This summer Nanaimo’s Around Town Tellers sorted though hundreds of suggested topics to pick out 10 themes for the group’s 2018-19 Stories on Friday storytelling series.
Co-founder Margaret Murphy said the group considers popular suggestions, and looks for topics that are broad enough to galvanize the participating storytellers without limiting them.
“We might narrow it down to a single word and say, ‘Let’s choose a topic that resonates with the wider group that is open enough that it would attract the audience, intrigue the audience, but that is open enough the tellers could say, ‘I have a story I’d like to do that think would be really good for that,’” Murphy said.
The monthly series begins on Sept. 14 with Long Ago and Far Away, which Murphy suggests could include folk stories and travel tales.
On Oct. 12 the group marks the Storytellers of Canada’s Canadian Storytelling Night with an evening of Water Tales and with a nod to Remembrance Day, the Nov. 9 event will feature stories of Home. On Dec. 14, inspired by the holiday season, the theme is Miracles and Mysteries. The new year begins with Breaking the Rules on Jan. 11 and the Valentine’s Day-inspired Love Lost and Found follows on Feb. 8. On March 8 the group presents A Twist in the Road. On April 20 the seasonal theme is It Happened One Spring. How Extraordinary! is the topic on May 10 and the year winds up with What Could Possibly Go Wrong? on June 14.
Around Town Tellers co-founder Laurie Hutchinson said the group was formed with the intention of preserving the oral tradition of storytelling, which means all participants recite their pieces from memory.
The Around Town Tellers are always inviting new storytellers to sign up and even offer a day and a half-day-long course on storytelling in February to get new members up to speed. Hutchinson said new tellers usually start performing right away in March and April.
“Some people have never been up onstage in front of a group before and some people have been wanting to tell stories for years and just actually getting to the point where you do it is fun…” she said. “Sometimes people just want [to take the course] so they can tell better to their children or grandchildren.”
WHAT’S ON … Around Town Tellers’ Stories on a Friday series begins with “Long Ago and Far Away” at Unitarian Hall, 595 Townsite Road, on Sept. 14 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. $5 admission at the door.