Thursday, April 25, 2013

Calm Performance Jitters

      Most storytellers can remember the first scary time they got up to tell a story. Time and self-confidence makes performance easier, but there are still times when nerves can give rise to a case of the jitters  Over the years I've learned some ways to calm myself. Try these the next time you get up to tell a story.
  •       Know your stuff. Pay special attention to the beginning, main points and end of the story. Practice telling your story in front of a friend and get some constructive feedback.
  •          Get there early. Don't arrive late and in a panic. If you haven't been there before, check it out on google maps. Check out the parking lots and make sure you have the right building.
  •          Check out the room. I like to stand up where I will be performing and say something to check the sound. I look around for distractions and I check out any props, tables or chairs that I might be using,
  •           Check out the crowd. As people arrive, I mingle with them and introduce myself. When the time comes I will be telling to individual friends and not to some big, amorphous group.
  •          Remember to breath. Before starting the story pause to center yourself and take several deep, slow breaths. This can really relax a person.
  •          Take your time. Be focused, deliberate and expressive. There is no point rushing through your story.
 I  hope you will find these tips helpful. 
       Let me know what you do to calm those pre-presentation jitters.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Every professional storyteller needs a website

Here's why you need a website. In this age of social media, when a person wants something, the first place they check is the web. The storyteller's URL is their face to the world and their business card. If you are going to put your best foot forward to a perspective employer, this is the place to do it. The small addition of your URL to every twitter profile, blog or business card, is an invitation for someone to find out more about you.

What goes on your website? People will want to know the type of stories you tell and what the performance will cost them. Will you do workshops? They want to see what people have been saying about your performances and if you have cds for sale. Share where you have been telling, where you are now and where your travels will take you in the future: you may be coming to their neighbourhood....A podcast story or two could also be an asset. An "About Me" section will also tell them a bit more about the artist behind the stories. There may be more, but at the very least a contact form/email address and links to Facebook and Twitter will round off the site.

Facebook and Twitter are necessary, but will not replace a good website. Through them you can interact directly with your fans and raise the awareness of your work. Often, they become a record of the comments, perceptions thoughts and opinions of others, rather than the messages that you may want to communicate.

Keep your website up to date and link to lots of other storytelling sites. Encourage others to link to you. The search engines will notice your efforts and give you top results. When someone is looking on Google for a storyteller, they will find the one with a good website.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CCWOC 2013 Residency Call

Storytellers of Canada - Conteurs du Canada received the following email on 1/12/12. It looks like a great opportunity for the right person.

Call for Applications: Writer/Storyteller-in-Residence
A professional writer and/or storyteller is sought for the position of
Writer/Storyteller‑in‑Residence at the University of Manitoba's Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture. The residency, from about September 5 to December 13, 2013, will require the successful candidate to spend approximately 16 hours per week providing mentorship and practical artistic advice to developing writers and storytellers at the University of Manitoba, to give a limited number of readings and/or performances on campus, and to lead an informal non-credit workshop. The remaining time is to be devoted to the writer or storyteller’s own artistic projects. The successful candidate will receive a salary of $20,000.00 CAD, accommodation and return transportation to Winnipeg.
The Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture is an interdisciplinary centre with a mandate to promote the creation and the study of the verbal arts, both oral and written. Located at the University of Manitoba in the city of Winnipeg, the Centre sponsors readings, lectures, master classes and creative community projects that explore the connections between oral and written culture. Winnipeg is renowned for its vibrant arts community and its multicultural citizenry, including the largest urban population of Aboriginal people in North America. The Centre builds upon these local cultural strengths as a basis for its creative and critical work. To learn more about the Centre, visit
Applicants should provide a covering letter summarizing their qualifications for the position and describing the artistic and mentoring work they would undertake during the residency. Applications must also include a CV or résumé of career achievements (publications, performances, awards, residencies), a writing sample of no more than 20 pages (double-spaced and typed in a standard 12-point font) and two letters of reference discussing the applicant’s skills as an artist and a mentor.
Candidates of all nationalities are encouraged to apply; however, full proficiency in English is required, and publications or performance credits in English would be an asset. The Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture is committed to principles of employment equity. The application deadline is Wednesday, October 24, 2012.
Electronic submissions of application materials are accepted at the Centre’s email address, but attachments must be in Microsoft Word, PDF, RTF or DocX only. Please direct inquiries and electronic application materials to Applicants may also submit hardcopy applications to:
Dr. Warren Cariou, Director
Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture, University of Manitoba
391 University College, 220 Dysart Road
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2M8 CANADA
Books and other materials sent in support of applications will not be returned.
Jessica Woolford, M.A.
Assistant to the Director
Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture
391 University College, 220 Dysart Road
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T2M8
ph: 204.480.1065
fax: 204.261.0021

