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Crossing borders and boundaries on the wings of a story... Kootenay Storytelling Festival

By Contributor
September 12th, 2014

Don’t miss the 2014 Kootenay Storytelling Festival, a long-weekend of performances for every age in Nelson from September 18-21.

Due to popular response, the 2014 Kootenay Storytelling Festival is now a day longer, with over 50 events across four days.


Kraft Singles for Everyone is a heart-felt and heartbreaking performance that opens with the death of a beloved matriarch and touches on such subjects as being an ex Catholic queer and the dynamics of small town big families, and leaves us all asking ourselves what we truly inherit from the blood that runs in our veins.

“Coyote is to Canadian literature what kd lang is to country music: a beautifully odd fixture.”

Ottawa Xpress Grappling with the complex and intensely personal issues of gender identity as well as topics such as family, class, and social justice, Ivan Coyote is an audience favourite from Anchorage to Amsterdam.

With a generous heart, a quick wit, and the nuanced and finely-honed timing of a gifted raconteur, Ivan’s stories remind of us of our own fallible and imperfect humanity while at the same time inspiring us to change the world.

Since the midnineties, singer-songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist sideman Jon Wood has toured North America and Europe extensively. As a record producer he has worked with growing numbers of independent Canadian artists including Herald Nix, Rae Spoon and The Beige.


Pauline Lamb is well-known musically throughout the Kootenays as everything from a well-kept secret, to a hoodlum, to the queen of Ymir. She has performed her own work solo and in many bands: jam bands, funk, soul, blues, rock, roots, folk.

She says she has “found profound solace in the writing of songs.

They have saved me, soothed me, haunted me, woken me in the middle of the night, kept me out of trouble and got me in trouble; they have an energy and drive of their own.”

Magpie Ulysses is a dynamic performance poet and storyteller known for charming and slaying her audiences with her intense stage presence and thoughtful insight about humanity.

She has performed at hundreds of venues across North America, is a veteran of the Vancouver poetry slam, and was recently named a Poet of Honour at the Canadian festival Of Spoken Word In the Fall of 2012.

Exploring themes of space, fear, faith, place, and the act of storytelling, “Past Presence; Pleiotropy & the impossible cycle of being” is a collection of prose poems telling the stories of strangers and self from Magpie’s experiences of hitchhiking over 25,000km across North America in her late teens and early 20’s.

The performance crosses the boundaries between spoken word, performance poetry, and theatre with a reflective yet explosive eclectic electric soundtrack composed by award-winning musician James Lamb.

Respected and loved by musicians in Nelson and across the country for his dynamic guitar work, tenor voice and well crafted songs, James’ commanding stage presence has been known to plunge even the noisiest bar goers into mesmerized silence.

“…the most captivating and original spoken word performance I have seen in years. Years of hitchhiking, memories and life lessons are distilled in a series of stories that are simultaneously life affirming, terrifying and simply brilliant. Go see this show. For the sake of all things poetry, go see this show.“- Charles Hamilton, founder Tonight it’s Poetry – Saskatoon


The Kootenay Storytelling Festival is now officially international, with Masako Sueyoshi joining us from Japan. Born and raised in Tokyo, Masako has told stories around the world.

In 2005, Masako was the International Guest Artist at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, where she told in both English and Japanese to an audience of hundreds.

Returning due to popular demand, Anne Glover known for fine audience rapport, a quick wit, and her ability to bring characters to life out of thin air. She has appeared at countless schools, festivals, and conferences across
the continent, enchanting audiences of all ages and inspiring a whole generation with her stories and string games.

Storyteller, puppeteer and librarian, Mariella Bertelli has shared her wide repertoire of English and Italian stories internationally for many years.
Musician, theatre maker, and educator, Bessie Wapp is known for her incredible stage presence and performs locally, nationally, and internationally.
Having learned the art of storytelling from elders of his community, Joe Pierre has come to be known as one of the finest storytellers the Ktunaxa First Nation has produced.

Creator of the Legend of Gunpowder Gertie, long-time local resident Carolyn McTaggart comes by the proclivity of tale telling quite honestly: it turns out that her father was responsible for the legend of the Thetis Lake Monster.

Trained at The National Theatre School of Canada, Richard Rowberry is the administrator of The Nelson History Theatre Society and Artstic Director of The Nelson Theatre Company (TNT).


The Kootenay Storytelling Festival runs from September 18-21, 2014 at Expressions, The Capitol Theatre, The Old Church, and Hart Hall. Full schedule and ticketing information is available online at

Categories: Arts and Culture

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