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Isle of the Arts Festival: The Stories We Tell

Isle of the Arts Festival: The Stories We Tell

March 30th – April 9th

The Isle of the Arts Festival (IoTA) is back March 30th through April 9th! Bigger and brighter than ever before with a diverse offering of a whopping 37 workshops, 5 dynamic events, a fulsome Professional Development Day with lunch included.
This year the theme we explore is: The Stories We Tell. This can mean something different to each of us, which is part of the point. The stories we tell are the ones we tell our friends, our family, our coworkers, the police officer when we get pulled over for speeding, and the stories we tell ourselves. Sometimes the stories we tell ourselves are not healthy, they make us believe things that aren’t true. Sometimes the stories we tell ourselves can help shape our futures and soar to new heights. Sometimes the stories we read can change our perspective.

Reading for Reconciliation: One Book One Community is an event IoTA hosts each year, where Shelagh Rogers, a veteran broadcast-journalist and host/producer of CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter, an award-winning weekly show about writers and writing in Canada, interviews an Indigenous author and the audience gets a deeper look at the author, their work, and their perspective. The Power of Story: On Truth, The Trickster, and New Fictions for a New Era by the late Harold R. Johnson is the book Shelagh chose for 2023.  Harold (1957-2022), was a Canadian Indigenous Lawyer and writer, who was short listed for the 2016 Governor General’s Award, English-language non-fiction for Firewater: How Alcohol Is Killing My People. Harold lived on Gabriola for the last few years of his life with his wife Joan. Joan has a rich history of her own and will join Shelagh to talk about her husband’s work and share some stories of her own. Twelve copies of The Power of Story are available at the Gabriola Library, the Gabriola Museum, and the Indigenous Book Club has gently read copies for sale. You can contact them at 250-247-8407, plus they will also be selling new copies at the event. Please join us for One Book One Community on Thursday, March 30th, 7pm at the Community Hall. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online at starting March 13th for members and March 14th for the general public. If you wish to pay cash/cheque, please come to the Arts Council cabin at 476 South Road Monday – Friday 10-4pm starting March 13th.

Keeping this fresh and rolling, the very next night we present Twilight Radio Theatre (TRT). Gabriolans have been missing our portal to times past, when radio plays captured the audience at home with mysteries and drama. The cast of TRT is back after almost three years to entertain and amaze, you’ll  laugh, you’ll cry, at the Surf Lodge Friday, March 31st.  It just doesn’t stop with Ken Gurr hosting “Now Here’s a Story…” with local storytellers and some spoken word, Sunday, April 2nd doors at 6:30pm at Ground up, tickets on our website. We’re bringing back the Night Market at the Surf Lodge, Friday, April 7th from 5-9pm – bring a toonie to enter. You can wander with a libation from the bar and stop in at the pub or the restaurant for some delicious morsels and enjoy the musical guests who put the night in market. Finally, are you tired yet, we have the famous Arty Party!!! Here is where we celebrate all the arts and especially the winner of the Arty Award. Nominations will be live March 8th on This year we’re producing and interactive storytelling experience where all of us will use art, music, dance, theatre, and song to create The Stories We Tell Together. Together we cultivate the arts, so mark your calendar for Saturday, April 8th at 7pm down at the Community Hall. Tickets to all the events can be purchased on starting March 13th for members.

We are also proud to have Lulu Performing Arts presenting Hello, Buffalo, with choreography, scenography and text by Daina Ashbee, and featuring renowned Italian dance soloist, Imara Bosco, during IoTA on Saturday, April 1st, 7:30pm at the Phoenix. Tickets available at, plus you will find the workshop details there as well.

That was just the events! It is not possible to cover all 37 workshops here, but for a teaser we have Indigo Shindigo returning, Stone Felting , Collagraph Prints, Cedar and Me, Clay Sculpting with a Live Female Model by the internationally known Joel Prevost. There are song workshops, process workshops, glass workshops, Tarot workshops, workshops about how to present to others. The IoTA brochure is in this edition of the Sounder, there are even MORE details on the website and you have you have questions email and Naomi will gladly guide you. March 13th registration and ticket sales open for members, March 14th the general public. You can also register in person at the Gabriola Arts & Heritage Centre (the blue building behind the Post Office) on those dates 10-2pm, cash/cheque/credit, no debit. AND don’t forget we have the Inclusivity Program. You can donate when you register so someone who cannot otherwise afford to participate has access to the arts or if you need assistance to attend a workshop, we will help you up to $75 and you only need to email carol@artsgabriola and have a conversation, no forms.

We are enthusiastic about IoTA 2023 and hope you find a workshop or an event that piques your interest. It is a wonderful way to usher in Spring and come together as community in the name of the arts on Gabriola, the Isle of the Arts. Read more about the festival and all the workshops.

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