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Story North

Just got the new advert for Story North, a super storytelling conference to be held at the end of May in Yellowknife. It will feature the best storytellers from the Canadian North West, and more...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Storyfest 2011

Intrepid Theatre Club (Fisgard at Blanshard). Friday, April 15, 7:30 pm to 9:30 
Stories from Around the World and Close to Home.Our kick-off event, World Storytelling Day was such a hit, we had to turn people away at the door. Don't miss the rest of the series!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Storynorth is the 2011 annual conference of the Storytellers of Canada-Raconteurs du CanadaIt will be held 26-29 May in Yellowknife, NWT.

The First Telling:  North /South/East/West - Thursday May 26   9:00 – 10:00pm

As an opening session, the FirstTelling will take place as part of the Opening Reception. Attending Tellers are all eligible for this opening set as upon registering they will be asked to designate themselves from one of the four directions in relation to their northern setting.  Example  – Alberta is due south and everything east of that is East and everything west of that is West. (it will make for some new Canadian alliances.)   Their names will then be placed in a direction box and then drawn from the box t the beginning of the reception.  These drawn tellers are then asked to bring us an opening story celebrating their direction.

Welcome Story: Dawn Lacey:  The Break of Bread -Friday May 27, 2011  10:00am
Dawn Lacey has been breaking bread to begin the NACC Storytelling Festivals for many years and this year will be no different. The significance of coming together to listen, to share and to break newly baked bread, whose recipe has been passed down through the generations is a grounded commencement for the Conference.   

Next Gen Tellers Concert - Friday May 27, 2011  2:15 -3:15pm
One of the concerns raised by storytelling organizations has been – where is the next generation of tellers?  What stories are they telling?  Where are they telling? The first formal concert of the Conference will focus upon four young northern tellers who are able to rip it up and put it out there. The concert will feature Aaron Hernandez, Annie Fletcher, Reneltta Arluk and Elora Braden.  The concert promises to be a contrast of  new light and dark and youthful beats and introspection. Lots of surprises in store.

Storytelling and Northern Development with Patrick Scott - Friday May 27, 2011 3:30 – 5:00pm
Patrick Scott is a veteran of northern development. “Stories Told” is his recently published book he will take you back into the epic journey of the Berger Inquiry where Judge Berger travelled from one northern community to another to hear stories told from the hearts of the people who lived in the North from time immemorial,  Through the telling of vivid stories about life on the land, the course of development history in Canada was altered as the Mackenzie Valley pipeline was halted and democracy was reborn. This is a special workshop of interest to all who believe in the power of stories to be able to reform the world we live in.

Caribou Droppings Concert  - Friday May 27, 2011  8:00 – 9:30pm
The Friday evening concert will take you across the northern half of Canada featuring tellers from Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The concert will be hosted by Ben Nind (NWT) and will feature Sharon Shorty (Yukon), Pat Braden (NWT), Michael Kusagak (Nunavut) and Moira Cameron (NWT) with a special appearance by Rene Fumoleau (NWT).  

Welcome Story: Moira Cameron - Saturday May 28, 2011  10:00am
Moira Cameron will greet the new day with a morning story. Moira has been known to the Canadian storytelling scene since she performed at the first 1001 Friday Nights storytelling club in Toronto. She made an impression then, and she is still at it. Although she loves telling traditional folk tales or performing recitations, Moira has devoted much of her performing talents to the ‘singing’ story form –ancient ballads of England, Scotland, the US and Canada.

