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More About Heather

PERFORMANCE ARTIST STORYTELLER SINGER AND SONGWRITER WRITER

Heather Whaley ladybugsHeather has been creating programs and performing storytelling and music to both children and adults for more than twenty years in just about every venue you could imagine! She is a diverse, versatile performing artist for both children and adults and is experienced with small and larger audiences. Her unique performances, either on or off stage, are a blend of original and traditional stories and songs that are entertaining, cultural and educational.

She travels, with her props and guitar in tow, presenting programs and workshops to schools, libraries, festivals and special events throughout Southern Ontario and has been featured in many Canadian provinces and in California and South Carolina USA.

Her recent achievement as an invited guest in Buenos Aires, Argentina for their International Storytelling Festival in April/May 2011 earned Heather two prestigious awards through Storytelling Toronto; The Alice Kane and Anne Smythe Awards for the creation of an innovative project working with translation, and for travel.

 

 

Musical Storytelling with drumHeather is an active storyteller, singer-songwriter who performs both traditional stories along with her own stories. She brings them to life through singing, the use of homemade instruments and props, and playing the guitar.

Performing for Children

Heather’s experience working in a mid-size library for 13 years in Children’s and Youth Services provided many opportunities to develop programming skills which eventually led her out in the community to a full time career as a presenter and performer.

For students between grades four to twelve, Heather likes to include original contemporary, folk, and blues music with personal tales that are profound or humorous. She tells tales that inspire teens to want to write, use instrumentation, sing and tell their own stories to one another.
Her workshops for students and teachers:

  • provide an introduction to the importance of storytelling;
  • demonstrate how to use your own ‘voice’;
  • model diverse curriculum related stories such as folktales, legends and personal tales.

These are delivered in both casual and performance styles interspersed with music, props, songs and poetry. She also provides song writing inspiration and participation.

Performing for Adults & Teens

Sharing stories behind her own songs, which are folk and blues based, Heather intrigues both adults and teens by enlightening them to new lyrics as well as the history and passion of traditional ballads. She was the first “in house” storyteller for Whitby Station Gallery’s Arts infused programming Reading the Image for grades 7&8 during the month of November 2012. Her solo performance pieces A LOAD OFF MY CHEST; WHEN THEY CAME: MY ETHNIC FAMILY IN STORY AND SONG; and FOR THE LOVE OF JOHNNY have been seen on stage at places such as Harbourfront Centre and the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, and Canadian Storytelling Night in Orillia, Ontario. She is an invited guest performer for the upcoming Uxbridge, Ontario STORYFEST in October 2014.

A recipient of the Storytelling Toronto 2011 Alice Kane and Anne Smythe Awards, Heather was also awarded grants from Storytellers of Canada for Culture Days and the former Whitby Race Relations and Diversity Committee and the Whitby Mayor to facilitate storytelling programming for the town’s 2005 sesquicentennial. She has toured in Canada, California, South Carolina and Argentina to students and adults.

A consummate performer, workshop leader, and creator of programs for over 22 years, Heather thrives on reeling her audiences in to sing, participate and simply “be with” her in the storytelling moment. Her delightful folkstyle has been described as ‘artistic’ ‘highly educational’ ‘interesting’ ‘refreshing’ ‘charming’ and ‘bluesy cool!’
She has three CD’s for children and youth, a single release, and a song EP for adults

Arts Community Leadership

Heather is the Artistic Director for an adult Storytelling and music cabaret concert series sponsored by Storytelling Toronto and the Toronto Arts Council. StoryFusion Cabaret! takes the place of Legless Stocking, a long running concert series directed by one of Canada’s best loved storytellers and musicians/songsters, Lorne Brown, and consummate storytelling advocate Cathy Melville. Concerts will take place in Toronto, Ontario venues beginning November 15, 2014. To see upcoming dates and details of all programs, click here.

She is also Artistic Director for Story Lounge: That’s Life in Whitby, Ontario. So far this adult, teen, and youth storytelling and music concert is taking place on Culture Days in Whitby, and has been sponsored by Storytellers of Canada two years in a row along with partnering venues. See upcoming events for details the next show on Culture Days weekend!

Heather is the editor of Storytellers of Canada’s Noticeboard, a blog featuring Storytelling events across Canada, and is the organisation’s board Human Resource Officer.

Heather is the creator of a successful storytelling Creative Arts Workshop series for Early Childhood Education Montessori teachers at a Scarborough Montessori Training Centre. She also provides other spring-board ideas for teachers and instructors of children and youth programs.

As the initiator and Project Chair for a large educational multicultural storytelling program she helped celebrate the Town of Whitby’s sesquicentennial (150th) year in 2005. During September and October the program reached approximately 2,000 grade four to six students and over 80 community listeners at a public concert!

Heather was the Public Relations representative for the Durham Folklore Society for close to ten years. She is the innovator and Artistic Director of their annual family concert, Halloween Happening, which has taken place in the Durham Region for over six years and is now a community service program to Simcoe Hall Settlement after-school program.

A regular initiator of community programming, Heather also implemented and coordinated Tellabration and World Storytelling Day Concerts, which are now annual presentations involving all members of the storytelling group. She continues to partake in performances and group activities with the Durham Folklore Storytellers.