Gimistory, the international storytelling festival produced by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, ens tonight with a week-long line-up of tall tales to be told.
Now in its ninth year, the family-orientated, informal event brings together local and international storytellers.
This year’s festival includes a line-up of six overseas tellers and more home-grown talent than ever before.
Local talent this year includes Rita Estevanovich, Michale McLaughlin, Olivia Scott, Priscilla Pouchie and Anniki Brown.
Popular performers including Virginia ‘Auntie V’ Foster and husband and wife duo The Storycrafters will all be returning to the Gimistory stage.
‘This year we really wanted our local storytellers to shine,’ Henry Mutto, CNCF artistic director said. ‘We will always bring in overseas tellers, but at the same time we want to grow and develop our own talent.’
International storyteller Ken Corsbie will once again be sharing stories at Gimistory -a veteran of the Gimistory stage since its inception.
‘Ken is an iconic figure of the arts/theatre in the Caribbean.’ Mr. Muttoo said. ‘He is one of those figures who brings such amazing experiences with him, and can share these easily with people on stage. He may be nearly 78, but he is still an amazing performer. Gimistory would not be complete without him.’
International storytellers performing at Gimistory for their first time include Alaskan based Raymond Funk – an American district court judge.
‘Raymond is a regular at Trinidad Carnival, performing Midnight Robber, a popular Trinidadian folk character. He is a great performer,’ Mr. Mutto said.
Stories run the gamut from comedic to duppy (ghost) tales – told on the final night – and, with events held at public beaches and backyards under the Caribbean sky, the free event harks back to simpler times.
Over the course of the festival, Gimistory will travel to all the districts, and on to Cayman Brac.
New to this year’s slew of venues, includes a show at Camana Bay on Tuesday, 27 November, which will include a special appearance by local dance group Dance Unlimited. In addition, Dave Martins and local musicians will add to the festivities, with stories and song at all venues, except the Brac.
The cultural experience continues after the storytelling concludes with fried fish and fritters, washed down with Cayman style lemonade.
Storytellers will each perform at multiple venues, performing a changing repertoire at each. Tellers will each take to the stage for about 10 minutes, with each event lasting approximately 90-mintues.
Also known as Robert Basey, this teller comes to us from New York. This is his first time performing with Gimistory. A teacher of the arts, he offers diverse programs in music, drama and visual arts for young people. He is currently with New York City Public Schools. He performs at Staten Island Beach for the National Park Service and at the statue of Hans Christian Andersen. Besides traditional folk tales, his repertoire consists of an array of African and Aesop’s Tales.
It wouldn’t be Gimistory if Ken was not a part of the show. Performing from the very first show, Ken Corsbie is very familiar to the Gimistory audience. Ken’s storytelling has enthralled audiences from Guyana and the islands of the Caribbean to New York. His stories are full of the accents and rhythms of the Caribbean and of course humour. Ken Corsbie is a storyteller in the traditional sense, but he has also worked as an actor, director and broadcaster, all of which require storytelling skills. Not only has Ken Corsbie performed at almost every Gimistory, but he is the person who encouraged CNCF Artistic Director Henry Muttoo to create a storytelling festival in the Cayman Islands.
The husband and wife team of Barry Marshall and Jeri Burns, PhD otherwise known as The Storycrafters will make their third appearance at Gimistory. They perform and teach their art form in schools, libraries and other venues throughout the U.S. and the British Isles. With a natural, energetic style, they have been featured performers at storytelling and folk festivals in the U.S. including The National Storytelling Festival. They specialize in original retellings and modern renditions integrating music and song into their storytelling. Publishers’ Weekly described them as ‘top-notch family entertainment’.
Children will be gathering around Auntie V and her menagerie of animal puppets during Gimistory. Auntie V is a favourite of children in Cayman having performed at schools and libraries. For the children the best part is being allowed to help with the animals. A former teacher, Virginia’s love for the arts and culture drew her to become a member of the CNCF Board. She has a special love for children and has been volunteering her time to tell stories for children, all over the island. This is her fourth appearance in Gimistory.