  Storytelling and Self Determination with John B Zoe. -
Saturday May 28, 2011  2:00 – 3:30pm     Northern Heritage Centre
John B Zoe is a member of the Tåîchô Nation and currently serves as the senior advisor to the Tåîchô Government. Mr. Zoe was born and raised in Behchokö  and was appointed chief negotiator to represent the Tåîchô in negotiations with the governments of Canada to help settle the land claim and obtain self-government. The final agreement and the  Tåîchô  Government  became effective on August 2005. His linkage of stories to the roots of identity are unshakeable.  This workshop is for those interested in how we identify ourselves within our own culture.

Accessing You Greatest Resource – Ivan Coyot

Saturday May 29, 2011 3:30 – 5:00pm    
Northern Arts and Cultural Centre Ivan Coyote was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. An award-winning author of six collections of short stories, one novel, three CD’s, four short films and a renowned performer, Ivan’s first love is live storytelling, and over the last seventeen years she has become an audience favourite at music, poetry, spoken word and writer’s festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam. Ivan will be exploring the theme of personal experience as an unlimited  renewable resource for storytelling material.  This is an essential workshop for those who want to free up, get down and get dirty from a master of personal reflections of her own space and the world that surrounds her.

Telling the Wood Buffalo National Park Story  – Ria Coleman 

Saturday May 29, 2011 3:30 – 5:00pm    Northern Heritage Centre
Ria is a South Slave Métis woman of Beaulieu lineage, who was born in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. She is the great, great, great granddaughter of Francois Beaulieu II, who is the first Métis man of the Northwest Territories. Ria’s Chipewyan (Dene) ancestors have lived in this area for 10,000 years.  Ria is also head of park interpretation for Wood Buffalo National Park and a leader in park education through storytelling initiatives.  Ria will be presenting a host of stories and tools used to celebrate North Americas largest park.  

Caribou Droppings Concert  2  - Saturday May 28, 2011  8:00 – 9:30pm 
The Saturday evening concert will take you into the heart of the north featuring tellers from Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The concert will be hosted by Sharon Shorty (Yukon) and will feature Ria Coleman (NWT), Jim Green (NWT), Michael Kusagak (Nunavut) and John B Zoe (NWT) with a special appearance by Michel Labine (NWT).

Welcome Story: Jim Green NWT - Sunday May 29, 2011  10:00am 
Jim Green will kick the final morning of the gathering to the moon.  He is a celebrated storyteller, poet, writer, broadcaster, and performer who has been living in the Northwest Territories of Canada for more than forty years. He’s a gyrating old counter-culture buzzard with a keen wit, sharp tongue, twinkling eye, and an infectious sense of wonder at this life.

Caribou Droppings Concert  3 - Sunday May 29, 2011  2:30 – 4:00pm 
The Saturday evening concert will take you to the edge of the polar shelf and then back again featuring tellers from Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The concert will be hosted by Michael Kusagak (Nunavut) and will feature Sharon Shorty (Yukon), Jim Green (NWT), Moira Cameron (Nunavut) and Ivan Coyote (Yukon) with a special appearance by Pat Braden (NWT).

Note:  That these events/details are as planned at this time and the schedule may change at anytime.
For more information go to the SC-CC and to Storynorth websites.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Since 1991, on the spring equinox, as many people as possible, in as many communities as possible around the world, celebrate the art of oral storytelling by telling and listening to stories on the same day.  Each year a theme is chosen. For 2011, the theme is “water”.
This is the first year the Victoria Storytellers’ Guild (VSG) has organized special concerts in order to participate with other storytellers across Canada and internationally on World Storytelling Day. Come out and celebrate a world of stories AT THE Intrepid Theatre, 1609 Blanshard at Fisgard, Sunday March 20, 2011
  • Afternoon concert for children and families: 2 - 3 pm
  • Evening concert for adults and mature children: 7 - 9 pm
Storytellers: Pat Carfra, Jennifer Ferris, Diane Gilliland, Peg Hasted, Jacquie Hunt, Sandra Johnson, Shoshana Litman, Margo McLoughlin, and Faye Mogensen.
Evening Concert Host: Lee Porteous
Tickets at the door; afternoon concert by donation; evening concert $10 per adult and $5 per child         

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