455 Maisonneuve W), free).
Check out David Hickey’s Slamtastique Story Slam which has an open mike for eight storytellers. They have ten minutes to tell their tales. (October 25, 7 p.m., Cafe Mariposa (5434 Cote st Luc Rd), $10).
For those who want to do a real marathon of storytelling, 40 storytellers will spend 10 hours telling tales, themed by the hour at Le Marathon du Conte. Many will be performing, including Jose Brown. (October 24, noon-10 p.m., Maison de la Culture Frontenac, free)
The Québec Intercultural Storytelling Festival takes place from October 16-25. Check out all information HERE.