The Organic Storyteller

Story and music

This bilingual artist of Franco-Ontarian heritage draws from her Dramatic Arts education to breathe life into a repertoire which celebrates the “seven genres” of Story. From sacred myth and sacrilegious fairytale to kooky comical folktales, her performances run from the ridiculous to the sublime. Denise may use one of any number of small percussion instruments, or guitar and voice to complement a story or round out a performance. The fiddle has been used in this artist’s repertoire in certain seasons.

 

Fourty-four years’ experience

Denise discovered her vocation as a Storyteller in 1993, bringing new light to the stage on which she had been performing theatre, musical comedy, and folk duos and trios since 1974.

 

Venues

Open air venues and nature programs, community gatherings, Radio (including Montreal’s CBC, CJAD, and CKUT), retirement homes, university classrooms, festivals, libraries, museums, schools, daycares, women’s functions, art galleries, scout workshops, theatres, cafés, coffee-houses, church concerts, and around the home fires, your and hers. Denise has recorded one French storybook (2010), and played the role of Storyteller in the Cirque du Soleil’s “KABA” in 2007. She has toured three times in Western Canada, including as the featured artist in Alberta’s Northern Lights Library Tour in 2006.

 

Resident Storyteller

2005 – 2017: Resident Storyteller at Claude Laplante’s Sugarbush/100 Acre Paradise in the Gatineau Hills, Quebec, highlighting the natural world through story, with innovative seasonal programs at the Sugar Shanty, in the orchards and the Pumpkin Patch, on the island, around the Frog Pond in the Witch’s Yard and at her Kite Flying Festival.

2008 – 2016: Toured her unique “Sugar Bush on Wheels” program in educational institutions and retirement residences throughout the Outaouais in spring, celebrating the sugaring season with story and song, followed by taffy on the snow, sur place.

2008 – 2010: Yearly residencies in Retirement Homes in the Outaouais region, with monthly performances running along seasonal themes, followed by a meet the artist session.

1989 – 1990: Tour-guide for The Montreal Gazette, and assistant to the Director of Newspapers’ in Education, The Gazette Education Department.

 

Guest Lecturer

Since 1996: Guest lecturer on the subject of Storytelling including Cégeps, writer’s groups, Scouts Canada and five years for McGill University’s Education Department.

 

Author

2017: A Story collection with manual, entitled « A Guide to Folk Literature »

(looking for a publisher)

2016: An environmental column for the newspaper « The Lowdown to Hull and Back »

2015: Manuscript for picture-book, entitled, “Ode to Autumn” (looking for a publisher)

2014: Manuscript for picture-book, entitled, “Lune des sucres” (looking for a publisher)

2009:  A regular feature appearing in the bi-weekly e-letter of the Ottawa-based company Keys to the Universe, which has a global readership.

2009: A collection of seasonal songs for children entitled, “Singing Round the Year/Chantons autour de l’année.”

2001: A performance solo entitled, “Barefoot/Pieds nus,” written for Toronto’s 25th Anniversary Storytelling Festival.

2000 – 2006: A regular feature on mythology and symbolism; a regular feature on the successes of Storytellers in the field, both appearing in the National Storytellers’ Journal, “Appleseed Quarterly.”

 

Library Programmer

1991 – 1993: Branch Head and Program Animator for Montreal Children’s Library, working with literate and illiterate school-age and preschool children in 3 branches; all programming, story and music, done bilingually.

1993 – 2004: Replacement librarian, and special events Storyteller in 5 branches of Montreal Children’s Library; all programming, story and music, done bilingually.

 

Education

Since 1992: Storytelling workshops with various veteran Canadian & American Storytellers

2008: Workshop with the Outaouais Song Writers’ Association

2007: The Fiddlers’ Association of the Outaouais, fiddle lessons

2012: Fiddleheads, private fiddle lessons with Trish Barclay

1990: McGill Conservatory, private lessons, folk guitar

1980 – 1984: Bachelor of Performing Arts: Music & Theatre; principal instrument voice, studied under Canadian Base Baritone Steven Henrikson

 

Associations

Since 1997: Member of Storytellers of Canada, (former francophone representative)

2001 – 2005 : Member of le regroupement du conte du Québec/ Quebec Storytellers

1992 – 2001: Member of Montreal Storytellers’ Guild

2013 – 2014: Member of the Canadian Authors’ Association