Animated voices will waft through the air from Saturday, Nov. 29 to Saturday, Dec. 6, during the Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s 17th annual Cayman Islands International Storytelling Festival, affectionately known as Gimistory.
Harking back to storytelling traditions of old, performances will take place all over the island in both public and private arenas, many open-air, using the sky as a celestial canopy. Venues such as Dart Park, West Bay Public Beach and Cayman Brac Agriculture Grounds will host this unique celebration of the spoken word which began in 1998 , weaving Caribbean tales and music throughout its lineup.
Each year, a range of generations and nationalities converge to spectate, and both Caymanian and international professional storytellers participate in the festival which features many crowd favorites. Ken Corsbie, Amina Blackwood-Meeks, Lord Relator, Ray Funk, Lady Africa and Black Sage will all appear, as well as local storytellers Jevaughnie Ebanks, Priscilla Pouchie and Matt Brown. Dexter Bodden, the Cayman Islands Folk Singers, and Michael Lemay will supply the musical aspects of the event.
This year, open auditions on Sept. 27 attracted a large number of younger storytellers, prompting organizers to create a youth night within the weeklong event timetable, a first in Gimistory history. Youth Night will take place at Dart Park on Dec. 2.
The two hour evening shows conclude with free food samplings of local cuisine from each district, competing for victory in the 6th annual Fish Fry, Frittas and Swanky Competition.
As the name suggests, the competition showcases the best fry fish, frittas and swanky – a Cayman-style citrus beverage.
All performances begin at 7 p.m. and as always, admission to the various venues is free. The cooler temperatures at this time of the year are perfect for outdoor performances and provide a relaxed environment for audiences made up of local residents and international visitors, some who return for the event year after year.
School age spectators will also have daytime opportunities to see the performances at sixteen shows taking place at various schools.
Dates and locations:
Saturday, 29 November – West Bay, District Public Beach
Monday, 1 December – North Side, Capt. Ned Miller’s Yard
Tuesday, 2 December – Cayman Cabana Oceanside Restobar, George Town
Tuesday, 2 December – Dart Park, South Sound, Youth night
Wednesday, 3 December – East End, Colliers Beach
Thursday, 4 December – Bodden Town, Nurse Josie’s Seniors Centre
Friday, 5 December – Little Cayman School
Friday, 5 December – Cayman Brac Agriculture Grounds
Saturday, 6 December – George Town, Smith’s Barcadere