Storytelling: a bridge between cultures

Storytelling can be a bridge between cultures. While it has many different purposes and intentions, it’s universal to all. For some, it’s passing down values, knowledge, and history. For others, storytelling is entertainment. For Marie Bryce, storytelling brings joy and connection to people.  

Bryce started as the 2024 Storyteller in Residence at Calgary Public Library in mid-February with the intent to create a community story that we can all be involved in. She will be travelling to several Library locations around the city to build a narrative based on ideas from people she meets.  

Described as “choose your own adventure, meets campfire storytelling,” Bryce will invite people through video, audio, or written words to help create a story from the very beginning to the final chapter. With guiding questions from Bryce, someone will decide the main character, another person will determine a life changing moment for that character, and others will come up with quests and obstacles. Every person Bryce meets will get the opportunity to drive the story forward.  

“Storytelling is transformative. A great story is one where we go on a journey. We start in one place, feel powerful moments or life changing events, and experience an ending. We transform with the story.” 

The result will be a video story that brings together voices, perspectives, and words from around our community that Bryce will present at Central Library on April 13. 

The power of storytelling 

Bryce’s experience in storytelling began at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, but her love of Scottish and Irish tales didn’t stop when she returned to Calgary.  

Using a style that is an infused blend of movement, spoken word, and video, Bryce is drawn to stories and characters that are complex and undefined. She references Baba Yaga, an enigmatic character from Slavic folklore who is wicked in some ways, but it also searching to create a morality.  

Bryce also draws on story to process and connect to people she has lost.  

“I share stories of my dad, who has passed on, with my son in a way that celebrates his memory. When we tell stories about our childhood – the trouble we used to get into – it's this way of bringing back parts of our lives that we don't want to forget.” 

Residency programs designed for community connections 

The Storyteller in Residence is one of eight residencies that take place at Calgary Public Library each year. These short-term community engagement initiatives support individuals and collectives living and working in Calgary and surrounding First Nations communities. 

The residents work with the Library to create collaborative and inclusive environments where all community members are welcome to participate and connect. 

As the 2024 Storyteller, Bryce wanted to use this opportunity to expand her reach into the community.  

“Working with the Library allows me to connect with such a wide diversity of individuals and families who come through the doors to access programs. By bringing people together from all corners, we can create a story that is reflective of who we are as a community.” 

Learn more about Marie Bryce and the Storyteller in Residence program at Calgary Public Library. 

Community Story Booth Schedule 

Friday, February 23 | Shawnessy Library | 2:30 4:00 pm 
Tuesday, March 5 | Central Library | 10:00 am 12:00 pm 
Thursday, March 7 | Memorial Park Library | 10:00 am 12:00 pm 
Tuesday, March 19 | Central Library | 1:00 3:00 pm 
Thursday, March 21 | Memorial Park Library | 1:00 3:00 pm 
Saturday, March 23 | Saddletowne Library | 10:00 am 12:00 pm 

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