Stage Door News

Toronto: The 44th Annual Toronto International Storytelling Festival runs May 5-14

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Storytelling Toronto is proud to announce the 44th annual Toronto International Storytelling Festival from May 5-14, 2023. The festival boasts performances and workshops across multiple venues, featuring acclaimed storytellers from Canada, USA, UK, India, Iran, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and partnerships with community organizations such as Children’s Book Bank, Parent-Child Mother Goose, CANVAS Arts Action Programs, Gardiner Museum, Replay Storytelling, But That’s Another Story, and more. From seasoned Elders showcasing Indigenous histories and immigrant mothers sharing their experiences, to young tellers experimenting with the nature of spoken narrative, the festival provides a hub for the community, and uplifts the tradition of oral storytelling as a transformative art form and point of connection in contemporary life.

Highlights of this year’s festival include:

Stories of Home

May 5 - 6:30pm at Gardiner Museum (111 Queen's Park)

In partnership with the Gardiner Museum, the festival celebrates its Opening Night with an evening of live storytelling inspired by Karine Giboulo: Housewarming. This Gardiner Museum exhibit by Montreal-based artist Giboulo is brought to life by over 500 miniature polymer clay figures. Stories of Home is a unique opportunity to hear expert storytellers expand the narratives of the miniature characters in the exhibition, and explore shared experiences of the pandemic.

Tickets are $25 ($21 for Storytelling Toronto members and Gardiner Friends) and include access to the exhibit before the show.

Available at

Queers In Your Ears

May 6 - 8:30pm at Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Ave.)

After 27 years of sharing their tales with gleeful audiences, Queers In Your Ears returns with more to tell, because freedoms gained cannot be taken for granted. This collective of storytellers aims to give voice to the queer experience, with veterans such as Rico Rodriguez and Jeffrey Canton (Globe & Mail children’s book reviewer) inviting young or emerging storytellers to join the show.

Comedy Night at the Festival

May 6 - 10:30pm at Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Ave.)

Curated by Christel Bartelse, Comedy Night at the Festival will showcase award-winning Toronto comedians James Gangl, Ken Hall, Chantal Lim, and Lisa Merchant as they improvise stories using suggestions from the audience.

Sahand Sahebdivani: Tales of the Djinn

May 11 - 8:15pm at Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Ave.)

In Tales of the Djinn, Iranian-Dutch storyteller Sahand Sahebdivani combines Iranian folktales and myths with a multigenerational family narration, drawing from the experiences of his father having been imprisoned for political activism, and of his family fleeing Iran.

Free Family Storytelling Day

May 13 - 10am-3pm at Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Ave.)

A beloved annual tradition, Family Storytelling Day invites the community to enjoy free events throughout the day including a Teddy Bear Picnic; tabletop puppetry; and Yonkhisothó:kon Ratiwé:ras/Our Grandfathers, a storytelling session that dives deep into Haudenosaunee traditional stories. Festival partner Children’s Book Bank will be on site throughout the day to give away free books to families.

Toronto International Storytelling Festival

May 5-14, 2023

Full lineup and tickets available soon at