Stage & Story Market: Art as Nourishment

Wondering what all the buzz is for IMPACT's first -ever Stage and Story Market? We sat down with Nada Humsi and Arlene Thomas to get the scoop on this ancient-inspired gathering!

Stage & Story Market gets its inspiration from Souk Ukaz, an age-old Arabic market with a special emphasis on art and performance.


“Souk, in Arabic history, is the market where products are sold. Souk Ukaz was famous for marketing products and talents as well, especially poetry. Poetry competitions would take place there, and the winning poem was to be written with gold water and to be hanged for everyone to read.” Nada told us. Poems featured themes of honour, generosity, belonging to a tribe, love, and praising oneself and others.

“Here in Kitchener there is the Kitchener Market where the farmers gather, vendors, the people of K-W come with their families and kids, guests, and visitors. It's the right place to market words, performances, art in general.”

Stage & Story Market hopes to create an organic market for the open exchange of art amidst the normal bustling economy of the Kitchener Market. Nada elaborated: “there is always a gap between artists and the city people...there is little organic interaction, little relationship between the non-artists, and the artists.”

To bridge this gap, IMPACT 15 will introduce a two day gathering and performance market in downtown Kitchener to, as Nada said, “to put them on the same level as art – carrots, performance, parsley, spoken words. If non-artistic people have a story they want to share in this market they can go on stage and say it to people – sing it, tell it, dance it, or perform it. It's up to them. It's not about the level of art, but about the bringing of everyone together.”

IMPACT's normal programming focuses on solid performances and one-of-a-kind experiences of productions. Contrary to that, Arlene Thomas explained why Stage & Story Market fills an important and needed gap within the festivalthat construct.

“It's a chance for us to share our stories. This is a chance to present ourselves, our own stories, as well as the art we do. It's also an opportunity for us to meet each other, and meet the community, which, surprisingly in IMPACT we don't have time to do because of everyone's schedule.”

In this way, the Stage & Story Market also offers artists and performers the opportunity to meet with one another, share their craft, and network with others in the industry as well as the community.

Most importantly, Arlene stressed that the organic atmosphere will still be organized.

“We don't want it to be rigid, but we want the artists to feel they are there for a purpose and they made a contribution and it's been useful and interesting for them.”

With this goal and purpose in mind, Stage & Story Market will offer a unique experience to artists and art-enthusiasts of all kinds in the heart of downtown Kitchener.

Don't miss it! This free event is coming to you Saturday, September 26th from 8 AM – 2 PM and Sunday 12 PM – 6 PM.