Ladysmith-based storyteller and author Rachel Dunstan Muller is performing at the Around Town Tellers’ Stories on Friday season opener on Sept. 13 at Unitarian Hall. (File photo)

Nanaimo’s Around Town Tellers begin 2019-20 storytelling season this month

This year the group is co-hosting the Storytellers of Canada National Conference

Rachel Dunstan Muller said it’s more fun to describe one’s misadventures after the fact than it is to live through them in the first place.

The Ladysmith-based storyteller and author expects to hear tales of misfortune as Nanaimo’s Around Town Tellers storytelling group kicks off its 2019-20 Stories on Friday Season on Sept. 13 at Unitarian Hall with an event called Just my Luck!

“We wanted to start off with something light and entertaining and presumably we’re going to get all kinds of misadventure stories,” said Muller, a member of the Tellers.

If the tale of misadventure she tells that night is unbelievable, that’s because her story is an award-winning lie.

In June Muller competed in a “liars’ contest” in Port Angeles, Wash., and at Unitarian Hall she’ll be retelling the work of fiction that won her a silver Pinocchio mask.

“What it is is we’re given a time limit and then asked to tell a story that is a tall tale of some kind,” she said of the contest. “It can stretch the truth in a huge, exaggerated way or in a more modest way”

Muller said the Tellers, audience and committee members meet in the summer to submit theme ideas for their upcoming seasons. She said they aim to pick themes that relate to nearby holidays and engage the audience.

“What we’re really looking for are themes that fit the season of the year but are also broad enough that they can attract all kinds of stories,” she said. “If we define a theme too narrowly, it makes it difficult for people to sign up and we want as many people to sign up as possible.”

On Oct. 11, Thanksgiving Weekend, the Tellers present Family Ties. In recognition of Remembrance Day, the theme for the Nov. 8 event is Everyday Heroes and on Dec. 13 the group presents its holiday-themed program, ‘Tis the Season. The Tellers open 2020 on Jan. 10 with Anything’s Possible and on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, they present the appropriately named Crazy Little Thing Called Love. On March 13 the theme is Mishaps and Misadventures, which is followed up by April 10th’s event, Stories of Hope. On May 8 the Tellers are presenting an evening of Tellers’ Favourites, which Muller said is a frequent request.

“The rule of thumb is that you wouldn’t tell the same story two years in a row usually,” she said. “But after a few years have gone by you might recycle a story that you enjoyed telling that the audience enjoyed hearing.”

Also in May the Tellers are partnering with Parksville’s Mid-Island StoryTellers to host the Storytellers of Canada National Conference at Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort. Muller said the event will draw storytellers from across North America and around the world for meetings, workshops and public performances.

Finally, the Tellers conclude their 2019-20 season on June 12 with a night called The Last Laugh.

“We like to finish with something lighthearted as we end our season on the edge of the summer,” Muller said. “So for the last couple of years we’ve chosen a theme that particularly invites humorous stories.”

WHAT’S ON … The Around Town Tellers Stories on Friday season begins with Just My Luck! at Unitarian Hall, 595 Townsite Rd., on Friday, Sept. 13. Doors at 6:45 p.m. Show at 7:30. Tickets $10 at the door.

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