2016 Festival Performers and Presenters

Adwoa Badeo
Author | Storyteller | Dancer

Adwoa grew up in Ghana and has lived in Guelph since 1992. She is the author of sixteen books, the co-author of two others and has also contributed a memoir in the Canadian anthology, My Wedding Dress. Her writing has been published on three continents, and includes a collection of folktales, picture books and young adult fiction. Her latest novel, Aluta will be published by Groundwood Books (House of Anansi Press) in September 2016.

Mary McCullum Baldasaro
Teacher | Storyteller | Playwright

If we’re all, as Ram Dass writes, “just walking each other home,” then surely stories illuminate the journey. Mary is an educator, playwright and storyteller who has performed in schools, libraries and storytelling festivals, and is a regular teller at Stories Aloud at The Button Factory in Waterloo. She has performed at the Toronto Storytelling Festival, Latitudes Storytelling Festival and the Heart & Hand Festival.

Derek Brisland
Storyteller | Engineer 

From his time as a child actor performing in BBC radio dramas and listening to stories in air raid shelters during WWII, story has been part of Derek Brisland’s life. His previous roles as an engineer, family man and volunteer in the community gave him fodder for the stories he tells in his current vocation as storyteller, which began in earnest after his retirement in 1991.

Brenda Byers

Brenda Byers’ stories of “Pot Luck” are some of her favourites. Imagine leprechauns and their pots of gold, magic spaghetti, and money turning into a monkey! Brenda tells folktales in the oral tradition to inspire wonder, kindle imagination, and help build community for adults and children.

Judy Caulfield
Teacher | Storyteller

As a teacher/storyteller, Judy Caulfield has used storytelling extensively in school settings for over two decades. She’s presented workshops on becoming a storyteller and using storytelling with students.

Judy has been telling traditional tales at the Celtic Roots Festival in Goderich for nearly twenty years. She has also told stories at the Toronto Storytelling Festival, Kitchener’s Heart & Hand Festival, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Peel Heritage Complex, Nuit Blanche, and at conferences, school events and in classrooms. Judy is a member of the Baden Storytelling Guild.

Michael Kelly Cavan
Musician| Songwriter

Michael Kelly Cavan is a Canadian singer-songwriter, born in Ireland and raised in North Bay, Ontario. As a songwriter, he finds inspiration in his immigrant family experience as well as his life growing up in Northern Ontario. “There is something wonderful about arriving at a time in life when the culture of your birth and your adopted culture blend into a way of being that fits like a comfortable old sweater.”

Sheila Diemert
Visual Artist 

Sheila Diemert uses art as a communication tool. Her acrylic landscapes spin tales of power, beauty and harmony from the natural world. Currently, she loves to paint huge canvases of trees in bold colours. What stories do you see when you view her work?  www.sheiladiemert.com

Alex van Gaalen
Visual Artist

Alex van Gaalen tells visual stories with portraits in oils. He tries to capture the essence of his subject: the freedom of sailing, the texture of a horse’s mane, evocative memories from another land. Bold colours and visible brush strokes are his trademark.

Sarah Granskou

Sarah Granskou

Storyteller | Oral Poet | Folk Musician | Puppet Maker

Sarah Granskou is exploring wool and woodlands as the City of Kitchener’s Artist-in-Residence in her yearlong project, Our Fibres, Our Forest: adventures in felting and song.

Bashar Jabbour

Spoken Word Poet| Mathematician

Born in Syria, Bashar is a recent settler and immigrant to Canada, a math non-prodigy, rocking an expensive math degree in student loans. Through the loving community of KW Poetry Slam, Bashar has thrown himself into the world of poetry and spoken word performance in recent months. His poetry explores themes of immigration, privilege and anti-oppression.

Beth Murch
Village Wyse Womyn | Activist | Birth Worker | Spoken Word Artist

Beth Murch is a village wyse womyn, radical activist, birth worker, and nationally competing spoken word artist. She has performed across Canada and in the United States, creating and disturbing peace with her literary craft which draws upon themes of sexuality, nature, spirituality, mental health, feminism, and social justice. Recently, Murch represented the nation at Capturing Fire 2015, an international spoken word competition and summit in Washington, D.C. Murch’s passions include placentae, memento mori, cat memes, herbalism, and religious kitsch.

Kevin Sutton
Spoken Word Artist | Actor | Workshop Facilitator | Community Organizer

Kevin Sutton is a spoken word artist, page poet, actor, playwright, workshop facilitator, activist, and community organizer. A regular of Hillside’s Sun stage, Kevin uses his words to empower his audience and, he hopes, to inspire a peaceful change towards a more resilient local and global community.

Robert Waldeck

Robert Waldeck
Visual Artist | Documentary Filmmaker | Teacher

Robert Waldeck co-directed two award-winning documentaries, A Growing Season and Aakideh: The Art and Legacy of Carl Beam. Both documentaries were shown around the world, including screenings at several film festivals and high profile venues such as the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Smithsonian Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada. He also co-produced a music documentary Better Day: The Sarah J Felker Story, which aired on Out TV in 2014. Last spring his documentary Jamland premiered at Kitchener’s Apollo Cinema.

Brad Woods

Brad has told stories at festivals, theatres, conferences, prisons, churches and pubs all over North America and the UK. He tells traditional tales, original pieces and personal stories, and has told stories to all ages and in every type of venue imaginable.

Brad was a Storyteller-in-Residence at the Guelph Civic Museum and has been featured on CBC Radio One. He is thrilled to be returning to Latitudes to kick off another summer tour of local, national and international storytelling.

Kevin White
Actor | Comedian | Library Technician

Kevin White is a graduate of the Humber College Theatre Performance program. In addition to being a school library technician, Kevin performs weekly live improv comedy shows with Waterloo’s Theatre on the Edge and teaches drop-in improvisation workshops. He also performs in theatre for young audience shows in Kitchener with Lightning Banjo Productions.  Kevin is also a board member of eyeGO to the Arts, an organization dedicated to inspiring youth involvement in the arts community.