Birds of a Feather started in 2013 as part of the Storyfire series at the Toronto Storytelling Festival. It was created to preserve the tradition of oral storytelling and founded by Rubena Sinha, Diana Tso, Justin Lauzon and Sang Kim. The name reflects gathering the people together at a storytelling nest, inviting both professional and amateur tellers to share stories and build community with a specific theme per storytelling event. Their stories can be spoken, danced or sung as both Rubena and Diana’s storytelling aesthetics are rooted in cultures that involve movement and music. For each storytelling event we send a call out for storytellers via email or social media, with particular themes such as, “The Greatest Gift” , “Celebration of International Women’s Day” etc. Prospective storytellers send us a three-line submission of what their story is about and we listen to their story in person or by phone and choose seven storytellers for the program. We arrange a place and time to perform, and invite the public to come and experience these stories together. The event has been pay-what-you-can, and the turnout has been on average about 20 participants at each event. We have had some events at the Toronto Storytelling Festival’s Storyfire and in the past couple of years we have a found a nest at Jumblies Theatre a community based centre whom Diana has worked with. We’ve met many wonderful storytellers from Toronto, and witnessed delightfully diverse forms of storytelling performances. In our journey, we have opened our eyes to the incredible amount of stories we all carry within us.
Rubena creatively ignites her stories with her extensive performance experience spanning 5 decades. She creates stories and reinterprets Hindu mythology by combining it with her own experiences as an immigrant Canadian. She has performed internationally as a storyteller and continues to explore new projects, both solo and with collaborators.
A theatre creator, Diana is a graduate of the University of Toronto in English Literature and Ecole Internationale de Theatre de Jacques Lecoq. Her www.redsnowcollective.ca re-imagines mythology and history through the female perspective and the resilience of women. Her plays are available at www.playwrightsguild.ca. Recent theatre performances: Theatre Smith-Gilmour’s Les Misérablesand Stratford Festival’s 2017 season.
Janeen is a Registered Naturotherapy Practitioner of Ayurveda and a Registered Yoga Teacher. She offers integrative protocols and counseling focused on nutrition, lifestyle and self care practices. Sharing her experience in both Ayurveda and Yoga, Janeen teaches AyuYoga, a holistic process that ignites self-inquiry, changes with the seasons and offers customized care for Ayurvedic constitutions and differing stages of life.
Justin is a writer and storyteller from Toronto. His first book of poems, this is why we’re made in the dark, was published by Quattro Books in 2018, and his fiction, poetry, and reviews have appeared in various Canadian publications.
Natty is a community facilitator, theatre practitioner, life-long learner, and creative soul who loves to reflect, share, and learn alongside others for the purpose of community healing and transformation. Through a blend of participatory and creative approaches, she nurtures the co-creation of learning spaces rooted in shared values and practices that honour our lived experience and embodied wisdom.