‘Gimistory’ festival returns

Storytelling at its finest, courtesy of local and international talent

Some of Cayman’s favourite performers will return to beaches and parks on all three islands this November and December to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the very popular Cayman Islands International Storytelling Festival, ‘Gimistory’.

After a year’s hiatus, the events will take place from 29 Nov. until 7 Dec., helping to usher in the Christmas holiday season by reminding attendees of some of the simpler things in life such as sitting in Granny’s backyard listening to stories.

‘Gimistory’ is a free event presented by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation which brings together over 2,500 people from virtually every sector of Cayman’s multi-generational and multi-national community, in addition to visitors from abroad, who return time and again.

Scheduled to appear this year is storyteller Amina Blackwood-Meeks from Jamaica; Trinidad & Tobago Extempo performer Phillip Murray aka ‘Black Sage’ and calypso band David Bereaux and Friends; The Storycrafters from the US; and local storytellers Matt Brown, Quincy Brown and Virginia Foster. More names will be confirmed closer to the event.

Past ‘Gimistory’ audiences will be familiar with some of this year’s international storyteller line-up – performers who have been regaling festival attendees with stories and music for years.

Amina Blackwood Meeks describes herself as a ‘Jamaican-born, Caribbean national, bona fide citizen of the world’. She is a writer, director, performer, and custodian of the oral tradition as well as a lecturer-researcher-farmer, widely acknowledged for her instrumental contribution to the recent renaissance of the art form of traditional Caribbean storytelling.

David Bereaux is a vintage calypso artist who began his professional performing career in 1991 in the calypso musical play entitled ‘Sing the Chorus’. The David Bereaux and Friends Vintage Calypso Ensemble is now a well-established Vintage Calypso Band doing performances all over the Caribbean.

Black Sage, a title holder on the Trinindad & Tobago carnival Extempo stage, is also a regular ‘Gimistory’ performer. Extempo is a lyrically improvised form of calypso in which performers take turns at ad-libbing in song on a theme randomly chosen by their audience.

Barry Marshall and Jeri Burns have been working together as The Storycrafters since 1991. They are the 2018 recipients of the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award. They have been featured performers at storytelling and folk festivals nationally and internationally.

Caymanian Matt Brown is a gifted public speaker and talented performer. He utilises his degree in professional recording arts and social studies to write and perform his own music, but is equally gifted on stage, receiving accolades for his work in ‘Gimistory’ and ‘Rundown’.
Brown is excited about the Festival’s return. “‘Gimistory’ is coming back with all the audience’s favourites!” he said. “It’s really several shows in one. Your eyes and ears will be glued to the stage. No holding back this time. I’m bringing out some new ideas for you and I can’t wait!”

Born on Cayman Brac, Quincy Brown started singing solos in church at age six and performing Louise Bennett pieces at age 12 on the Harquail Theatre stage for National Children’s Festival of the Arts. He has won many awards in the performing arts over the years in theatre, drama, speech and singing. In 2017 he marked his 25th anniversary on stage.

Better known as ‘Auntie V’ at the annual ‘Gimistory’ Festival and on ‘Caymanian Stories’ aired on Radio Cayman on Saturday mornings, local storyteller Virginia Foster’s other creative outlets include ceramic art, fashion designing, conducting storytelling workshops, and mounting culture and heritage exhibits of her many private collections in schools and other venues.

“Cayman’s audiences look forward to the entertainment the Cayman National Cultural Foundation has been bringing to their doorsteps every year, as we tour through the districts with stories and music to kick off the holiday season,” said Marcia Muttoo, the foundation’s managing director. “The purpose of the festival is to provide family entertainment for locals and visitors in a relaxed setting; pass on the tradition of storytelling; build the local population of storytellers; encourage reading, writing and performing; share a variety of stories (and stories through music) from Cayman and the world; celebrate local food culture; and encourage and celebrate community involvement in arts and culture. We look forward to getting back on the road and engaging with the community.”

Dates for ‘Gimistory’ 2019
• Friday, 29 Nov. Agriculture Grounds, Cayman Brac
• Monday, 2 Dec. Gerald Smith Park, North Side
• Tuesday, 3 Dec. Coe-Wood Beach, Bodden Town
• Wednesday, 4 Dec. East End Public Beach, East End
• Thursday, 5 Dec. Little Cayman Beach Resort, Little Cayman
• Friday, 6 Dec. Jefferson Beach, West Bay
• Saturday, 7 Dec. Smith Barcadere, George Town

All shows begin at 7pm. Fried fish and fritters will be on sale. For more information about ‘Gimistory’, call 949-5477 or email [email protected]