One couldn’t get a more unlikely storyteller… An American District Court Judge, living and working in a climate as far removed from the Caribbean’s heat, as possible – the biting cold of Alaska, an avid amateur cultural historian specializing in the Trinidad Carnival. Ray will bring alive for Gimistory audiences his characters, “Midnight Robber”, “Ravenous Raven” and “Bird of the Bard” – the source of all Shakespeare’s curses and evil villains.
One of Cayman’s more experienced actresses of stage and film, Rita has delighted audiences with several appearances at Gimistory. She will be remembered for, among other pieces, her popular rendition of “Government Bull” and more recently, the ‘lizard’ in Rundown.
Michael is a newcomer to the Gimistory circuit but not to the stage. He has been acting since he was in high school and recently made an impressive Harquail Theatre debut, playing several roles in Rundown.
Another young actress, working to make a name for herself on the local stage, Priscilla has performed twice before in Gimistory. She is an assistant teacher at the John Gray High School.
Lydia is a newcomer to Gimistory. She made an impressive debut as the Assistant Stage Manager for Rundown ’07, was bitten by the ‘performer’s bug’ and is confident in her storytelling abilities.
Audiences will be delighted by the work of this young poet. This is her Gimistory debut.
Everyone knows Monyque as an accomplished young dancer. Now she takes to the Gimistory stage for the first time, to show her versatility.
Leroy Holness needs no introduction. He is one of the longest serving actors of modern theatre in the Cayman Islands. Known variously as ‘Rasta Pasta, ‘Dread Bread’ or the ‘Preacher’, Leroy’s stage work, especially in Rundown, remains one of the highlights in theatre in Cayman.
A relatively new local band and one that is redefining local music by picking up where Radley Gourzong and The Happy Boys left off when it comes to traditional Caymanian music. Their interpretation of Caymanian folk music and energy in delivery has endeared them to audiences and created a demand for their appearance at cultural events.
Cayman’s leading dance company that has been in existence for 25 years. This company has represented the Cayman Islands at several overseas festivals and has, over the years, produced work of a consistently high quality.
Now the News voice on Radio Cayman’s evening news, Olivia is no newcomer to the stage. She wowed audiences with her performances in Rundown ’07 and has accepted the challenge of performing at Gimistory.
A young writer who is making her first appearance at Gimistory
Dave Martins & Friends
A legend all over the Caribbean and one of the regions finest musicians, Dave has written and recorded many songs that are considered classics. He has been living in the Cayman Islands for the past 25 years and has contributed more than most, to the development of its arts and culture.
His annual comedy revue, Rundown, is now a staple on the cultural calendar.
Dave is Executive Director of Pirates Week and is a journalist, musician and cultural administrator. This is his fourth appearance at Gimistory.
Sookie & Zekiel
No introduction is necessary for the doyen and maestro of Caymanian comedy. Sookie and Zekiel’s presence in any show is much anticipated and the audience can guarantee a ‘belly full’ of laughs.
Teacher, writer and actress, This native of Barbados has been a fixture on the Cayman theatre scene ever since she arrived in the Cayman Islands. She has written many prize winning plays in the CNCF Playwriting Competition, including the very popular “De Honeymoon Over” and has performed in Rundown as well as most of the Gimistory shows.
All performances start at 7pm.
Friday, 23 November – Dart Family Park, South Church Street.
Saturday, 24 November – Elizabethan Square Courtyard, Downtown, Shedden Road.
Monday, 26 November – Captain Ned Miller’s Yard, North Side.
Tuesday, 27 November – Agricultural Grounds, Cayman Brac.
– Camana Bay, George Town.
Wednesday, 28 November – Bodden Town Primary School Courtyard.
Thursday, 29 November – East End Public Beach.
Friday, 30 November – West Bay Public Beach.
Saturday, 1 December – Smith Baccadere, South Church Street.