In an age where adults and children alike spend a large part of their day staring at a screen, one local festival celebrates the power of imagination through storytelling.
Formerly the Quebec Intercultural Storytelling Festival, the 14th edition will now be known as the Montreal Intercultural Storytelling Festival since the events will be concentrated exclusively on the island of Montreal, says festival director Stéphanie Bénéteau.
The festival, which runs from Oct. 20 to 29, features more than 70 local and international artists, with a growing number of Anglophone events.
Kicking off the English portion of the festival on Oct.21 is In the Eye of Storm: Stories for a Broken World where several artists will share tales of hope and perseverance in a troubled time through storytelling.
Some of the highlights, says Bénéteau, include a performance by a storyteller TUUP (pictured right) who will incorporate music into his free Tales of Transformation show at the Westmount Library on Oct.21 for kids ages 6 and up.
On Oct.28, Canadian storyteller Selina Eisenberg-Smith will regale little ones ages 4 and up with spooky Halloween tales at the J.P. Dawson Library, while Jeanne Ferron (pictured left – credit: Nicolas Brodard) will enchant toddlers ages 3 and up with her Ma Mère Laie show at the Maison de la culture Frontenac.
Although many artists center their performances on older and well-known tales, Bénéteau says that storytelling is more than just the rehashing of legends. This year, the festival opens up the conversation to important issues like those faced by the LGBTQ and Indigenous communities.
Writer and storyteller Ivan Coyote will share his personal experiences as a transgender person at la Sala Rossa during the If and When performance on Oct. 25. On Friday, Oct.27, non-profit organization Wapikoni Mobile will present short films created by young First Nations people at the Grande Bibliothèque.
“Stories have a lot to teach us about the human condition,” Bénéteau says.
For more information and the full festival program, visit www.festival-conte.qc.ca