LORI – The Tumanyan International Storytelling Festival, which launched in September 2022, is back for a second year, it was announced by festival co-founders Anoush Rima Tatevossian, Nyree Abrahamian and Tina Yesayan. The festival, which honors the legacy of noted 19th century poet, author, and public intellectual Hovhannes Tumanyan, will take place on Friday August 25th through Sunday August 27, and will bring visitors to the town of Tumanyan, to celebrate all forms of storytelling— including traditional Armenian folk tales, contemporary first person narratives, poetry, film, visual arts, theater, music, and audio storytelling. The theme of this year’s festival is “place,” in recognition of the breathtaking nature of Lori Province, and its significance in inspiring Tumanyan’s body of work.
“When we launched the festival last year, it was our intention to create an immersive, inspiring weekend to reconnect contemporary audiences with the rich heritage and tradition of storytelling. With this edition, we have laid the groundwork to make this an annual event that will continue to grow, and celebrate Armenian storytelling in conversation with storytelling traditions from around the world.” said Co-Founder Anoush Rima Tatevossian. The festival will feature three days of performances, workshops, hikes and activities for adults and children, held in the town’s unique venues, including old factory buildings and a Soviet-era house of culture. A hike on the Giqor Trail will be accompanied by a telling of Tumanyan’s story “Giqor,” an intimate evening story-salon will feature folk tales in the Hamshen Armenian dialect by Mahir Özkan of Istanbul, and an evening of musical performances by Shushiki Band from Yerevan and Alin Demirdjian of Buenos Aires will take place under the stars.
Featured international artists include Kenyan-Scottish storyteller Mara Menzies, Lebanese performer & percussionist Raffi Feghali, and Raphael Rodan of the Mezrab Storytelling School of Amsterdam.
“Last year, we were blown away by the sense of community that developed during the festival and this year, we want to build on that,” said Co-Founder Nyree Abrahamian. “I hope that the diverse range of stories shared at this year’s festival will awaken people’s imaginations and their compassion. I want them to leave with a heightened sense of curiosity about the world around them, and a deeper appreciation for the power of their own stories.”
Another highlight of the weekend is a tour of the Abastan Artist Community, a converted former textile factory that serves as a creative residency space for a community of international artists from Armenia, Russia, Iran, and other countries.
The weekend’s performers and workshop leaders include:
- Mara Menzies, award-winning Scottish-Kenyan storyteller & performer
- Raphael Rodan, storytelling coach & co-artistic director of the Amsterdam Storytelling Festival
- Torfeh Ekhlasi, Iranian visual artist
- Sevana Tchakerian, French-Armenian multi-instrumentalist
- Melisa Ferayan, Istanbul-based storyteller & educator
- Mahir Özkan, published author of Hamshen folktales
- Scout Tufankjian, acclaimed Armenian-American photojournalist
- Shushiki Band, high-energy traditional Armenian folk band
- Kourken Papazian, Beirut & Berlin-based documentary filmmaker
- Dr. Hrach Martirosyan, Armenian linguist & scholar
- Aram Pachyan, contemporary Armenian writer
- Alin Demirdjian, Argentinian-Armenian singer-songwriter
For the full weekend program, visit http://www.tumanyanstoryfest.com/program
The Tumanyan International Storytelling Festival is a project of the Tumanyan Development Foundation, a registered charitable foundation in Armenia founded in August 2020 with the purpose of creating opportunities to revitalize the town of Tumanyan through tourism and economic development projects. The concept was incubated by Artbox, a creative incubator developed by Creative Armenia and supported by the European Union and German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
2023 Festival headline sponsors include the H. Hovnanian Family Foundation and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Partners and supporters include Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), the Hrant Dink Foundation, The British Council, Muziekgebouw Production House, Abastan Artist Community, and HikeArmenia.