A word from director

Founded in 1993, the Montréal Intercultural Storytelling Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year; according to tradition, this is our Pearl Anniversary!

Although stories are told in the common vernacular, they are full of pearls. It is said that pearls keep poison, demons, and melancholy at bay. They are even said to cure blindness! Stories too have regenerative powers. A taxi driver once told me that during the war in Lebanon, a family friend told stories that lasted all through the night. For just a few hours, the sounds of war and bombs faded, and the family took refuge in their imagination.

In China, pearls were placed in the mouths of the dead to help them make the voyage to the land of the spirits. Stories too have the power to outwit death by becoming our collective living memory.

Legend has it that dragons kept a pearl in their maw; knights fought the beasts to win the pearl through their courage and bravery. Like these legendary knights, today’s storytellers seek the story-pearl that will bring light, color and meaning to existence.

In Chinese mythology pearls are born of the tears of the god of the moon. These iridescent drops fallen from heaven remind us that grief and suffering can give birth to beauty. We believe that the vitality of our art form offers a form of joyful resistance to the isolation and feelings of powerlessness of our post-pandemic lives. This year we are celebrating the lasting power of the art of storytelling: the power to heal, bring people together in all their diversity, and connect generations.

Have a wonderful festival!

Stéphanie Bénéteau

Artistic director