Following a successful return to the Gimistory stage in 2022, Gimistory is back for 2023 with an expanded lineup from the wider Caribbean region and beyond. Seven shows are set to take place across each district, including Cayman Brac and newly added, Savannah. These family-friendly events are free and open to all.
Founded more than two decades ago, the Gimistory festival celebrates the ancient art of storytelling and revitalises a form of community entertainment that is part of Cayman’s heritage. Whether lighthearted or profound, the stories stimulate the imagination and shed new light on cultural mores.
Run by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) to celebrate a Caymanian tradition of oral storytelling, Gimistory introduces a new generation of storytellers to the stage this year after CNCF held open auditions last month.
Local tellers this year include Camille Angel, Lesley-Ann Bernard, Stuart Wilson, Giselle Webb, Hylton Grace, Evana Martinez, Reshma Sharma, Josefa Martinez, Martin Keeley, Aunt Sookie and Ezekiel, and Nasaria Suckoo Chollette, with King Navassa and Rita Estevanovich returning to Cayman from the UK to share their stories and representation from Clifton Hunter High School and John Gray High School drama classes. Furthermore, international favourites Amina Blackwell-Meeks and Phillip Murray (stage name “Black Sage”) make their much-anticipated return to the stage. Their stories range from old-time fables and Caribbean classics to new and original stories, mixed with folk music and the perennially popular duppy tales.
The Fry Fish Competition evokes the spirit of sharing the bounty of land and sea, so endemic to Caymanian cultural heritage. It promotes a spirit of community, with volunteers from each district coming together to prepare the food and drink samples, using traditional methods. Audience members can enjoy watching district teams cook on the caboose and later---the
highlight---to sample the delightful flavours. At the same time, judges are evaluating the cooks’ efforts (presentation, taste etc.). The results of the Competition are tallied on the final night of Gimistory, Duppy Night at Smith’s Barcadere and the results are shared with sponsors, tellers, volunteers, and the general public, which celebrates everyone’s efforts.
Natalie Urquhart, CEO of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, said, “CNCF is excited to continue celebrating the legacy storytelling with this year’s Gimistory. Whether hearing the stories for the first time or reminiscing about grandparents telling these stories in days past, it is an art form that appeals to audiences of all ages and is especially powerful to experience live and on stage in a community setting. We look forward to welcoming everyone to each of our district events.”
As part of the Gimistory festival, CNCF has also organised a series of storytelling visits at schools in the Cayman Islands. Several tellers will visit primary and secondary schools to share their voices and encourage students to find their own voices on stage.
This year, Gimistory runs from 25 November – 2 December across six districts and seven locations. For the Cayman Brac event, gates open at 5:30pm and showtime is from 6:00-7:30pm followed by a colourful fireworks display and for the Grand Cayman locations, gates open at 6:30pm and showtime is from 7:30-9:00pm.
• Monday, 27 November – West Bay, Jefferson Beach (West Bay Public Beach)
• Tuesday, 28 November – East End, East End Public Beach
• Wednesday, 29 November – North Side, Q.E. II Botanic Park
• Thursday, 30 November – Bodden Town, Coe-Wood Beach
• Friday, 1 December – Savannah, Savannah/Newlands Playfield
• Saturday, 2 December – George Town, Smith’s Barcadere
For more information, visit https://artscayman.org/gimistory .