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 OTTAWA STORYTELLERS Speaking Out Series 2016 - 2017

Ottawa StoryTellers 2016-2017 season was an eclectic mix of great storytelling to entertain and enlighten. The season ran from December 2016 to May 2017. Stay tuned to hear annoucements about the upcoming 2017-2018 series!



Oatcakes and Heartaches – Scottish Tales Carried Over the Ocean 

written & performed by Kathie Kompass, Marta Singh & Mary Wiggin. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Academic Hall, University of Ottawa

Ottawa StoryTellers invites you to enjoy a fine evening of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales. Come celebrate the Scottish settlers, who braved the wild Atlantic in search of a better life. They had few material goods but many brought stories with them, stories from the Highlands, the Lowlands, the Orkneys and the Outer Hebrides, stories that helped sustain them in their, often lonely, struggle to build a new life in Canada. Scots gathered by many a hearth, on a cold winter’s night, to enjoy cherished magical tales of a blue-eyed hare, a witch and a swarm of bees; a water kelpie, a wise old woman and a courageous boy; and a beautiful maiden, a fisher lad and a mermaid. This is a family show suitable for children ten years of age and older. Not to be missed!


Tale of the Monkey Queen 

with Diana Tso & cellist Marjolaine Fournier





Friday, January 27, 2017

Arts Court Theatre, 2 Daly Avenue

Inspired by the Chinese mythology of Monkey King in Wu Cheng-en’s 16th century novel, Journey to the West, Diana Tso and Marjolaine Fournier, musician on the double base/cello, have mesmerized audiences with their story of the Monkey Queen. Born from a jaded stone in the mountains of the west, Monkey Queen is guided by an ancient stone and a shaman’s wisdom toward the east. Her journey takes us into the realm of myth and magic across the Canadian landscape in her sacred mission as both beast and woman warrior. New music and a fresh and exciting perspective breathe energy and excitement into this ancient legend.

A storyteller and theatre artist, Diana Tso is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the École Internationale de Théatre de Jacques Lecoq in France. Marjolaine Fournier became a member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in 1991 after earning a premier Prix in doublebass and chamber music at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec.


Letters Have Souls: The Tragic Correspondence of Heloise & Abelard

adapted by Phil Nagy with Phil Nagy & Naomi Tessler, & Femke Bergsma (musician)


Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 7:30 pm

National Arts Centre: Back Stage - click here for tickets

A passionate tale of love and loss that has resonated down the centuries, our tale begins when renowned scholar Abelard finds his way into the trusted position of tutor to the young and innocent Heloise in 12th century Paris. Heloise, the niece of Notre Dame’s Canon Fulbert succumbs to Abelard’s charms and bears his child. Soon after, Canon Fulbert takes a terrible revenge on Abelard. It all seems over for the two unfortunate lovers until a chance encounter through letters connects them years later. Now a woman who has suffered for love, Heloise proves the more hopeful and steadfast as she struggles to engage her former seducer in a mature relationship based on devotion and faith.

Phil Nagy has been creating and performing storytelling shows for decades with storytelling partner Anne Nagy. Most recently, Phil and Anne wrote and performed Ain’t Misbehavin’, a highly successful performance based on the lives of the great jazz artists of the early 20th century. Naomi Tessler is an actor and Artistic Director of Branch Out Theatre, a company devoted to using storytelling as a tool of entertainment and community engagement.

Femke Bergsma, a graduate of the Utrecht Conservatory in Holland, is a Quebec-based medieval music specialist.  She has performed with Quebec's Les Violons du Roy, Ottawa's Thirteen Strings, and Toronto's Tafelmusik. The incidental music she is providing comes from the 12th and 13th centuries, and is played on vielle (a five-string precursor of the viola), gems horn, and recorder, as well as voice.


Voices from the Adoption Files *SOLD OUT*

Stories drawn from the 1960s Adoption Scoop reveal the power of healing. Compelling tales told of a deep love that mends the spirit. Join us for an evening of storytelling and music.

Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 7:30 pm

National Arts Centre: Back Stage 

stories complied by Lesley Parlane, performed by Sage Cardinal, Steafan Hannigan, Beverley McKiver, Lesley Parlane, Louise Profeit-LeBlanc, Neal Shannacappo, and Olivia Tailfeathers.

Drawn from personal experience, these stories from the 1960s adoption scoop depict the loss and grief of families separated, as well as the joy of re-connecting with siblings, culture, and community in later years. Poignantly told and generously shared, Voices from the Adoption Files weave together tales that highlight the power of ritual in healing, and the deep love that mends the spirit.

Lesley Parlane has been working on Voices from the Adoption Files for two years, interviewing adoptees and community members affected by the scoop, and gathering material for this important storytelling show. Lesley Parlane and Beverley McKiver have told selected stories from Voices at OST’s (un)told special features and Stories & Tea.


Show Photo Credits and Sources


Coalmines, Council Houses & Corsets: The Life & Times of a Scottish Granny

created and performed by Norma Cameron

Thursday, April 27, 2017 at 7:30 pm

National Arts Centre: Back Stage - click here for tickets

Walk down memory lane to a time when religious segregation, clan wars and class structure were alive and well in the small coal-mining town of Cambusnethan in the lowlands of Scotland. Discover how Helen Jamieson, born in 1900 into poverty, manages to carve out a life full of love, laughter and adventure. With one foot firmly planted in Cambusnethan as the wife of a coalminer and the other in the land of wonderment, she shares this world with her granddaughter through her incredible gift as a storyteller. Visit Granny Jamieson’s council house and mining community, travel with Granny to Rio de Janeiro and Africa, and visit Buckingham Palace and learn about Granny’s role in helping the Queen Mum! 

Norma’s storytelling career spans twenty years and has taken her to festivals in Canada, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Norma has given a TEDx Talk Cultivating Narrative Intelligence as it relates to memory, personal history, and how we are ‘wired’ for stories. She runs The Narrative Company, working with a variety of non-profit organizations to teach them about the “power of story”.



In the Room

created by Cellar Door Project featuring Mariah Horner, Nick Leno, and Nicole Titus.

Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 7:30 pm

National Arts Centre: Back Stage - click here for tickets

Behind the scenes of In the Room

Just as every skyscraper has its foundation, every play has its rehearsals. From collaborations to confrontations, from rivalries to romances - for many theatre artists, rehearsals are as memorable as performances themselves. With the help of past NAC company members, The Cellar Door Project is filling the Back Stage Rehearsal Hall with first-hand stories of creation. Exploring the history of the NAC and Canadian theatre through stories told by people who were there, In the Room examines the product of process.

The Cellar Door Project is a site-specific theatre company that makes plays about things that actually happened in the places they actually happened in. The Cellar Door ensemble tell stories of your neighbourhood, in your neighbourhood. From old police lockups to local dive bars, from record stores to the oldest cemetery in Ontario, they create plays based on characters whose stories unfold in the same space in which the audience sits. Or stands. Or runs. Since 2012 Cellar Door has told stories of Kingston’s first observatory in City Park, the woman who got Sir John A up out of bed every morning, and an escape from the Kingston Penitentiary. OST is delighted to partner with this exciting group of young storytellers!