Carol Leigh Wehking
Carol Leigh Wehking is a versatile performer and writer who both performs and teaches storytelling. She has a background in theatre, and in her professional and writing life has been sojourning with stories for nearly four decades. Since 1991, she has specialized in the art of the oral story, and has performed for all ages in festivals, concerts, schools, libraries and many other venues across Canada, in the United States, and as far afield as Belgium and Australia, where she has also taught workshops. Her Quaker values also inform her storytelling.
Caroleigh understands that stories contain all the wisdom — and the folly — of the world. She became a storyteller to tap into this ancient and contemporary fount of wisdom, humour, challenge, and satisfaction. There is a story somewhere about anything you can think of; there is a story to answer any question, to provide guidance at any crossroads, a story to be the wise grandparent, the companion on the road, the dragon to overcome, the place to be the hero. Stories offer us everything we need, and the same story may provide us one kind of nourishment or insight or challenge one time, and quite another kind another time.
Caroleigh has a wide-ranging repertoire, from ancient epic to folktale to modern literary stories, as well as a unique Canadian collection. She teaches workshops on the art of storytelling for children and adults, both solo and with Glenna Janzen.
Caroleigh directed the Toronto Festival of Storytelling in 2006, and also in 2004 and 2005 with Dan Yashinsky. She is the founder of the Uppity Women tellers: women tellers who tell stories of strong women of fact and folktale; and with Glenna Janzen she directs and performs with Tongues Wagging Productions Storytelling. She taught in the Parent-Child Mother Goose Program® for 9 years in Hamilton and Toronto, telling and teaching stories to parents and young children. She has been a participant in the world celebration of story, World Storytelling Day, since its inception, because she believes that there is a friendly web of stories that embraces the world.
Caroleigh enjoys a vast repertoire drawn from world folktale, ancient myths and legends, and from history, for which she creates original tales based in fact. She also tells literary stories, with the authors’ permission. The ways in which people – and their stories – are similar all the world over provide delightful and fascinating parallels with life here and now in Canada, and stories both ancient and modern have resonance in our present experience. Storytelling is immediate and accessible, and even the fidgety soon fall under the spell.
When listening to a story, the students' imaginations are freed from the confines of their own experience and their individual limitations as readers (when the attention is focussed on the mechanics of reading). There is a very direct relationship between students listening to stories told, and a greater eagerness to read a wider and more challenging range of books and stories, as well as an enhancement of the students' ability and willingness to engage in creative story telling or writing, to use new vocabulary, sentence structure, and writing styles, and to produce more imaginative and longer, more complicated work.
Caroleigh crafts her presentations to cater to the age of her audience, and has stories for adults and older students as well as for the very youngest of listeners. Each performance is distinctive and spirited, and gives her listeners something to carry with them into their lives. Oral literacy is widely understood as a necessary prerequisite for print-based literacy, and storytelling is a direct route to both.
Caroleigh also teaches workshops for teachers, parents, librarians, students of various ages, and others interested in the art of storytelling.
Some samples of themed storytelling sets are:
Let's all win the Human Race:
Seeking the Treasure:
The River and the Sea:
Celtic Tales: (for older students)
Finding the Story in History
"Over the One-Strand River"
Book List / Discography:
2 stories in Grandmother Spider and Other Folktales to Tell. Edited by Ruth Danziger. (The Parent-Child Mother Goose Program®, 2004)
Where are the Stars: A Treasury of Interactive Rhymes. Compiled, edited and annotated with Celia Lottridge and Glenna Janzen (The Parent-Child Mother Goose Program®, 2006)
Over the One-Strand River. CD (2001)
Charlotte's Quilts: A Story of Elizabeth Fry. CD (2003)
Recipient of the 2007 Alica Kane Award for research in storytelling
Praise for Carol Leigh Wehking:
"I was amazed at how Carol Leigh was able to tell stories from many different cultures and eras and keep children of any age engaged. There was a profound impact on students at Maple Grove. Year after year when Carol Leigh would come in, the children would remind her of the stories she had told the previous years and ask for their favourites again. Students went out to the yard at recess and shared stories they had heard with each other and were inspired to share stories of their own... Carol Leigh helps to connect students and adults to the world beyond through the imagination. She has an enthusiasm that is contagious to an audience of any age."
“My students were excited and impacted by the stories you told them. I’m proud of connections they’ve made to the stories and instances where they have referred to them… Thank you again for what you gave my students and me, as well as countless other folks up here in the Yukon… Know how others treasure the gifts of your talent."
"Carol Leigh Wehking is one of the most experienced storytellers in Canada, and brings much warmth, compassion, and understanding to her tellings for young audiences. Carol Leigh possesses a rare ability to make traditional stories come to life, and uses her humour and sense of wonder to make these old stories seem absolutely contemporary in their meaning."
"Thank you for telling 'Annie's Story' which is one of my all time favourite stories. It is one of the most powerfully visual stories I have ever heard. When you tell it, you become Annie. As I listen, the four walls around us disappear and I feel like I'm back with Luke and Annie watching their lives unfold. Soul-satisfying! I also especially enjoyed your version of Something From Nothing."
"We listened closely as Caro Leigh wove a spell over us and touched us … we were all suspended in that magic place a good storyteller creates."
Rose Marie Cipryk
"Carol Leigh always shows a caring nature with the students. She displays good judgment when choosing stories to fit the audience level. The children remember her stories and often request the same story the next year that she comes."
Touring In: Northwest Territories
Ideal Audience Size
25 if small children;
Maximum Audience Size
40 if small children;
1 – 12 (especially Grades 5 – 9),
Sound system if in a large venue or with over 80 in audience.
School Reading Fee:$150.00 per reading
Public Reading Fee:$250.00 per reading (four readings covered by the Canada Council)
Book Week Tour Contact