Do you know where you come from? Is it from the back of a turtle? Or did you grow like a leaf from the branch of a tree?
And how do you know that? Did your Grandmother tell you? Or did you listen when your uncles and aunties gathered? Or was it a bird pecking on your shoulder?
You probably know who you are because someone – or something – close to you has told you a story. Stories not only teach us WHO we are and HOW we got here, but WHY we are here.
Every person has a story. There is a great tradition of telling and sharing stories that transcends time, space, geography and language.
This week the 11th Annual Winnipeg International Storytelling Festival takes place in schools and public venues all across the city. The performances and workshops are all free and open to all who have ever told a story or heard a story.
“I have come to include the yearly arrival of the Winnipeg International Storytelling Festival along with sighting my first robin and swatting my first mosquito as a sure sign that we have survived the winter,” says storyteller Marc Kuly.
“Maybe that’s why it always feels like such a welcome celebration. Or maybe it’s because the stories it brings are simply so good at bringing people together across ages, ethnicities, and neighbourhoods,” Kuly says.
“It’s a Winnipeg gem and I can’t wait to hear new stories and meet new people at it this year.”
The varied and experienced storytellers speak with their voices, their hands, the rest of their bodies. Sometimes puppets do the telling, too.
“Storytelling is the thread that weaves around the world and ties us to each other. Every joy, fear, sorrow, and longing can be found in the tales that have survived time,” says storyteller and playwright Leigh-Anne Kehler. “When we sit at the feet of the teller, we are connecting to wisdom beyond our individual scope. We are deepening our understanding of what it means to be united under one canopy.”
Kehler say stories keep us grounded, and give us flight, in these challenging times.
“Stories remind us to be courageous and kind,” she says. “They are medicine for the troubled heart and will feed us when we are starving for new ways of being … And the storytelling festival makes a great night out, with voices of artists from all corners of the globe.”
Come join us May 11-14. Details on schedules and venues can be found on the Festival page of the Arthur Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice at St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba.
You can also contact the Mauro Centre to learn more: 204.474.7273.
What’s your story?