The Cape Breton Regional Library Board has announced the appointment of Ken Chisholm as its first ever Storyteller-in-Residence for the Library.
Chisholm has long been active on the local arts and culture scene as a singer, songwriter, musician, actor, director and writer. During his two-year term, he will participate at library and community events to promote storytelling to residents of all ages.
“Through the telling and sharing of stories, we learn, preserve history, and develop an understanding of our heritage,” said Faye MacDougall, Regional Librarian. “The Library recognizes the value and importance of this rich oral tradition, and looks forward to working with Ken as he researches and imparts many wonderful, inspiring, and memorable stories.”
Chisholm says he is honoured to be chosen the first Storyteller in Residence for the Cape Breton Regional Library and looks forward to representing them at various events.
“The Regional Library has been invaluable to me over the years as a resource in all of my creative endeavours,” Chisholm says. “I’ve used their research files, attended author readings, learned from their workshops and lectures, and, most recently, enjoyed being a part of their book club for men. It is a huge thrill to be their first storyteller in residence and I can’t wait to get to work.”
A media release from the CBRL says: “The Storyteller-in-Residence programme is the first in Atlantic Canada, and will recognize and promote Cape Breton’s rich storytelling heritage. The Library Board is very excited by this opportunity to bring many of these stories to a wider audience. While some stories have been reflected in print, a great deal of local knowledge continues to be transmitted orally through stories passed down from generation to generation. A committee comprising library and community representatives reviewed and recommended the candidate to the Board.”
Chisholm has won numerous awards and accolades from the One Act Play festival held yearly at Cape Breton University, including awards for directing, multiple awards for acting, and the Boardmore Prize for best original script (with his writing partner, Paul MacDougall) on three occasions for his triumvirate of plays dealing with the lives of Italian women from Whitney Pier. His casts have won awards for ensemble work for these productions. He has written a number of children’s plays including the recent CBU Dramagroup revival of Robin Hood. He has also written plays commissioned by various community groups on subjects such as the Canadian Navy’s service in protecting convoys in the Second World War, the sinking of the Newfoundland ferry“Caribou, and Boston marathon winner Johnny Miles.
Chisholm has mentored dozens of budding actors, writers and directors and musicians and worked with many seasoned professionals throughout Cape Breton. He has written about the arts in Cape Breton in the Cape Breton Post, What’s Goin On in both its print and online versions, Boardwalk magazine, and Pottersfield Portfolio. He is familiar to CBC Radio listeners as a member of the local Information Morning Book Panel. Chisholm has written many original songs including “Brothers In the Saddle” and “Company Town”, both of which were featured in the stage productions and recordings of the Cape Breton Summertime Revue.