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.
Adwoa also performs her stories orally and in dance. She is a much sought after storyteller, and has staged and recorded her productions on CD and DVD. She has travelled widely to perform and facilitate workshops at international conferences and festivals in North America, Europe and Africa.
In 2007, Adwoae was designated a “Storykeeper” by the Storytellers of Canada. In that same year she was awarded the YMCA/YWCA Woman of Distinction award (Arts category) in Guelph. Her other awards include Woman of Courage (2005), Ghanaian Canadian Award of Merit – Arts (2006), Ontario Champion Newcomer Award (2012), and My People Award for Children’s Literature (2013). She has won several grants from the Ontario Arts Council as well as the Canada Council for the Arts and has sat on various juries for the arts.
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.
Mary is a member of the Baden Storytelling Guild. Her love of language, voice, and story find natural expression in storytelling and writing.
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.
As a member of Storytelling Toronto and the Baden Storytellers Guild, Derek has shared his talents at the Bon Soo Carnival and other venues in Sault Ste Marie. Locally he has performed at Steckle Heritage Farm and Joseph Schneider Haus Museum. He also tells stories in schools, for community groups, and of course for his grandchildren.
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.
Brenda is a member of the Hamilton Storytelling Circle, Baden Storytellers’ Guild, Burlington Storytellers’ Guild, Storytellers for Children and the Uppity Women. She is the Ontario Coordinator for Storytellers of Canada-Conteurs du Canada (SC-CC).
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
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.”
Michael creates his own sound and blend of both Irish and Canadian folk music traditions. With his singing, playing and storytelling and his melodic tenor voice and gentle wit, Michael provides heartwarming and foot-tapping entertainment wherever he finds a stage. He’s performed in an Irish showband, on the Polar Bear Express, and the stages of Massey Hall, the El Macombo and Hugh’s Room, among others. Michael has recorded four CDs and runs a songwriting school in Kitchener.
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
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.
Alex was born in the Netherlands and moved to Kitchener with his family in 2007. He started painting in 2003 and is a self-taught artist working in a classical and realist manner. He gets his inspiration from his multicultural family and is interested in people with interesting features which has resulted in several portraits.
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.
Sarah has an established career as a performance artist, integrating verse, song, Norwegian folk instruments and puppetry in a fluid narrative. She began creating puppets as Folk Artist-in-Residence at the Joseph Schneider Haus in 2013 to illuminate her stories, leading her on a path to upcycling, carving and finally felting. Since then, she has walked this path with dedication, teaching puppetry in the schools and community and creating felted works for performance and everyday wear. Sarah welcomes you to join her journey and to walk a mile in our own shoes!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rob applies a painterly, explorative approach to his projects. Whether it is a documentary, music video or an installation video, he uses elements of chance and experimentation. His current collaborative work engages in non-linear storytelling and the interaction between reality and the imagination.
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.
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.