Toronto Storytelling Festival director outlines how local yarnspinners are preparing for the festival

Spring has officially arrived, which means we’re just days away from the Toronto Storytelling Festival. Join us Sunday, April 2 for a day of family fun featuring multilingual performances, an African riddle contest, a Teddy Bear picnic and more.

But first, Toronto Storytelling Festival director Dan Yashinsky outlines how local yarnspinners are preparing for the big day.

I was once rehearsing the Princess and the Pea.  I like to walk around and talk to myself when I’m working on a story.  It was a foggy night and I was walking by the Brunswick Tavern.  Just as I passed, I called out, “But she must be a real princess!”  Two college kids who’d had a little too much beer walked by at the same time.  They turned to look at me and muttered, “Good luck finding her!”

In the lead-up to the 2017 Toronto Storytelling Festival you may notice people walking the streets of Toronto talking to themselves.  Or maybe they’re having strangely long conversations with their dogs in the dogpark.  This storytelling business can be embarrassing.  Sometimes, by way of cover, I’ll hold my cellphone up to my ear and pretend to be talking to someone.  But what I’m really doing is practicing fairytales.  Maybe Toronto’s yarnspinners should just wear hats that say STORYTELLER IN REHEARSAL.

Anyway, don’t be alarmed.  All of these wandering storytellers are just a sign of early spring, when the Toronto Storytelling Festival takes place.  The ice is starting to melt, the first flowers are poking their dazed heads above the frozen mud, the birdsong is getting stronger and brighter each morning.  And the city’s storytellers are getting ready to spin their yarns, to make us feel exhilarating suspense, to gather us into the circle of wonder, to make us laugh and cry with their words-of-mouth and words-of-heart.  Yes, the festival is coming.  There’s more light in the world now that we’ve reached the vernal equinox.  An old Jewish saying goes:  The more stories you know, the more ways you have of telling the truth.  A good thing to remember in these times.

Dan Yashinsky
Director, Toronto Storytelling Festival